Menstrual Cycle Tracking
In our podcast episode titled “Spilling the beans on the menstrual cycle” with Kimberly Yhap, RN., R.H.N., FCPI she outlined the menstrual cycle. Today’s blog briefly summarizes key highlights from that episode.
Our menstrual cycle can be impacted by many factors such as stress, nutritional imbalances, weight, extreme overexercising, and medications.
The menstrual cycle is a vital sign, it can give clues to the overall state of our health just like our other vitals: temperature, breathing, pulse and blood pressure.
Endocrine abnormalities, metabolic conditions, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), issues with ovulation and thyroid problems are among the many issues which could be detected by tracking the menstrual cycle.
Pain is commonly seen; that does not mean it is normal. Depending on the severity of the pain it may be a sign of something else. For pain: eating foods with omega 3s (anti inflammatory) or magnesium may help. Magnesium helps relax muscles and green leafy vegetables are a good source.
Things to note:
Cycle length: It is a myth that everyone has a 28 day cycle. Cycles can range in length from 21-38 days. Fun fact shared by Kim: It is possible to ovulate twice in a month. In 31 days a woman with a short cycle (a 21 day cycle) can ovulate twice, on day 10 and day 31 but it is important to note that this is uncommon.
Blood flow length: (Kim calls this red flow) Typical blood flow lasts 3-7 days.
Blood flow pattern: moderate, heavy, light etc. It is important to distinguish if it’s a period or spotting. Issues of coagulation e.g. Von Willebrand's syndrome can be detected by monitoring blood flow length.
Dry days; days with no discharge. For women with shorter cycles they may go straight from blood flow to cervical mucus.
Cervical mucus: (Kim calls this white flow) Discharge which changes in color and consistency from creamish to egg white and stretchy. It is a great indicator that ovulation is approaching. It helps transport sperm and keep it nourished.
Other pointers from Kim:
If you are interested in charting you need to do so for at least two complete months and abstain from sex for one month to observe the cycle without the influence of seminal fluid. If you work with a fertility care practitioner they will meet with you for an introductory session which takes approximately one and a half hours.
A good night’s sleep is important.
If our digestive system does not work well it will affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients which can hamper estrogen elimination.
Eat the rainbow! That is, eat foods of all colours such as berries, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins etcetera.
Remember: Learn what is normal and what is not. Some things can be commonly seen but that does not mean they are normal.
For more information listen to the full episode! You can also contact a Fertility Care Practitioner if you are interested in charting. Kim gave some great resources which are in the episode description.
See you in the cafe next Thursday for the release of a new podcast episode!