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  Good Morning,  Nutrition and Hormonal Balance As an acupuncturist in the area of fertility, I realize tha...

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

[AlternativeAnswers] National Fertility Week: Understanding The Menstrual Cycle


Good Morning!

National Fertility Week: Understanding The Menstrual Cycle

This week is National Fertility Awarenss Week. Especially close to my heart,
helping woman get pregnant naturally has been my specialty for many years. This
week, I will review the many ways to help increase fertility in both woman and

Your menstrual cycle is the key to improving your ability to have children,
either for the first time or if you are trying to have a second child. Your
cycle shows you how your body is managing your hormones. Your chances of getting
pregnant each month greatly depend on your menstrual cycle and even more so, on
ovulation. That is why timing intercourse is an excellent way to improve your
fertility chances. In my practice, I have women begin a basal body temperature
(BBT) chart. This charting is a great way of seeing and understanding your
menstrual cycle, ovulation and period. Get started on your BBT chart now and
learn better ways to predict your ovulation time.

A Basal Body Temperature chart is a way commonly used to determine the time of
ovulation. The basal body temperature refers to the temperature of your body at
rest. You will need a special thermometer or ovulation thermometer and graph
papers or a special chart. To determine your BBT, record your temperature
everyday upon awakening before you get out of bed. Immediately after ovulation
there will be a slight (no more than 0.4 to 1.0 degree Fahrenheit) but definite
rise in your body temperature. Temperatures remain elevated until the next
menstrual period.

Prior to ovulation, a woman's basal body temperatures generally range from 97.0
to 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures are suppressed at this time due to the
presence of the estrogen. After ovulation, due to the production of the
heat-inducing hormone progesterone, temperatures rise to about 97.6 to 98.6 F.
This rise in temperature indicates that ovulation has occurred. Your most
fertile day is the one immediately before the rise in temperature. This method
can be best utilized along with other fertility signs such as a pain or aches
felt on one side of the lower abdomen, to be accurate. When a woman is pregnant,
her temperature remains elevated throughout pregnancy. This test can also be
used to know whether a woman is ovulating or not. If ovulation does not occur
the normal temperature remains static always.

The menstrual cycle is divided into three stages. The Follicular Stage begins
with menstruation. The first shedding of blood is considered the menstrual
period. Due to low levels of an estrogen called Estradiol, and the hormone
progesterone, this allows for the shedding of the endometrium, the uterine wall
lining. As days progress in the follicular stage, the follicle stimulating
hormone (FSH) slightly begins to increase. This stimulates the development of
several follicles, each containing an egg. At the same time, levels of
estradiol, which are secreted by the ovaries, is increasing and stimulates the
uterine wall lining, making it thicker. There is an imbalance in this phase if
you have low estrogen levels, your BBT (basal body temperature) chart has low
temp readings before ovulation or this phase is longer than 17 days. There is
also an imbalance if your BBT chart has high temp readings before ovulation
above 97.5 dgrees, or if this phase is less than 10 days.

The Ovulatory Stage begins as a surge of lutenizing hormones (LH) and the
follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) increase. Since only one follicle continues
to develop, ovulation (egg release) often occurs 16-32 hours after the surge of
hormones begins. Estradiol levels peak during the surge and progesterone levels
start to increase. There is an imbalance in this phase if there is no ovulation,
you have little or no cervical mucus or if you experience painful ovulation.

The Luteal Stage begins as levels of lutenizing hormones (LH) and the follicle
stimulating hormones (FSH) decrease. The ruptured follicle closes after
releasing the egg and forms the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes
progesterone and estradiol causing the uterine wall to continue to thicken. If
the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum degenerates and no longer secretes
progesterone. The estradiol levels decrease and a new menstrual cycle begins.
This phase of the cycle shows an imbalance with progesterone levels unable to
rise and stay elevated until your period. There is a hormonal imbalance if your
BBT chart has a bi-phasic, slow, step like or saw tooth pattern or if you are
having no period or very scant period.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit

New York Acupuncture and Fertility Wellness

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