Acupuncture and Fertility: The Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

A woman’s cycle is like a fingerprint, with numerous factors that make it individual. Our hormones and glands affect the different phases of the menstrual cycle and can be influenced by the way we take care of ourselves. Each menstrual cycle has four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal. Looking at the number of days and the temperatures during these phases are important for improving a woman's fertile window.

Phase One: This phase is considered day one of your period. Your temperature should be between 97.3-97.8 degrees fahrenheit. Ideally, the temperature should drop between .5-1.0 degree from the highest phase 4 temperature before day one of the cycle. A healthy release of the old lining and detoxification of old hormones is critical, as this process sets up the next cycle. This is where we focus on liver detox and the Chinese medicine principal of moving blood.     

Phase Two: This is the follicular phase of your cycle and considered the pre-ovulatory part of your cycle. The estrogens are increasing and the follicle begins to develop. Overall, these temperatures are slightly lower than phase 1 and are generally around 97.2 and 97.6. These temps should remain stable or drop slightly. During this phase, the temperature will drop when estrogen peaks. This drop is what triggers the Luteinizing hormone (LH) surge at the end of phase 2. We refer to phase 2 as the yin phase, as the estrogens build to promote a healthy follicle, so regulating yin is our general approach.

Phase Three: An increase in temperature over 1-2 days is ideal, between .5-1.0 degrees fahrenheit. A dip down at the beginning of the phase is a good sign the ovaries are responding well. Temps should remain stable or climb slightly. Interestingly, these days represent a shift from a yin, or follicular phase, to the ovulatory phase. The cycle shifts from yin to yang. LH surges and the follicle bursts from the ovary.

Phase Four: Post-ovulation. Temps should remain high and stable at 97.8 and 98.4 deg F.  A dip around day 21 can indicate implantation. Consistently higher temperatures reflect progesterone is functioning. Temps that rise up a second time after day 21 are considered triphasic and can indicate pregnancy. Treatments during this phase focus on supporting yang (progesterone).

4 Easy things you can do to improve your skin health

Gelatin- Gelatin contains 2 essential amino acids, glycine and proline.  Both are needed for collagen production.  Collagen comprises most of the skin’s structure, so providing the building blocks for this protein is important. A gelatin rich diet may provide more protection against the damaging effects of sunlight, which could lessen the risk of wrinkles. Wondering how to incorporate gelatin into your diet?  Purchase a high quality powder gelatin powder, mix with hot water and refrigerate. Adding fresh blended blueberries to the liquid gelatin adds another level of skin health, since the berries are a powerful anti-oxidant.

Eat the Rainbow- Beta-carotene is prevalent in red and orange hued vegetables. The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin.  Vitamin A stimulates fibroblasts, the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy in the deep layers of your skin.  Other great sources of vitamin A are spinach, kale and collard greens.

Take a daily probiotic-  A probiotic is comprised of yeast and bacteria that can improve your health and digestive system. Good bacteria in the gut can help eliminate toxins and free radicals that can be damaging to your complexion.

Increase your Omega 3s- One of the first strategies you can use to improve your skin health is to make sure you are getting enough high quality omega-3 fats. If the back of your hand isn’t baby smooth, chances are you need to up your omega 3 intake. Sadly, a large portion of our fish supply is riddled with heavy metals and toxins that outweigh the benefits.  As an alternative, look for a krill oil or high quality fish oil.