There are 4 phases of a menstrual cycle and each phase fulfills a different purpose supporting your fertility. Each of these phases offers an opportunity to help boost and improve fertility while increasing your chances of conceiving. The four phases of your cycle are:
1 - Menstrual Phase - The time you are having your period.
2 - Follicular Phase - The time where your egg develops and the uterine lining thickens.
3 - Ovulation Phase - The period where your egg is released and fertilization takes place.
4 - Luteal Phase - time period where an embryo travels to the uterus and implantation takes place.
Phase 1 - Menstrual Phase
What You Can Do During Menstruation To Boost Fertility
The average age which most women get their first period is between 12-13 but can range between 10-16 years old. During this first phase of the menstrual cycle the uterine lining is shedding to make way for a new lining to grow. This menstrual phase generally lasts 3-6 days and should be generally uneventful. Little to no pain should be felt, few or no clots should be seen and generally only fresh red blood should be passed. The flow can start off dark red and slowly become more fresh as the flow increases. As the flow begins to cease it generally becomes darker again.
During the menstrual phase both progesterone and estrogen hormones suddenly drop. This drop in hormones is what triggers the lining to shed. For women who track their Basal Body Temperatures (BBT) they notice the temperatures dropping early when the period first arrives before finding a relatively constant baseline temperature later in the follicular phase (phase 2).
Looking at this first phase from a Chinese Medicine perspective it is a time of movement for both Qi and Blood. If for any reason this movement is blocked or impeded it leads to problems such as painful periods, dark blood and clotting.
Your period presents a opportunity for specific ailments to be treated. Light, clotted and painful periods can often be treated at this time using Acupuncture
, specific Chinese herbs or pelvic massage. These treatments can decrease the amount of discomfort you feel and help your body have less pain during your period as well as in the coming cycles. Pain with your period (Dysmenorrhea) is not a normal function of a healthy body. Taking pain medications may also further the problem by decreasing the chances of ovulating. Dr Kali MacIsaac wrote about this finding in one of her blogs
When women are having a bleed their bodies generally need slightly more rest than in the other times of their cycle. Combining adequate rest with a diet high in iron and other nutrients supports the body in replacing the blood which has been lost. This would be especially true in women who are borderline anemic.
If you have been trying to conceive, getting a period is a emotional time. It's extremely disappointing and frustrating. Knowing there is something you can do even if you have gotten your period can be empowering and help you move forward again.
Phase 2 - Follicular Phase
During this phase your eggs are maturing in preparation for ovulation and the uterine lining is thickening for implantation. To find out what you can do during this phase of your cycle to improve your fertility Click Here
Dr. Ryan Funk
Doctor of Chinese Medicine
Fellow of the ABORM
Acubalance Wellness Centre