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Over the past five years, Oova has helped countless women take control of their fertility.
Tracking your cycle beyond your period can help you understand your body better and spot any health issues right away — so you can take action sooner rather than later.
Do you know the last time you got your period?
Maybe you track your bleed week so you can stock up on feminine products, or get more pain medicine to deal with cramps, or even double up on your facial products to prevent the hormonal acne from making an appearance.
But what about the other parts of your cycle? Do you track your cycle beyond your period?
Keeping a close eye on your cycle beyond your period can help you understand your body better and spot any health issues right away so you can take action sooner rather than later.
Phases of the menstrual cycle How to track Why you should track
On average, a person will have a 450 cycles in their lifetime. Your menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period.
The first day of your bleed is considered day 1 of your cycle. It is the easiest to recognize and track because you have a period between 2 and 7 days as your uterine lining sheds.
You get your period because the released egg was not fertilized and progesterone levels plummet (along with all other hormones too).
The phase right after menstruation is called the follicular phase because the tiny follicles in your ovaries begin to grow once again thanks to the follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH. Why are these tiny follicles so important? They hold your eggs.
The third phase is very special. Ovulation is the reason your body has been working around the clock for the last couple of weeks. The star hormone is LH as it gives the green light for one tiny egg to be released from the follicle into the fallopian tube. The egg’s life span is only about 12-24 hours if it does not get fertilized by a sperm cell.
The luteal phase is the closing of a chapter. The now-empty follicle produces progesterone to prepare the uterus for implantation of the fertilized embryo. However, if fertilization does not happen, your hormones begin to drop so the cycle can begin all over again.
>>Oova Insight: Researchers think that the significant drop in estrogen and progesterone during the luteal phase is the cause of PMS.
There are many ways you can track your cycle that extend beyond your period week. After all, it is only one-fourth of your cycle.
Since every woman is unique, so is her period. Some women have long periods (8 days) and others are lucky to have short ones (2 days). Likewise, some women experience a heavier flow and others have extremely light bleeds.
The key is to track the regularity of your period. Does it come at a similar time each month or do you regularly skip months? A regular period is typically an indication that you are in good reproductive health.
>>RELATED: Demystifying Menstruation: What Is Your Period Trying to Tell You?
While it’s not the easiest facet to track, your mucus can tell you a great deal about your cycle.
In fact, cervical mucus can be the telltale sign of ovulation. Right before you ovulate, estrogen is extremely high and receptors in the cervix bind to the estrogen and create a mucus similar to egg white consistency.
No cervical mucus? It could be a sign of hormonal imbalance or infertility. Infertility affects approximately 15% of the population in the United States.
Tracking your basal body temperature is a great way to look into your progesterone levels. After ovulation, progesterone levels increase and boost your basal body temperature by half a degree.
The key to checking your temperature is doing it at the same time each day, preferably right after you wake up. Also, keep in mind that irregular sleep, stress, and alcohol can affect your temperature readings so it’s not the most accurate method to use.
One of the easiest and most accurate ways to measure your fertility (and reproductive health) is by checking your hormones. And don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the doctor to do this! Your reproductive hormones can be measured in your urine.>>RELATED: Hormones May Be To Blame for Mood Changes, But Your Emotions Are Still Valid
If you are interested in fertility, you want to take a look at luteinizing hormone (LH) and progesterone. You can see an LH surge right before you ovulate and a progesterone surge after you ovulate signaling an egg has been released.
Tracking your cycle is a great way to plan for your upcoming period or conception, however, they’re not the only reasons to do so. It's also a great way to understand your health as a whole.
Experiencing chronic irregular cycles can indicate problems such as PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid disease, or other conditions. It’s best to check with your doctor if this is a concern for you.
Other reasons you should track your cycle include:
Tracking your whole cycle can you help you get a clear picture of your reproductive health. Tracking your periods is a great place to start. However, if you’ve mastered it already, it’s a great idea to monitor other elements such as cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and hormone levels.
An easy way to get started is by using Oova’s fertility translator. Not only is it easy to use, but it also gives you a clear picture of your hormones right at your fingertips. The Oova app translates the data in a language that’s native to you.
Understanding your whole menstrual cycle on a hormonal level empowers you to use that knowledge to your advantage and take control of your reproductive health.
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