These days, we use apps and calendars to track our periods, but have you ever wondered if our cycles are actually linked to something a little bit more… cosmic?
In a recent viral video on TikTok – that’s been viewed nearly 300,000 times – user @izzysink1 says she says this is something she thinks about “all the time”.
“Ever since I realised that woman were the original timekeepers I cannot stop thinking about it,” she says. “There’s been a lot of observation and discussion that women’s cycles and the moon are in tandem with one another.
“The average [women’s] cycle is 28 days, and the average moon cycle is also 28 days. They’re in tandem. Correlation does not equal causation, but it’s really cool that they kind of are on the same pattern.”
Users were quick to chime in with their own experiences of in-tandem cycles. “I live in a flat and can see the moon from my balcony most nights and that’s what I use to track my period,” one person commented.
Another person wrote: “In Dutch our period is also called moon periods/moon positions!”
There are certainly many people that believe our periods sync with the moon, since the folks at menstruation app Clue have revealed that they get regular requests to add lunar cycles to its features. As for if there’s any truth in it, there’s been a number of studies looking at the moon and menstruation – and though there are some similarities between both cycles, most scientists believe that it’s merely coincidental.
In fact, tracking app Clue did an extensive study looking at moon phases and periods, analysing over 7.5 million menstruation cycles using its data. It concluded that “the menstrual cycle does not sync with the lunar cycle”, adding: “lunar and menstrual cycles will correlate more or less for some people – depending how closely their average cycle length matches the lunar cycle.”
Since the average menstrual cycle comes in at 28 days and the moon cycle lasts 29.5 days, it makes sense that many will find that they start their period around the time of the new or full moon. That said, normal menstrual cycles can last from 24 to 38 days, so it would really depend on your cycle length.
While there have been other studies looking at the relationship between the moon and periods, none were as extensive, and all had varying results.
Of course, the connection between the moon and menstruation is believed to be a powerful one in many cultures. The word ‘menstruation’ even comes from the latin word ‘menses’, or ‘month’, which in turn comes from the Greek word ‘mene’, meaning ‘moon’ – and it’s thought that Ancient Greeks believed menstruation to be a cosmic event.
These days, many still believe in the spiritual side of periods, too. We spoke to Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online doctor for Prescription Doctor, about whether we really need to focus on separating fact and fiction.