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Anyone doing Fertility Awareness Method hormone charting?

Discussion in 'Hormones' started by Calathea, May 25, 2012.

  1. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Known as FAM for short, and sometimes known as Natural Family Planning (NFP). I'm not particularly interested in whether or not you're using it for contraception or to get pregnant, I'm interested in what hormonal patterns you've picked up. FAM is an excellent way of tracking your own hormones, and can show up a number of things. Please note that I'm talking about proper charting, where you take your basal temperature and observe your cervical signs, rather than just having an intuitive feeling that you know when you ovulate. Here's what I've noticed:

    1. I have a short luteal phase, typically 9-10 days. This suggests that I have too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone, as my follicular phase is about twice as long as my luteal phase. I have PMDD and tend to put on fat abdominally, which are both associated with oestrogen-dominance. I only started charting after getting a copper IUD put in, and there has been some evidence that while copper IUDs are meant to be inert and not affect hormones, they can shorten luteal phases (something to do with prostaglandins).

    2. My temperatures stay within the normal range, which is good. When they tend to be too low, that's often a sign of hypothyroidism.

    3. Temperatures are meant to be low during the follicular phase, rise at ovulation, remain high during the luteal phase, and then drop before menstruation. Of course, the luteal phase is also meant to be around 14 days. My temperatures rise on cue, but they don't drop until well into menstruation. This is noteworthy because my menstrual migraines usually occur on the day of the most dramatic temperature drop, which is now on CD3 or so. When I was a teenager, my migraines occurred before my periods, not during them.

    4. My follicular phase varies a fair amount, though within the mild range of irregularity. My luteal phase varies by a few days.

    5. My basal temps dropped when I started losing weight, which is also when I was feeling cold all the time. Taking ginger supplements sorted out both problems. However, since then I've experienced chilliness for unknown reasons, which has not shown up in my basal temps nor been cured by ginger supplements.
     
  2. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which I had before ME/CFS.... so mine is quite messed up.

    I used to try to follow natural family planning methods so used to do charting (also did to try to work out if my hormones affected any of my symptoms but other then the PMDD no other of my symptoms are affected).

    I think my temps were lower when i was sicker as I havent seen low ones for quite a while now.. . ranging from 36.4 (maybe lower.. I can right now only find 2 of my old charts) to 37 preovulation and above 37 (up to 37.2 when not feverish) after ovulation.
    My patterns werent consistant as my body tended to act different every month. (and due to ME/CFS fevers that used to often confuse things too).. My cycles vary from 28 days (only a recent occurance) usually thou 32/33 days to 67 days... they can be any number of days in that time period. In my charts one can sometimes see where my body tried to ovulate but where a missed attempt occurred, some of my charts have like up to 3 missed attempts (going by temp).
     
  3. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Yep, that's the main reason why I chart my hormones: it's good to have warning for the PMDD. I am far more likely to realise that I am having an anxiety attack and need to take some diazepam if I know that it's the relevant time in my cycle, whereas before I would just get weepy and upset and cross and it could take me much, much longer to realise what was causing it, let alone what to do about it.

    Those sound like normal temps, yep. Possibly a smidgen on the high side, I'm not sure? Mine tend to fit neatly between 36 and 37 overall, though this does vary a bit sometimes depending on whether I'm going through a cold patch. It's not as consistent as it was when I was chilly due to losing weight, where everything just jumped downwards by a set amount, it varies more.

    I'd heard that PCOS tended to make women anovulatory, though not always. Failed attempts at ovulation sound like a similar pattern. My GP was going to test my hormones for PCOS but never got around to testing them at the right time. I think it was when I was particularly having problems with being chilly, although that has more or less cleared up by now so I'm wondering whether it was more of the post-gabapentin withdrawal stuff. I do ovulate pretty reliably, my cycles are between 20-36 days long but mostly around 27, and I don't get nightmare period pains, so I don't think it's all that hugely likely.
     
  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    My PMDD is quite noticable to me.. as I get emotionally "irrational" and on a logical level I know it but my emotional levels goes about doing its own thing.

    no that's not high. A very mild fever is said to start at 37.7 I think it is and anything below that is classified as normal. All the ovulation charts examples the natural family planning clinic showed me, all had higher temps then mine.

