Updated: Jul 26, 2020
The menstrual cycle reaches way far beyond just bleeding every 28 days or so...most of us think of our periods being the main show. But in reality...ovulation is the big star. Here's why.
The menstrual cycle is, by definition, an ovulatory cycle. Where you ovulate and make progesterone.
Did you know that you can't have a real period unless you ovulate?
Let me explain why...
Whats a real period?
When I say a real period, I am referring to a period that comes from a result of having ovulated relatively 2 weeks prior. And that inside of your monthly cycle you have experienced the rise and fall of the 4 main reproductive hormones, which made you ovulate in the first place. Any other kind of bleed is either:
1. A breakthrough bleed of an anovulatory cycle: anovulatory means a cycle where you did not ovulate. This can happen for a number of reasons outside of taking birth control. Usually a hormonal imbalance because when you don't ovulate it is because you are experiencing a cycle without progesterone. Its also very normal to have an anovulatory cycle every once in awhile, even in healthy bodies. You just don't want anovulatory cycles every time. That's a sign somethings up.
2. A pill-bleed, is not a true period. It is not occurring because your body has cycled through its natural reproductive hormones over the last month. Instead a pill bleed happens because of an interruption of the drug. i.e. Your sugar pill week! As many of you know, the pill is taken for 3 weeks and then the last week is a week of sugar pills. These sugar pills do not have the pharmaceutical hormonal drugs, so your body bleeds because of the cessation of the drug. Birth control is set up in a 28 day pattern so you feel like you are having a "normal cycle". When in fact there is no medically indicated reason to bleed every month when you are on hormonal birth control. You could just as easily bleed every 46 days, 68 days, or 79 days. Having the occasional pill bleed helps to prevent break through bleeding (spotting irregularly) but other than that...that's the only reason to bleed on birth control.
Are you stunned right now? Yeah..I was too when I learned this.
So, why is it important to ovulate?
There are so many health benefits from ovulating! It does SO MUCH MORE than making a baby.
Benefits of Ovulating:
You get monthly doses of estrogen, which promote muscle gain, the long-term health of bones, brain, and cardiovascular health.
·You get monthly doses of progesterone, which reduces inflammation, regulates immune function, and supports thyroid, brain, bones & breast tissue.
An investment in your health
Women benefit from having 35-40 years of ovulatory cycles. It helps to prevent osteoporosis, stroke, dementia, heart disease and breast cancer. So pretty much every time you ovulate its like a monthly deposit into a bank account of long term health.
So after reading this this, are you curious if you’re ovulating?
The easiest way to tell if you are ovulating is by taking your BBT or Basal Body Temperature.
This means to take your temperature every morning upon waking throughout your entire menstrual cycle. Once you have ovulated, your temperature will go up. This is a very clear sign that you have ovulated.
And then your temperature will drop and go back down the first day of menstruation- when you bleed. When there is a clear temperature shift, you are ovulating and getting a lot of the great health benefits that it brings along with it.
The first step to make sure you are ovulating, build deeper insight into the details of your cycles for your health and have a natural form of birth control, is to learn how to track your menstrual cycle. I can help teach you the ins & outs of menstrual cycle tracking using the Fertility Awareness Method. It’s a free, natural way to get so many answers about your health. Menstrual cycle tracking is way more than just birth control. It's a vital sign.