Why should you chart your menstrual cycle? As we all know, reproductive health issues are a problem that many women face. Menstrual irregularities, painful periods, hormone imbalances, and infertility are all a hard challenge. Knowing what to do to solve these issues is just as difficult.
Written by Guest Blogger: Melissa Buchan, Neo Fertility Advisor and Certified Fertility Care Practitioner
There isn’t a clear roadmap or one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dealing with reproductive health issues. Should you first try the natural route or head right to the IVF clinic? Having a roadmap to help you navigate the difficult terrain of women’s health issues is key to discovering your own personal healing journey.
What’s one of the first questions your doctor (heck, even your dentist) asks during an appointment?
When was the first day of your last menstrual period?
There’s a reason for this seemingly simple question. They don’t just want to know if you’re pregnant (although that might be part of it). They want to know where you are in your cycle, and if you answer “I dunno, a few months ago.” I guarantee you they are going to dig deeper.
Medical literature states that the menstrual cycle is a vital sign in women. Right up there with pulse and blood pressure. A vital sign is a clinical measurement that communicates the status of the body’s vital functions. Ovulation is a sign of health. Yes, it is an essential element to fertility and getting pregnant. It is also so much more. Ovulation is the captain that steers the menstrual cycle. A problem with ovulation is a key indicator that the body is out of balance. A lack of ovulation is a symptom of an underlying issue in the body’s overall function.
What are the signs of ovulation?
There are four phases of the menstrual cycle: menstruation, follicular development, ovulation, luteal phase. Each phase of the menstrual cycle is responsive to specific shifts in hormone production, specifically LH, FSH, estrogen, and progesterone. Learning to listen to your body and pay attention to the specific biomarkers of cervical mucus and basal body temperature is a simple way to monitor if and when ovulation occurs. Tracking ovulation is different from simply knowing the first day of your last menstrual period. Tracking your period is important. Charting your menstrual cycle is a skill that every woman should learn. It is a daily practice in self-empowerment.
Charting your menstrual cycle
Learning to chart your menstrual cycle and interpret your unique pattern is the first step to creating a plan of healing so you can reach your reproductive goals, whether that’s balancing an unruly cycle, ridding PMS from your vocabulary, taming painful menstrual cramps, or getting to the root cause of infertility so you can become pregnant.
There are tons of resources for charting your cycle. Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is a great resource for a DIY approach. If you have complicated cycles or simply not enough time to invest in a DIY approach, partnering with a fertility coach who is trained to interpret your unique cycle pattern is a great first step to your journey to tackling reproductive health issues.
It’s important to find a fertility coach and who will help you create a plan of action and keep you accountable to that plan. Focusing on lifestyle and nutrition is critical. Just as important is finding the right-fit-for-you doctor who focuses on a root-cause, solution-based approach to medicine.
Melissa Buchan is a Neo Fertility Advisor and Duke trained Integrative Health Coach. Melissa partners with her client to assess the current state of their fertility and create a customized roadmap to reach their goals. Melissa incorporates lifestyle management, health coaching, and taps into her extensive networks of fertility specialists to help her clients build their fertility dream team.
Interested in learning more about your unique cycle pattern. Check out Melissa’s 5 Most Common Cycle Pattern Guide.
P.S. Catch this week’s episode of The Hormone P.U.Z.Z.L.E Podcast –Menstrual Charting and Fertility Hacks With Melissa Buchan of Virtus Fertility Care.
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