    Yeah with PCOS one can be not ovulating at all so hence no periods or get them infrequently.. or have long drawn out cycles like mine. (anyone who gets cycles in normal lengths.. I think it was 26-32 days is seen as normal.. it would be doubtful if they would have PCOS). PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women.

    Not just hormone tests diagnose PCOS (in my tests I have reversed LH and FSH due to the PCOS... when a teen I would of had excess testosterone..hence issues with excess facial hair etc.. due to the ME thou.. I now have low testosterone but my LH/FSH ratio imbalance, to which my female hormone specialist first thought I had PCOS due to.. that issue remains).

    Ones with PCOS not just have hormonal abnormalities show up including excess testosterone (hence hair issues) but also have an ultrasound to diagnose.. things like "chain of pearl" effect , seen in the ovaries where all the egg follicles have started to develop but werent released like they should of been (this can give the apearance of like a necklace. This is due to estrogen predominance.

    Ive never heard of being chilly as a sign of PCOS.? and yeah.. ones with PCOS often get bad period pains. (I was crying yesterday due to mine.. that was AFTER i'd already taken two different pain killing drugs). Also obesity is an issue for those who have PCOS.
     
  5. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    I'd put on a lot of weight, remember, although with ME that's common, and in my case I think was mainly due to keeping erratic hours/routines and accidentally eating more than I realised. I ovulate, my cycles are almost always within the range you mention, and I don't get severe period pains, so apart from things like hair growth issues, I can't really see that I'm much of a candidate for PCOS.

    My PMDD is noticeable for me as well, I can go from chirpy to suicidal in the space of an hour. The thing is, I am appalling at noticing that something is happening and taking the correct action. Recently I had diarrhoea for three days before it occurred to me that I have medication for that. So anything that helps keep me aware of the right course of action is a bonus. Especially when I'm being distracted by the symptom itself, and an anxiety attack is even more distracting than pain.

    It's rather more useful for the migraine, though. The thing about migraine is that you're meant to catch them early with meds. But in the early stages, it's not always clear whether it's going to be a stinker of a migraine or just a bit of a headache. Plus the meds I use for migraine are not to be taken lightly, too much trouble with side effects. So now I can get a headache, be more aware that it's likely to be migraine because of charting my cycle, look at my chart, and if there's a big temperature drop that day, it's a good idea to get straight onto the pain meds.

    I would really love to know what's up with the short luteal phase, but I have yet to meet a doctor who's interested in it. I think they only flag it up if you're trying to conceive (where it would probably prevent it, you need 10 as a minimum and preferably 12). Having a follicular phase twice as long as my luteal phase, where they're meant to be of equal length, can't be good for hormonal balance.
     
  6. Googsta

    Googsta Doing Well

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    I am just starting to watch my cycle more closely as I have alot of improvement during the later part of the luteal phase.

    Unfortunately along with the energy comes insomnia so I am trying 5-htp this month. NAC helped the insomnia significantly one month but not the next.
    I am also having signifcant pms rage just before the energy kicks in, it's really scary.

    My hormones have been tested by GP & are always normal but I have excruciating period pain. I do not have Endo or PCOS but I have had PID, however the pain predated this.

    I can go from complete inactivity to cooking entire meals, light housework etc. I have to have frequent rest breaks but still, if I could sustain this level of activity throughout the rest of the month I would be very happy!
     
  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Calathea,

    I charted my monthly cycle when I was trying to get pregnant but this was a long time ago now. Used the home kits to detect ovulation. Years before I had taken my temperature each day when I saw a doctor interested in thyroid treatments. My daily morning temperature was very low. Usually from 35 to 36.4. This did raise slightly around ovulation but never got above 37. Sorry I can't rememeber how long it took them to go down again.

    The phases of my cycle were all normal lengths and there were no obvious hormonal problems. I had hormone tests at different times of the month.

    After I had IVF treatment my progesterone levels went down during the luteal phase when compared to my earlier results. My ME symptoms have always been worse in the luteal phase but I didn't notice that they got any worse than "normal" with the lower progesterone.

    I'll take my termperature again and see how long it takes to come down. It's always noticable when my temperature is low because I wake up freezing. It may be that the higher temperature lasts through the luteal phase when my ME symptoms worsen and the glands/throats and immune system symptoms are worse.
     

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