We focus on what we see, what comes once a month but that is actually more of a sign that the other three phases of our cycle are in check. Its time to switch the flip and focus on ovulatory and fertility health.
By: Deedra Helenna
Holistic Nutritionist & Reiki Practitioner
From sex ed class in grade school to the day of our first "period", the focus always has been when we menstruate. It is how we can tell how our health is doing, how stressed we are or if we are pregnant by the timing or lack there of an appearance of our bleed or period more commonly named. But that is what it actually is, a period. It represents the ENDING of a cycle, not the beginning. It tells us if the other 3 phases of the cycle are working full tilt (for most cases, some are directly relate to menstruation imbalanced but for sake of today lets say its not). If you're interesting in learning about the phases check out my previous blog The real reason womxn burn out where I discuss in detail the phases of a single "menstrual" cycle or I prefer to call feminine cycle.
This post is to encourage a change in mindset from the cultural conditioning of focusing on your period, bleed, moon time , rag or whatever you may call it and focusing more on supporting the phases leading up to menstruation so that it may come with ease.
The number one thing I always ask women in my practise is not if their period is normal -that comes second. But I ask if they know when they ovulate and what symptoms they have during it. Honestly out of all the women I work with only ONE has ever been able to explain their ovulation to me, others aren't sure or are on birth-control ( you do not ovulate on birth-control). Ovulation can tell us SO much about ourselves just like menstruation.
Ovulation is the peak of the cycle and hormones around days 14-16 depending on the person and hormones. This is to stimulate an egg to be released from the ovum down the fallopian tube for fertilization. This peak only last approximately 24 hours but you can be fertile 3 days prior and 24-28 hours after.
Signs that ovulation has occurred....
Slight pelvic cramping aka. Ovulation pain ( mittleschmerz)
Increased energy/ libido
Increased basal body temperature
Thick egg-white discharge
Change in cervical position: becomes higher and softer vs. low and hard when not fertile
Signs of poor ovulation or hormones that do not support healthy ovulation ...
No change in cervical position or fluid
Basal body temperature does not raise
Above are early signs, late signs of poor ovulation can look like an absent or delayed period or a early period. When we ovulate it is because estrogen has hit the level that triggers the release of an egg and it leaves behind a corpus luteum behind which is like a fluid filled sac that secrets progesterone to which if no fertilization and implantation occurs than the corpus luteum dissolves ad progesterone drops and the lining of the uterus starts to shed. Progesterone can't do it's job if there is no ovulation and no corpus lutem for the rise and fall of ovulation and there can be no ovulation if estrogen, LH and testosterone can't peak.
So see why it is so important to track when and how you ovulate?
Instead of just a late or early period you can really look at the big picture of what phase may be out of whack. Now this is only the first part of why it is so important to track ovulation.
Ovulation itself and the rise and fall of hormones is CRUCIAL for women's health, for our gut health, mental health and endocrine health especially that of our thyroid. All the previous mentioned can affect ovulation and lack of ovulation can affect all the previously mentioned.
So lets optimize our ovulation to optimize our health and fertility! Here are some ways you can do that...
Ensure good gut health : take a probiotic if needed, reduce stress that reduces stomach acid, eat a variety of vegetables, fruits and clean fats and protein ( think seeds and plant based).
Decrease stress : This is hard I know but attempt to decrease stress or stressors by removing it or removing yourself from it, this can be done physically or mentally. We need to help out our adrenals and reduce cortisol. You can also take an adaptogen herb supplement or tea to help make your body more resistant to stress such as ashwagandha, holy basil or rhodiola rosea .
Check your thyroid: If you are having fertility concerns or any hormonal concerns such as heavy periods, missed periods, chronic fatigue and other signs ensure to ask your physician for a FULL thyroid panel not just TSH. Then take it from there if needed.
Eat foods high in antioxidants or look into juicing and shakes with chlorella or spiriulina.
Get active and maintain a healthy weight
Avoid processed foods that ruin our gut and increase inflammation
Avoid excess alcohol, smoking and refined sugars
Have sex or find other ways to experience pleasure not just in the bedroom but in life too! Get those happy hormones going that encourage healthy gut, thyroid and ovulation!
From the time we first bleed as we may not realize we were ovulating prior to our last bleed we ovulate anywhere from 450-550 times in our life time on average. Let's thing about that... our body is trying to get pregnant, every month our body goes through the SAME cycle thinking it is going to carry and grow life - start treating your body like the magic that it is!
sending love and light,