What Is A Luteal Phase? The Menstrual Cycle Phase Explained

A woman will have an average of 451.3 menstrual cycles in their life. That’s a lot of PMS, cramping, mood swings, ravenous hunger, and hormone imbalances. For two weeks out of a four-week cycle, women are in what they call the luteal phase of a menstrual cycle.

Period tracking has been around for decades, however, now more women than ever are tracking their cycles and symptoms with the help of apps, which allows more people to understand all of the phases of menses, not just PMS and our periods.

One of the more complicated and infamous phases during a menstrual cycle is that of the luteal phase. The luteal phase can be so off-putting that one woman’s rant about all the weird sh*t that happens during those couple weeks went viral.

And chances are you can relate to some of them.

What is a luteal phase?

The luteal phase happens in the second part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It begins around the second week of a 28-day cycle after ovulation and ends when the bleeding phase of a cycle occurs — AKA a period. The luteal phase prepares your uterus for pregnancy by thickening the uterine lining.

There are certain signs that you’re in your luteal phase including:

  • Mood changes.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Bloating.
  • Breaking out in acne.
  • Changes in your appetite

However, one TikTok user is wondering if there’s more to the luteal phase than we think.

“So, you’re telling me that all women have the thing where you wake up ugly one day out of nowhere? Truly thought that only happened to me,” she begins.

“You don’t understand the relief I felt initially when I found out that it was everybody, but then sinister thoughts followed, and guys, I’m not happy with what I’m about to say. When I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and saw an 85-year-old woman that grew up in trenches,” writer and musician, Sam Doll, joked.

“I thought, ‘Interesting. I don’t remember going to war.’ Then I realized, ‘Oh no, it’s that phenomenon that’s happening where I’m suddenly the ugliest person I’ve ever heard of.’

That phenomenon is known as the luteal phase, and surprise, it’s the longest phase in a woman’s entire cycle — because of course it is!

Doll jokes that during a woman’s luteal phase we’re all just “insane.”

What happens during luteal phase?

“During this phase, our hormones are plummeting, and all of a sudden we’re irritable, and we’re bloated, and our faces are like different shapes, and we’re mean as hell. I feel fat, but also so, so, so hungry,” she vents.

And she’s not wrong.

A 2020 research study showed that during a woman’s luteal phase her face can become more “asymmetrical,” and if we know anything about typical beauty standards — asymmetrical faces are not it.

“Like what the hell does a luteal phase do for anybody?” Doll asks.

“Good God, what a benefit. For two weeks, she’s angry at everyone and can’t stop eating, but still thinks she’s fat and also by the way there’s a genetic flaw where she won’t remember this two weeks later when it happens again. Who is that benefiting? Darwin? The men? Is it? Don’t say it benefits men. Don’t tell me I evolved for men.”

How do I know my luteal phase?

After Doll’s video racked up over 2.5 million views, thousands of women lamented about their own luteal phases in her comment section.

“Me in the luteal phase right now. 😭 I think too many luteal phases makes life a permanent luteal phase,” one user wrote.

“I’m at the end of my luteal phase. It’s been ABSOLUTE HELL. Mentally, it’s SO DRAINING,” another said.

One user wrote that her luteal phase was way too long. “Just come out of a month long luteal phase, there’s not even enough time to rebuild before the next one,” they wrote.

“Literally planning everything important in my life during the non-luteal phase, or whenever I’m not a bloated cave rat,” one TikTok user joked.

One user pointed out the harsh truth that when we’re not suffering in the luteal phase, a whole other quarter of the year we’re bleeding! Fun!

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