As I work with many women to optimize their natural fertility from a structural/ bodywork perspective, I am fascinated by this interaction between the organ structures and connective tissues with the function of the female reproductive system. We often work to time our bodywork during specific time frames in the menstrual cycle. I often remind my clients that while menstrual cycle apps are essential and helpful, they do not necessarily tell the accurate or the whole story. They are often based on algorithms to predict what will happen in the next cycle based on normative data and one’s past cycles, meaning that the predictions may or may not be individualized. The best way to stay in touch with one’s female physiology remains a combination of these three pieces of information:
This is based on a fertility awareness method called the symptothermal method, which is not to be confused with the rhythm method as they are very different. See one of these two sources that I commonly recommend for a full discussion of this concept.
The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles and Optimize Your Fertility by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack*
Period Repair Manual by Dr. Laura Briden ND*
I recently reviewed an academic article on ovulation as a sign of overall health (Access here). There were a number of excellent take-aways from this article. I will focus on one: anovulation, or lack of ovulation in the menstrual cycle. While experiencing our period is the more obvious expression that a cycle has completed, it is not necessarily an accurate sign that ovulation has happened. The authors note:
“While regular menstrual cycles are generally considered a sufficient indicator of ovulation, they can also be anovulatory. Therefore, it is not the presence of regular menstruation, but the presence of regular ovulation, which helps in monitoring women’s health.”
The authors elaborate on a variety of reasons that anovulation might occur such as at the brain level (hormonal release abnormalities with hypothalamus or pituitary gland), thyroid, adrenal, ovarian, and/or genetic levels.
Many additional influences are noted in the article including vitamin D levels, hormonal contraception influences, the use of anti-depressants, stress, and metabolic states. Any one of these topics warrants its own discussion.
My intention is to simply promote awareness of the importance of knowing that you are ovulating or not, as it is a sign of the overall health of the female body.
I also remind my clients of this because I can assist with many of the structural bodywork pieces of the plan, however if ovulation is not happening and the goal is fertility, we have to get to the bottom of that challenge in order to meet their goal. If that is the case, I always recommend enlisting the support of a qualified healthcare professional that can run and interpret the necessary tests to get to the root cause of an anovulatory cycle, such as a naturapath, acupuncturist, functional medicine practitioner, or fertility physician.
Next post we will look at why ovulation is an important sign of overall female body health, not only for fertility, but also for vitality and longevity in women.
I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences regarding ovulation. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact page to get in touch!
*These links are for your benefit only. I am not an affiliate with any of these resources and receive no compensation.