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No the eclipse didn’t mess with your menstrual cycle

eclipseMarie Claire published a total bullsh*t article today on how the solar eclipse probably messed with your menstrual cycle.

The doctors they reached out to did not feel they could offer an opinion. Undaunted Marie Claire asked some women who felt they had more PMS (personal experience is not science), an “integrative nutrition specialist,” and an astrologer.

So many sighs, so little time.

The integrative nutritional specialist (what ever that might be), Allison Walton, refers to herself on her website as a “women’s health specialist” although I can’t find her education background on her GOOP inspired website. She states she is a yoga instructor and had a personal journey but I have no idea if she has any kind of medical or nutrition training. Ms. Walton told Marie Claire:

“Traditionally, the new moon is associated with menstruation, when a woman’s body is shedding, releasing, and bleeding. Known as the White Moon Cycle, it’s a time to deeply nurture and honor the body, allowing plenty of space to restore.”

I mean maybe in Westeros but, yeah. No.

Once we were illuminated by the wild science of “integrative nutrition” Marie Claire moved on to the astrologer who said, “According to the metaphysical tradition, the new moon cycle, which is what the solar eclipse is, is the perfect time for the woman to begin menstruation. Women are going to feel the urge to clean house—that’s what the hormones are doing. It’s a total release.”

Metaphysical tradition? As in made up new age marketing? And this makes women want to clean house? I mean out with the old blood so I guess out with the trash too? All this supposed metaphysical lunar energy goddess harnessing is for sweeping the f*cking floor?

So much WTF here. So much.

If the new moon were associated with menstruation then all women all over the world would be menstruating at the same time. Have none of these people ever considered that? Maybe that happens in the Mists of Avalon but it doesn’t happen on Earth.

The people at Clue, the menstrual tracker app, actually looked at this supposed phenomenon of lunar induced menstruation. I guess Marie Claire could have Googled that too, but hey, better to give women mysticism and astrology right? Clue reported looking at 7.5 million cycles and found “no correlation between lunar phases and the menstrual cycle or period start date.” While not peer-reviewed I have no reason to doubt them as biased towards Big Menstruation.

menstrual cycle moon

Data from Clue period tracker app

Scientists have also looked at menstrual cycles in space and they appear largely unaffected. Many astronauts choose menstrual suppression for convenience but periods happen in space pretty much like on earth. Obviously if there were some weird lunar gravitational effect you would see crazy haywire menses in space.

If the moon affected menstruation then women living north of the Arctic circle would have one hell of a winter but they menstruate pretty much like everyone else.

Why might someone think that women have menstrual cycles that vary with the moon and the length of day? Not sure but perhaps they are confusing an estrous cycle (most animals) and seasonal breeding with a menstrual cycle (primates, a few bats, and the elephant shrew).

What is gained by having women believe myths about menstruation? Nothing, but so much is lost when mythology is used as a substitute for medicine. Facts matter and honestly there is no excuse for this kind of bullsh*t click bait.

Women menstruate due to a precise sequence of hormonal events and the moon and eclipses just aren’t part of it. Keeping women in the dark with false facts on menstruation is the opposite of empowermenet.

Do better Marie Claire. Really.

 

****

To everyone leaving comments below about how they disbelieve what I just wrote above PLEASE read it through again. Click the links. Then check out this article about how people have trouble changing their mind even when presented with hard data, just like I presented above for the lunar cycle-menses myth. Admittedly the article is about conspiracy theories, but there is a lot of cross over.

http://www.sciencealert.com/why-people-believe-in-conspiracy-theories-and-how-to-change-their-minds

Also, the myth of women cycling together is, well, a myth. http://www.figo.org/news/period-syncing-myth-debunked-0015541

I am not sure I can stand to curate one more comment from someone who is “sure” I am being dismissive of an article that used an astrologer as a menstrual cycle expert so comments are now closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

28 thoughts on “No the eclipse didn’t mess with your menstrual cycle

  1. An astrologer? This is all just so deliciously ridiculous.

    Posted by korhomme | August 21, 2017, 3:04 pm
  2. So funny! LMMO (Laughing My Menses Out). Please let your next post involve a medical futurist. I’m still dying to know what that means.

