The Seasons of Life. Understanding the Hormonal Phases of Women Throughout Life.

Four seasons of woman's life

Women experience marked hormonal changes throughout their life. The phases begin with the onset of puberty and first menstruation through to menopause – the cessation of the menstrual cycle. These rites of passage in a woman’s life are often celebrated in many cultures and each phase can be likened to the seasons of the year, with each one bearing its own individual characteristics.


Spring | Printemps - puberty

Puberty. Here, the reproductive system “blossoms” in phases. Generally, between ages 8-13, hormones from the brain trigger puberty, including the budding of breast tissue, growth accelerates, hips widen, body hair begins to grow and there are changes in the skin. Sexual feelings begin to develop, there are cervical secretions and vaginal discharge, and the onset of menstruation occurs (menarche). While menstruation may be irregular in the first couple of years, these changes are all indicative of the body’s ability to reproduce and carry a pregnancy.


Summer | été - Reproductive Years

Childbearing Years. In the years following the onset of a menstrual cycle, sexual maturity has been reached. During these peak reproductive years, ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovaries) and menstruation occur regularly as estrogen rises and falls in a cyclical pattern. If the egg is fertilized, it will implant and develop in the endometrium (lining of the uterus). If fertilization does not occur, the endometrium will be shed in the form of a menstrual period.


Autumn | automne - perimenopause

Perimenopause. In their late 30s or 40s, a woman will notice that her menstrual cycles become shorter and/or irregular, as do certain symptoms throughout her cycle. Fertility declines due to natural, age-related fluctuations and reductions in hormones, resulting in skipped ovulation and missed periods and other symptoms like brain fog, hot flashes, and heavy periods occur as bodies navigate this hormonal change. Periods continue to become less frequent until they cease altogether.  This phase is unique for every woman and reflects the diagram above, the inconsistencies in estrogen levels.


Winter | l'hiver - menopause

Post-Menopause. In this phase the ovaries have stopped producing eggs and a woman is in her post-menopausal years. This is usually marked by one year after a woman’s last menstrual period. While this season marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life, it is a time when there is an opportunity for new beginnings, interests, passions, and personal journeys. In Japan, for example, this period of life is regarded as one for renewal and regeneration.

Whatever season you find yourself in, it is important to honour the body where it is and herbs can support women’s health at any age and stage. Our women’s health products were formulated with women’s unique health needs in mind and include herbal tonics and targeted formulas to help ease issues that arise through the seasons of life and support their everyday lifestyle.

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