The menstruation cycle is an important part of women’s everyday life. But do we understand it or its purpose? If we as women knew and appreciated our menstrual cycles better we may be more aware of changes in our body. We would be wary of things that negatively impact on our hormone health.
That is the goal of this post：to enhance awareness and appreciation of the female menstrual cycle.
At AcuNatural Health we divide the female reproductive cycle into 5 sections.
The Menstruation Cycle
Menstruation (Day 1-5)
Also referred to as periods, this is the start of a new cycle. Menstruation is your uterus cleaning out its lining. Your body will drop temperature as your period starts and begin producing more oestrogen. You should bleed around 5 days.
In TCM this is a time of rest and recovery. It is important to stay warm during this time which also helps with cramps. Being kind to yourself and taking it easy is ideal now.
It is not normal to experience pain or other symptoms such as weakness, numbness or headaches. If you have regular symptoms around your period we recommend you speak to a professional.
Acunatural Health focuses during this time to make sure no PMS symptoms occur and make this a comfortable time for women.
Follicular phase (Day 6-11)
Next in the menstruation cycle is the follicular stage. The body is emphasising production of oestrogen so it can grow follicles (FSH) which create eggs.
Your temperature will stay low.
Our goal for this time in the menstruation cycle is to support the growth of the follicles and egg. We make sure there is the right amount of oestrogen to produce a good quality egg without it dominating later on in the cycle.
Ovulation (Day 12-16)
Ovulation occurs next in the menstruation cycle. Ovulation is the release of the egg from the ovary into the fallopian tubes. Your temperature spikes now, usually 0.2 of a degree. For those wanting to get pregnant, this is the ideal time to try. It should occur around the middle of your cycle, two weeks before menstruation.
The egg release also stimulates your uterus lining (the endometrium) to begin thickening in preparation for pregnancy.
We focus in this part of the menstruation cycle on supporting the egg release.
Luteal phase (Day 17-23)
The luteal phase is next in the menstruation cycle. After the egg releases it leaves behind the shell of the follicle which turns into the corpus luteam. For two weeks this produces progesterone which signals to the uterus to stay thick and ready to hold a fertilised egg. As a result of this progesterone your body temperature remains high over the course of the luteal phase.
If a fertilised egg does implant into the uterine lining now then pregnancy begins. Otherwise the body begins what we call the pre-menstruation phase.
Our main goal during this time of the menstruation cycle is to support the progesterone levels in the body. This is especially important in those trying to conceive.
Pre-menstruation (Day 24-28)
At the end of the menstruation cycle is pre-menstruation. Eventually this lowering of progesterone weakens the uterine lining, triggering menstruation. Your temperature will drop. The cycle then repeats.
Our main goal now is to get the body ready for menstruation. This involves loosening the uterine lining so it comes out clean and with fresh blood. Doing this reduces pain and other complications later on in a woman’s health and reproductive life.
How to track your menstruation cycle – BBT charting
We refer to your body temperature in each phase of the menstruation cycle because that is our preferred method for identifying hormonal imbalances. This process is BBT charting and we recommend it to our women’s health clients. This includes people with PCOS, endometriosis, or are working to improve their fertility.
Although every person is different, we know what an ideal chart should look like. Abnormalities can suggest to us where an underlying issue could be, allowing us to better target our treatments.
A BBT chart can help us identify：
your thyroid function,
your stress level,
your sleep pattern,
your emotion pattern,
your oestrogen and progesterone level,
your egg quality, and
Our menstruation cycles are sensitive and vital to our day to day life as women. Sometimes when there are imbalances in our hormones it creates all kinds of symptoms. This is why we encourage more people to be aware of their hormonal health and give acupuncture and TCM a go.