    Posted by Yolanda | August 21, 2017, 3:13 pm
    • I assume it’s like any other futurist, but speculating on how medicine will work in the future. Like needleless injections, bionic prostheses (my god, this: https://www.ted.com/talks/hugh_herr_the_new_bionics_that_let_us_run_climb_and_dance), remote diagnoses using smartphones (I saw something on the BBC the other day about this being done for cancer in Africa) or the use of robots in hospitals.

      Or it might be woo-woo performed by people with qualifications from a university based in someone’s house. It’s bedtime and I can’t be bothered Googling to find out. 🙂

      Posted by richardcowen | August 21, 2017, 5:08 pm
  3. I had a broom in one hand and a tampon in the other … no dice. Thanks for nothing solar eclipse!

    Posted by Kelly | August 21, 2017, 7:40 pm
  4. Good writing doc. Thx

    Posted by Cathy crawley | August 21, 2017, 7:45 pm
  5. Great critique. And I love science. Huge fan. Honestly. But let me ask a question (hopefully in a safe space.) I got my period when I was 12’ish. Had long’ish cycles (34-38 days) for most of my life. Popped out 3 kids in 4 years. After that, for no discernible reason, I spent about 3-4 years experiencing a “perfect” 28-day cycle that started like clockwork with the full moon. Every. Full. Moon. For years. Now I’m back to a whack cycle. But what happened during those 3-4 years? Personally, I found it colossally annoying feeling like my life was subject to the movement of celestial bodies and I’m glad the moon and I have broken up. But we definitely had a thing for a while.

    Posted by melgirl425 | August 21, 2017, 8:13 pm
  6. Excellent blog post! Western European history suggests that the moon was thought to affect all women, but that the effects of that weren’t something on on which medical writers agreed. So, there’s a proverb widely quoted in 16th c medical literature, ‘Luna vetus vetulas, iuvenes nova Luna repurgat’ and this claim that young women menstruate at the first quarter of the moon and old women at the end of the lunar month was then used by the French writer Jacques Dubois to argue that bloodletting for medicinal purposes should happen only at the times in the lunar cycle when women would be menstruating anyway. The English treatise by Jane Sharp, published a century after that in 1671, said that if women suffered from menstrual suppression then they should all be treated just before the full moon or between the new moon and the full moon – but not in ‘the Wane of the Moon, for it doth no good’.

    Posted by fluff35 | August 22, 2017, 1:03 am
  7. Thank you for clearing this up! I have experienced period synching when in close contact with other women. What is the scientific explanation of this?

    Posted by Jaci | August 22, 2017, 3:34 am
  8. I have only just recently discovered your blog & all I can say is thank goodness for you! There is so much claptrap pseudoscience tripe being pedalled out there, about, & to women, & sometimes even by women, that it needs someone to say it as it is – whilst also rooting any response in real science. Loving your work Dr Gunter.

    Posted by struthruthblog | August 22, 2017, 7:15 am
  9. I’m definitely feeling effects that are completely abnormal for me. I’ve been cramping for 3 days and it feels like I’m starting my cycle for the first time. The intensity is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Something is definitely up energetically. Your rant here did not convince me otherwise.

    Posted by C'ma | August 22, 2017, 10:51 am
  10. I came across this article as I searched if the eclipse has an affect on menstrual cycle. I have been so clockwork with my period, 28th day morning….for years! Never early, never late. I just finished my last one 10 days ago and last night (on the 21st) I had spotting and now a full period. This is unbelievable to me. I never ever had any spotting, bleeding between periods on anything irregular. As I was worried that there is something wrong with me my husband suggested that this eclipse might affected my cycle. I’m not an astrological girl whatsoever….BUT what Marie Claire wrote might not be a B*shit after all!

