Menstrual Cycle Studies

Menstrual Cycle Studies

Are you interested in understanding how female cognition and behaviour is influenced by fertility? Although this is a fruitful area of emerging research, measuring fertility and menstrual cycle phase can be indirect, imprecise and ambiguous.

To resolve this problem and help other researchers, we have developed a data-driven method for characterising women’s fertile phase. Our research compared frequently used counting methods (including several approaches to forwards- and backwards-counting) against luteinizing hormone tests. While developing these guidelines for best practice, we found:

  • No counting method predicted ovulation with more than 30% accuracy.
  • Less than 40% of the fertile days were predicted using counting methods.
  • Combining counting methods with a luteinizing hormone test (a relatively inexpensive urine test) can improve fertility accuracy to 95%.

If you are interested in conducting menstrual phase, hormonal contraceptive or fertility studies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can also find more information about Standardized Protocols for Characterizing Women’s Fertility through our Open Source Framework webpage.

Image from The Menstrual Cycle at Hello Clue.

Join a study!

How does your menstrual cycle or hormonal contraceptive affect you?

Despite being one of the most widely prescribed medicines in the world, there is a lot about the effects of the pill that we don’t know. Women on the pill are more likely to be diagnosed with depressionand less likely to adapt to fearful stimuli. Compared with non-users, pill users show substantial alterations in neural structures indicative of chronic stress, and in the areas of the brain associated with cognition and emotion. At the Evolution Lab, we are interested in helping people understand the effects of their menstrual cycle on things like wellbeing, mood, and psychology.

Research Questions

  • Does the pill influence women’s willingness to engage in competition?
  • Are women more optimistic or assertive at particular points in their menstrual cycle?
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    Blake, K. R., Bastian, B., *O'Dean, S., & Denson, T. (2016). High estradiol and low progesterone positively predict assertiveness in women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 75, 91–99. Available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.10.008