Tuning into our unique monthly rhythm can help us on the path to wellbeing
Our periods can give us a profound insight into our health. Yet so many women never engage with them except to dread their arrival. Over the next couple of months I am going to help you understand the biology of your cycle. Then I will show you what you can tell about your health from your symptoms, from a Chinese Medicine point of view.
The length of your cycle can be a key indicator of hormonal imbalances and whether or not ovulation is occurring in a regular manner. Hormonal imbalances can affect if and when ovulation occurs during your cycle. Without ovulation, pregnancy can’t happen.
Days: 21 to 35 days
Ovulation indicator: Regular cycles are an indicator ovulation has happened.
What do normal cycles tell your doctor?
Cycles of a normal length suggest regular ovulation and that all of the sex hormones are balanced to support natural conception.
Days: More than 35 days
Ovulation Indicator: Irregular or nonexistent ovulation
What do longer cycles tell our doctor?
Longer cycles are an indicator that ovulation is not occurring, or at least not in a regular manner, which can make conception difficult
What causes long menstrual cycles? Longer cycles are caused by a lack of regular ovulation. There are many causes – irregularities with the thyroid gland or elevations of the hormone prolactin can disrupt the brain’s ability to communicate with the ovary. In addition, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a syndrome caused by imbalanced sex hormones, can also cause failed ovulation.
Days: Less than 21 days
Ovulation indicator: It is likely ovulation hasn’t occurred
What do short cycles tell your doctor? Shortened cycles can be an indication that the ovaries contain fewer eggs and that menopause may be approaching. Falling pregnant may be difficult.
What causes a shorter cycle?
As a woman grows older, her menstrual cycle shortens. As the number of eggs available in the ovary decrease, the brain releases more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to stimulate the ovaries to develop a follicle. Earlier development of the follicle results in earlier ovulation and therefore shortened cycles. In addition, sometimes bleeding can occur even when ovulation has not, this may appear as shortened cycles.
Emma Cannon is an integrated women’s health expert, registered acupuncturist and author. Check out more of Emma’s fantastic work at emmacannon.co.uk
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