    Posted by Szabina Steffens | August 22, 2017, 6:14 pm
    • Science, as laid out in this article, says it is not possible.
      I have detailed a review of 7.5 million cycles, discussed how periods don’t chance for astronauts, and how if the moon affected menstruation everyone would cycle at the same time. Science says the climate is warming, the earth is round, and the moon cannot impact menstruation. The personal chance experience does not trump facts.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | August 22, 2017, 6:27 pm
      • Or as I tell my trainees: Anecdote and data are not synonyms. Also, the plural of anecdote is not data.

        Posted by JTD | August 23, 2017, 5:34 am
    • This exact thing happened to me. Spotting on the 21st, full period next day, 13 days early. While I am generally like clockwork, I have had off-cycle periods in the past when at high altitude as well. I don’t buy into this hokey yogi earth mother stuff either, but the coincidence certainly got me thinking enough to google.

      Posted by Jfab | August 23, 2017, 7:46 am
  11. I am a rationsl woman. I work in clinical research; maybe it’s just because I’m moody at the moment but my period showered up (not a word error) about an hour after the eclipse like a fucking bloody deluge in a gas station bathroom. It was 3 days early and it is SO fucking heavy, my man thought I committed homicide or maybe just self-flagellation to an extreme degree. Then today my sister tells me she had the same damn thing happen. She is a logical woman, too. She is a vice principal who rolls her eyes when I tell her I feel a little blissful after yoga however she brought this up to me tonight because she told her husband that her two curious, pre-teen sons needed to stay downstairs while she cleaned up after Aunt Flow in the bathroom and bedroom since she was too bloody annoyed today to explain menstrual cycles. Anecdotal evidence is not valid but sometimes it is a starting point so 7 years from now we need to run a survey because this is a fucking bloody mess. And I hope to the goddesses of research, biology, menses, the sun and the goddamned moon that I am postmenopausal in 7 years.

    Posted by gypsy284 | August 23, 2017, 10:23 pm
  12. Here’s some anecdotal evidence; I experienced absolutely no change in my cycle whatsoever, and I have been on a pretty regular 28 day cycle since I was 12.

    Posted by Jean | August 24, 2017, 9:20 am
    • Thank you for that input and you make a very good point. I will need to include some questions that account for cyclical regularity so I don’t end up with a biased data set. Actually, it should be part of the inclusion/exclusion criteria. I’ll need to begin the survey with a few questions that measure this according to the clinical standard and if someone meets the “irregular” diagnosis, they would not qualify and the survey would end.

      Posted by gypsy284 | August 26, 2017, 10:42 am
  13. With all your foul language I’m sure you’re well educated. I can’t even read half of it. If you are so educated why the need for cussing?

    Posted by Ljg | August 24, 2017, 4:45 pm
  14. Why after 15 years of not having a period on a surgery table during the eclipse red red blood while they thought it was coming from my rectum so they glued me shut and hurried me back into recovery I woke up to an excited nurse cleaning me with foam and killing me I needed a colonoscopy I later realized it was Blood, from a period, I figured it out when I got home, explain that…….

    Posted by Cindy | August 27, 2017, 6:24 pm
  15. I started my period right at the moment of totality in Charleston SC. Literally – the moment. A week early. I thought it was weird and finally just googled it. I’m amazed its a trending news story. Something is up, my body is clockwork. It happened.

    Posted by Stephanie | August 27, 2017, 11:11 pm
  16. The experiments in space… they are with animal subjects, not human subjects, correct?

    Posted by anonymous | August 31, 2017, 2:00 pm
  17. I feel that the Marie Clare article was more truthful then what you are writing here. There is a science behind the connection we have with nature and with eachother. Its why women will align cycles after being around eachother. I feel as though you are being dismissive to something that many women including myself experienced.

    Posted by sanna lavallee | September 1, 2017, 5:22 pm
    • Women don’t cycle together. That is a myth. Feel free to look it up.
      The Marie Claire article used a self taught astrologer as an “expert” so that is like asking a flat earther to describe the orbit of the space station.
      Fake news deserves to be dismissed.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | September 1, 2017, 9:50 pm

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