Have you ever wondered what a Fertile Cycle looks like?
It should be 28-30 days long with bright red blood and no cramps, clots, or PMS. You should also have several days of fertile mucus before ovulation. So how do you measure up?
Shockingly, nearly 6 million couples are dealing with fertility issues. 60% of that 6 million are women. Many factors affect a woman’s cycle.
- Ovulatory dysfunction
- Fallopian Tube Blockage
- Uterine Fibroids
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Pelvic Disease
- Psychological stress
- Emotions (Anxiety, Overthinking, Resentment, and Anger)
Let me go over a preview of what the different phases of the cycle look like and that will help us to pinpoint where your cycle may be suffering.
Bleeding Phase: Cycle days 1-4
Days 1-3 usually involve very little hormone activity, then on day 4, they start to climb. During this phase, it is a cleansing phase, and you should allow yourself more rest during this time. The menstrual blood is a reflection of your reproductive system, a monthly report card.
The Follicular Phase: Starts on Cycle day 1 and ends with ovulation (Cycle day 14)
This is the cooler part of the cycle with an average Basal Body Temperature (BBT) of 97.2 degrees. During this phase, estrogen, a cooler hormone, is stimulating the Uterus to prepare for the growth of an embryo within it. The ovaries select a healthy follicle and nurture it for growth.
During the follicular phase, you also start producing cervical fluid, this is released by the cervix. The job of the cervical mucus is to help the sperm survive and pass through the female body.
Ovulation: Cycle day 14
This actually may take several days to occur. There is a dip in your temperature, and this is when luteinizing hormone (LH) is triggered to release the dominant follicle. After the egg has been released from the ovaries, the cervix becomes firm and closes. Next, the egg will move along the fallopian tubes heading to the uterus in search of sperm that can fertilize it.
Luteal Phase: Cycle days 15 to menstruation (day 28-30)
This is the warmer part of the cycle. After ovulation, there is a gradual climb in temperature to 98 degrees. Once the rupture of the follicle has occurred it turns into the corpus luteum, which stimulates progesterone, a warmer hormone. This helps the endometrium to become ready to receive the fertilized egg.
If the fertilized egg becomes an embryo the corpus luteum signals more progesterone to maintain the thickness of the uterine lining. If this cycle you are not pregnant, then the corpus luteum dies and progesterone levels drop causing the uterine lining to shed.
It is important to recognize which part of your cycle is short; follicular or luteal. Each part of the cycle has a different function and are associated with different hormones. Many short cycles, women don’t even ovulate, especially with diminished ovarian reserve.
If your follicular phase is short, it is important to note that the egg and the follicle must be a certain size and maturity before being released. So, releasing too soon means that the egg isn’t fully mature and/or the correct size. This means the odds of it turning into a viable egg and embryo are much lower.
If your luteal phase is too short then your fertility may be compromised because progesterone levels will not be adequate enough to ensure implantation. An abbreviated luteal phase often shows a weakness of LH (luteinizing hormone) that resulted from a disturbance in the follicular phase, even if it was not shortened.
Extending the cycle is crucial with short cycles. This allows more time for the follicles to grow and reduces the tendency for early ovulation. This conserves ovarian function, which is important for women with diminished ovarian reserve.
Addressing your individual needs takes time and understanding. Herbs, acupuncture, and even blood testing can help to reprogram your cycle. In as little as 3-6 months, you could be having a healthy, vibrant, and fertile cycle.
Call and set up a time to discuss your individual needs. I offer complimentary consultations for women locally and at a distance. Please feel free to share this with a friend that may need some assistance in normalizing their cycle.
Stephanie MacKay with Sarasota Family Acupuncture 941-264-7428