Why Ovulation is More Important Than Your Period

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Don’t get me wrong, periods are amazing. I’m a huge fan. But we get so caught up with our monthly bleed that we forget about the most important aspect of our cycle.

Ovulation.

Ovulation usually happens mid-cycle, except for ladies on the birth control pill, as they do not ovulate nor have a period, instead they experience what is called a “withdrawal bleed.” Also, some women not on hormonal birth control will experience anovulatory cycles (a bleed that occurs without ovulation ) due to various hormone imbalances. If your cycle is longer than 36 days, you either experienced delayed ovulation, or you did not ovulate.

3 Reasons Ovulation is Critical:

1. Fertility:

You can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate, so if that is on your agenda, ovulation is necessary. But remember, the ability to conceive is a sign of good health, so even if you aren’t planning for a family now or ever, you still want to be fertile. I recommend the Fertility Awareness Method  (no it’s not the Rhythm Method!) for those of you both planning pregnancy planning or avoidance.

2. Healthy Periods

Our bodies can’t produce the hormone progesterone without ovulating.

Each month when you ovulate, a corpus luteum is created that grows on the surface of your ovary, and this is where all of your progesterone is produced.

Progesterone is responsible for lightening your periods, as it counteracts the affects of estrogen. So if you are not ovulating you will most likely be in a state of estrogen dominance, and this is a big culprit for heavy and painful periods.

3. Healthy Body and Mind

Progesterone is the calming hormone that helps us stay resilient to stress and sleep well. This is why women who don’t ovulate (especially women with PCOS) can suffer from anxiety.

And that’s not all this super hormone can do. Progesterone nourishes our hair and nails by reducing male hormones, as well as boosts energy by stimulating the thyroid and the metabolism. And recent research has found that women who don’t ovulate experience bone loss at a faster rate than women who do ovulate, so it’s a crucial component to preventing osteoporosis.

Signs of a progesterone deficiency:

  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • PMS
  • Hair loss
  • Premenstrual migraines
  • Heavy periods
  • Fibroids
  • Acne
  • Osteoporosis

So do you now see why it’s SO crucial to ovulate?

4 Steps to Confirm Ovulation:

1. Check your cervical fluid. When you’re close to ovulation and ovulating, your cervical mucus will look like that off the clear part of an egg and stretch between your fingers.

2. Chart your temperature. There are many apps out there to help you do this. I personally use Kindara . Each morning when you first wake up, before doing anything or eating or drinking anything, take your temperature. After ovulation has occurred your temperature will spike 2/10ths of a degree and will remain elevated until menstruation.

3. Use LH strips.

LH (luteinizing hormone) spikes a few days before ovulation. LH signals a follicle to swell and burst releasing an egg into your fallopian tube. When an LH strip  shows positive, you can expect to to ovulate few days later. If you don’t get an LH surge you will not ovulate that month. Note that women with PCOS might have several LH surges throughout the month, so this might not be an accurate way of determining upcoming ovulation.

4. Note any sensations. Some women feel a sharp twinge in their ovary when the egg releases.

I hope this article has inspired you to start charting, because awareness is the number key to taking charge of your reproductive health. If you are interested in more reading I recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.

xxxx

Health Coach Jenna

5 Things Women Who Take the Birth Control Pill Should Be Doing NOW.

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TRUTH: If you are currently taking the birth control pill, then you are most likely deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals.

What doctors don’t often tell their patients before putting them on the pill is that it:

  • Creates an imbalance in gut bacteria and causes leaky gut syndrome
  • Depletes nutrients (because they can’t be absorbed due to leaky gut)
  • Disrupts the microbiome
  • Creates chronic inflammation because of the high estrogen dose
  • Decreases fertility
  • Is linked to depression

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty pissed that doctors don’t disclose this information before writing the prescription. Especially when they are prescribing the birth control pill for preventable things like irregular periods and acne. In these cases, the doctor is doing the patient a huge disservice by not delving deeper and running labs to find out what the underlying hormonal imbalance is that is causing the issues in the first place.

Prescribing the birth control pill is just plain lazy.

(For those of you trying to prevent pregnancy and you are wondering what your other options are, please CLICK HERE.)

Okay, so what if you’re on the pill and you don’t plan on quitting any time soon? Well, this is your right entirely and seeing as my main goal is to help support you on your journey, I have a few tips for you.

In addition to taking birth control pill, you should start doing these five things:

1. Take a multivitamin.

Because the birth control causes leaky gut, your body is not absorbing all the nutrients from your food. This is why it is crucial to take a daily multivitamin. I can not emphasize enough how important this is.

And babes, please splurge on this one. Don’t buy the $10 bottle at CVS, this will just give you $10 urine. Instead, opt for Green Vibrance ( I like this one because it also has your probiotics-winning!), or Garden of Life.

2. Take Vitamin D3 : Vitamin D is crucial for hormonal and metabolic function,  yet around 80% of people are deficient in it. In addition to taking a Vitamin D supplement, make sure to get at least 10 minutes of direct sun exposure a day as this helps activate your supplement.

