I can remember as a young adult being completely baffled by the female phenomenon. Sure I learned sex ed in school but why was all this happening? Why did I have a period? What was causing it? Why did I have more discharge at this time during the month and less during this time? More to the point why did I have discharge at all? I never even thought about checking my temperature and the word estrogen didn’t become part of vocabulary until a lot later in my life.
Now I am in my thirties and I finally understand why the female body behaves the way it does. We as women are truly lucky that we have such a visual barometer to understand our current health status.
So lets start simple: why does you body temperature and mucous discharge fluctuate every month and how does that reflect your current health status?
Many women do not know their basal body temperature. But it is an extremely important indicator to health. Even one degree too low and it can completely destroy your health making you infertile and more prone to illnesses.
So what is a basal body temperature? Your basal body temperature is your lowest body temperature in a 24 hour period. To track this number it is important to take your temperature right after you wake up and before even sitting up. Also, try to take it at the same time every day. There are many online charts and even apps that make charting this number easy.
Your basal body temperature should peak after ovulation and then stay consistently high until your next period. Many of the patients I see have inconsistent basal body temperatures. I often noticed that women who have inconsistent body temperatures are either 1) not tracking it effectively and/or, 2) not in good health. Women with irregular menses also seem to have irregular basal temperatures as well. An average basal body temperature of around 36.8 degrees Celsius usually means that your body is functioning in tip top condition. If your temperature is too high it can point to other illnesses.
So why do you have discharge, or cervical mucus ?
I wish that my sex ed class in elementary school had covered cervical mucous in particular. When I first noticed that I was producing cervical mucous I was embarrassed and before I started helping others on their fertility journey I can’t remember one time that I ever talked to another female about the subject. For some reason it just never seemed important. In fact, your cervical fluid is incredibly important for many different reasons. It lubricates during sex, helps to repel sperm before ovulation and during pregnancy and helps the sperm reach the follicle after ovulation. Women who have little to no discharge often have low sex drives and complain of pain during intercourse.
How do you track it?
Cervical mucus is produced by the cervix. The consistency, quantity, stretch ability and clarity increases with the rising estrogen (E2) levels in the body. Estrogen reaches it peak during ovulation. After ovulation occurs and estrogen level drop the mucus becomes more cloudy and thick due to the rise in progesterone.
Many women can track their mucus by wiping it off with a tissue or by inserting two fingers into the vagina. I recommend doing this once a day and noting the consistency on the same chart that you are tracking your basal body temperature on. If you notice that you have little to no discharge please let your acupuncturist know.
My next blog will cover the hormones that create your cycle and why they are so important to fertility.
And now for your daily minute of Japanese:
See you next time.
Heather Maya Suzuki