In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni continue discussing menstrual cycles and periods.
In this episode, we cover:
- Tracking your menstrual cycle
- How to figure out when and if you are ovulating
- Different methods of testing hormonal imbalances causing period problems
- Traditional Chinese Medicine patterns linked with period issues
- Some benefits of using menstrual cups over tampons and pads
- How you can use the four phases of creation to maximize your high productivity times over the month
How do you figure out if you’re having a normal period and menstrual cycle?
You can track your menstrual cycle using:
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT) – your temperature generally increases sharply after ovulation by about 0.5oC or 1oF
- Ovulation signs – your cervical fluid becomes wetter and tends to have consistency of raw egg white, position of your cervix rises up in vaginal tract and becomes softer with feeling like the tip of your nose
- Ovulation Predictor Kits – measure luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine – generally rises 12 to 36 hours before you ovulate, but not 100% accurate, as you can have LH surge without ovulation
- Progesterone Ovulation Kits – measure progesterone – generally rise 24-36 hours after ovulation
- Less used are different fertility monitors like Clearblue (that uses detecting estrogen and LH levels) and Daysy (that uses your basal body temperature and period tracking)
- Salivary ferning tests looking at increased levels of salt in your saliva before ovulation due to estrogen, monitors to measure electrolytes in your saliva and vaginal sensors to detect ovulation – will these become more common in the future?
- Period tracker apps like Period Tracker or MyFlo, or just mark your Google calendar when you start your period
How do you figure out what is causing your period problems?
Further testing for hormonal imbalances and nutrient deficiencies:
- Blood vs. saliva vs. urine (such as DUTCH or CHI)
- Test on 7 days before your next period (around day 21 depending on the length of your menstrual cycle) or throughout the month if you have irregular menstrual cycles
- Blood Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) and thyroid panel (TSH, free T4 and T3)
- Blood sugar balance and insulin resistance: fasting glucose, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1c
- Blood vitamin D
- Blood iron status: hemoglobin, iron/transferrin saturation, ferritin (iron stores)
- Consider getting abdominal and transvaginal ultrasound imaging requisitioned by your family doctor or gynecologist to rule out issues with your uterus or ovaries if you have abnormal bleeding or abnormal menstrual cycles
Traditional Chinese Medicine patterns impacting your menstrual cycle:
Liver Qi Stagnation – associated with PMS, menstrual cramps and clots, type A personality, overwork, stress, anger, excessive cold exposure
Spleen Qi Deficiency – associated with changes in digestion and bowel movements like loose stools around period, excessive alcohol intake, too much raw/cold food, anxiety, worry
How can you improve your flow of Qi and blood (plus save money over time)?
You can try the Diva cup or other menstrual cups!
- For more info on the different menstrual cups available: https://putacupinit.com/
- For more info on safety of menstrual cups compared to tampons or pads: https://drjengunter.com/social-media/
It is normal for you to have different metabolic needs, creative juices and levels of energy and productivity over your menstrual cycle!
Dr. Christiane Northrup first talked about this concept in her groundbreaking book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom https://www.drnorthrup.com/
Her daughter Kate Northrup discusses more about the four phases of creation and how to tap into the different phases of your cycle to maximize productivity and efficiency at https://katenorthrup.com/phases-creation-part-one-visibility/
The phases of your monthly cycle plus the energy of each phase are as follows:
Menstrual (Dark of the Moon): Looking within, reflecting on what’s working and what’s not working in your life, letting go, course-correcting, deeper connection to intuition
Follicular: Creativity and new beginnings, high physical energy, desire to be out and active
Ovulation (Full Moon): Open to maximum cross-fertilization, connecting with community, heightened communication skills, magnetism
Luteal: Decline in physical energy, energy turns inward, nesting, administrative, detail-oriented tasks feel like priorities, slowing down
If the year were the macrocosm of the month, the phases line up like this:
Winter = Menstrual
Spring = Follicular
Summer = Ovulatory
Fall = Luteal
Adjusting to the different phases of the menstrual cycle is being used by the U.S. Women’s soccer team and is covered in the MyFlo app created by Alisa Vitti https://www.floliving.com/
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni loves her Diva Cup as an easy and economic alternative to pads and tampons.
Dr. Lisa is enjoying some cheesy reality TV shows, including Four Weddings and Seeking Sister Wife as a little break from real reality. Dr. Toni fully supports this, as she is a longtime Survivor fan (yes, it is still on TV) and got sucked into Love is Blind on Netflix recently.
Thank you for joining us today!
Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!
Stay safe everyone!