3. Take B12 with Folate- B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer. It’s hard to get enough B12 from our diet, and if you are vegan or vegetarian it’s even more difficult. It’s even MORE difficult if you are on the birth control pill, as your body can’t absorb nutrients efficiently due to leaky guy.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is no joke. It can cause extreme fatigue that can disrupt your daily life, and make it hard to function. Tasks that seem easy can appear daunting when suffering from fatigue.

4. Eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods daily. Your body depends on your gut to remove excess hormones, that’s why it’s vital to keep your microbiome healthy. Sadly, the birth control pill has been shown to disrupt gut flora and create an environment that allows for an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast. Eating fermented foods will help keep your microbiome balanced. However, if fermented foods are upsetting you, look into getting tested for SIBO.

5. Take a probiotic. Taking a high grade probiotic is your insurance ticket that makes sure beneficial strands of bacteria are being introduced to your gut daily. For optimum health you should maintain an 85-to-15 percent ratio of good bacteria to bad. Once the bad bacteria rises above 15 percent, the immune system begins to slow down and sets off a chain reaction that promotes disease, digestion problems, and interferes with nutrient absorption.

Alright ladies, good luck! And remember, your diet is the most powerful tool you have to keep you vibrant and healthy. So continue to incorporate a variety of vegetables and quality fats into your diet always!

xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna

6 Alternatives to the Birth Control Pill

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When I was 23, after having been on the birth control pill since the age of 14 (prescribed for ovarian cysts), I had had enough of the horrible side effects of the pill. So I quit. And guess what? I didn’t have a period for three months, I had terrible acne, and I was experiencing mood swings.

After three months of having no period (amenorrhea) I visited the doctor and asked him for help. So what was his answer?

“Take the birth control pill”.

This was my first “aha” holistic moment, ladies. It’s where it all began. To me it sounded counterproductive to get back on the pill after just quitting it three months prior.  I knew I wanted my body to have a healthy period on its own.

So I went to an herb bar (I know so heady right?) because back then I didn’t know anything about health coaches, holistic doctors or healers. But I had heard of this herb bar in Austin from a friend. So I talked to a very lovely woman at the counter and she prescribed a tonic (click here for a simple version you can make at home). Well guess what? After one month of drinking this tonic I had my first pill- free period in ten years! It was oh so empowering!

So What Are My Other Options?!

Okay, so after reading my previous article about the serious side effects associated with the birth control pill, you are probably starting to think that the pill is not the best thing for your body. But what other methods of birth control can you use?

Listed below are the safest and best alternatives to the oral contraceptives. And I realize they all have their pros and their cons, so just weigh them out to see which one suits you best.

 1. Fertility Awareness Method: 99.4% effective

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) requires you to track your menstrual cycle and abstain from unprotected sex during the time you can get pregnant. On average there are 8-10 days a female can get pregnant. There are many apps that you can download to track your cycle. I use Kindara. You can even get a Daysy thermometer that does all the work for you! All you have to do is take your temperature first thing in the morning. Even if you don’t choose this method, it’s a good idea to use an app like this to track your periods. Please note that if you have irregular periods or your period is outside of the 36 day range, then this method is not for you. That said, women with irregular cycles should still chart their cycles because it will provide invaluable insight into the root of the problem. Also note, if your period tracker app doesn’t ask for your temperature, then it is not FAM but the Rhythm Method. The Rhythm Method is often confused with FAM, but RM is not a reliable birth control method.

2. Condoms: 98% effective

Oh gosh, really? Yes. Really, really. Give them a chance. Plus, if you are using the Fertility Awareness Method, you’ll only have to use them 8-10 days per month. The condom is the most effective of the barrier methods, and because it is the only method that prevents against STDs, it really is the best option for single ladies.

3. Withdrawal: 96% effective

There is no sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid, but your partner must make sure he urinates prior to sex to get rid of any sperm from previous ejaculations.

4. Diaphragms: 94% effective

These are like condoms for girls that sit up in the cervix. But unlike a condom they can be put a few hours before sex. You must go to ta doctor to get fitted for one, and they last up to two years.

5. Today Sponge: 91% effective

These can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy. It can be inserted 24 hours ahead of sex so that give you lots of flexibility. The sponge is inserted with spermicide and is placed like a cap over your cervix.

6. Copper IUD:

If you are uncomfortable with the above barrier methods, are unable to consistently chart your cycle to use FAM, or are not responsible or reliable with your birth control methods, then your next best option is the copper IUD. It doesn’t contain hormones, which is excellent because it means you will still ovulate. It’s also great for ladies looking for something more permanent as it lasts for ten years. The copper IUD is inserted into your cervix, and stops the sperm from making it way to your uterus. However it does require insertion and removal by a doctor (which can be painful) and can cause heavy periods.

Okay ladies. You now have homework to do. Reflect on these alternatives, and if you have a partner, I encourage you to include them in on the conversation to find out which one suits your lifestyle as a couple best. If you’d like support during this transition, sign up for a consultation with me today.

And remember, if you decide to stick with the birth control pill that is entirely your right. No one is judging you. This is your decision to make. I encourage you to listen to your intuition for guidance.

Xxxxxx

Health Coach Jenna