Posts Tagged ‘hormones’

How accurate is the OvaCue Fertility Monitor?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

If you’ve done any research at all on the OvaCue Fertility Monitor, you have probably read that the OvaCue has been clinically proven to be 98% accurate in monitoring ovulation (based on studies from the National Institute of Health). So, what exactly does that mean? To give these statistics a “real life” perspective, we decided to put the OvaCue up against the transvaginal ultrasound to help showcase its accuracy in a different way. Transvaginal ultrasounds are the most accurate way to pinpoint the exact date of ovulation, as it makes it possible to visually monitor the development of the dominant follicle until it is released from the ovary and into the fallopian tube.

Sarah, Director of Social Marketing and Customer Service at Fairhaven Health, uses the OvaCue daily and blogs about her experience at OvaCue.com. Some of you may know her as “FertilityChartingWithSarah” at OvaGraph.com, and others of you may know her from corresponding with her about OvaCue customer service questions. Sarah has always been interested in female reproductive health and ovulation prediction, so she jumped at the chance to monitor an entire cycle with a series of transvaginal ultrasounds to predict and confirm when ovulation took place. She continued to use the OvaCue Fertility Monitor (oral and vaginal sensor) daily while also going to a fertility clinic for regular transvaginal ultrasounds. What did she find? Read the results here!

What is Clomid and how does it work?

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Clomid (Clomiphene citrate) is a fertility drug commonly prescribed to women that are trying-to-conceive to induce ovulation. Clomid is often prescribed to women with irregular cycles that either experience irregular ovulation or don’t ovulate at all. If you aren’t sure whether you are ovulating, you can determine this by tracking your menstrual cycles with ovulation predictor kits, fertility monitors, or even monitoring your body’s natural signs – the consistency of your cervical mucus and tracking your basal body temperature.

In order to understand how Clomid works, it is important to understand what is happening in your body as you approach ovulation. In the beginning of your cycle, estrogen levels are low which signal your body to produce FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). Estrogen levels begin to increase which triggers LH (Luteinizing Hormone). This surge is what releases the mature egg from the follicle. For ovulation to occur, enough LH and FSH must be produced to release the egg. Clomid is used to help your body produce enough LH and FSH. It tricks the body into thinking that there is not enough estrogen – which increases the production of LH and FSH, causing your body to ovulate. Generally, it is not recommend to take Clomid for more than six cycles, so if pregnancy is not achieved, a different treatment plan should be discussed.

While taking Clomid, it is common to experience a decrease in fertile-quality cervical mucus. It is extremely important to have a healthy environment to transport and protect the sperm when trying-to-conceive. Supplements, such as FertileCM can help increase the quantity and quality of fertile-quality cervical mucus and is safe to take along with Clomid.

How do FSH Levels Affect Fertility?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Follicle Stimulating Hormone, commonly referred to as FSH, is a hormone that can directly influence your chances of conceiving and/or sustaining pregnancy. The level of FSH your body produces correlates to the quality and quantity of your remaining eggs. Typically, women that are trying-to-conceive want to see their FSH levels below 10mIU/ml. When FSH levels are too high or too low, becoming pregnant can become much more difficult as it affects your menstrual cycle and whether or not you ovulate.

Knowing your FSH levels is important in predicting how fertile you are. As your egg quality and quantity dwindle – your body tries to compensate and produces more FSH in order to stimulate ovarian function. This is commonly seen in women experiencing premature menopause or who are at the age when menopause is approaching. Low FSH levels can impact fertility and result in irregular cycles, which is commonly seen in women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). If your body is not producing enough FSH, it cannot sustain a healthy ovarian reserve.

You can easily test your FSH levels either at home or at the doctor’s office. Both tests are to be performed beginning on cycle day 3 (the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle) and continue through cycle day 5. If you receive a positive at home FSH test, you should visit your doctor for further testing with a blood test.

Fortunately, if you discover that you have an imbalance of FSH – there are some supplements that can help to balance those increasing FSH levels. FertilAid for Women is a supplement that contains Vitex, which has been shown to not only keep FSH levels from increasing but to decrease FSH levels to an appropriate level in some women.   Dependent upon your FSH levels and your age, your doctor may want to proceed forward with more aggressive fertility treatments.

Guest Feature by Toni Weschler – The Fertility Awareness Method

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I never cease to be amazed by the number of times I run into people who tell me that they have been trying to get pregnant for nearly a year, but have never been taught the most basic information about their bodies.  If only people were routinely taught the fundamentals of human reproduction in school, scores of couples would not be erroneously led to believe they have an infertility problem. This is where the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) comes in.

The Fertility Awareness Method is an easy but scientific means of charting the woman’s menstrual cycle on a daily basis. It involves observing the two primary fertility signs: waking temperature and cervical fluid, and the optional third sign: cervical changes.

It is the most practical way that a woman can tell on a day to day basis what is going on in her body. Not only can she use it for pregnancy achievement or natural birth control, but it can alert her to numerous potential gynecological issues.

The hallmark of a healthy cycle is ovulation, and more specifically, when it occurs in the cycle. Charting easily allows women to know if and when they are ovulating. If a woman isn’t ovulating, it can be indicative of many possible causes which would need to be rectified if a woman wants to become pregnant.

But a doctor is only as good as the data he/she has to work with. So if a patient comes in with nothing to provide her physician, her doctor will have to start at Square One and conduct all sorts of potentially invasive and expensive diagnostic tests, many of which would be totally unnecessary if the woman were charting her cycles.

FAM allows women and their health practitioners to determine many potential problems relating to their cycle, including:
• not ovulating
• delayed ovulation
• luteal phase defects
• unsuitable cervical fluid production
• hormonal imbalances
• insufficient progesterone levels
• miscarriages

The Fertility Awareness Method is incredibly simple. When the alarm rings, you simply slip the digital thermometer in your mouth until it beeps, about a minute. Then whenever you use the bathroom, observe what it feels like when you wipe herself (always from front to back!) Does it feel dry? Creamy? Slippery? Then in the evening, record it. That’s it!

Yet it’s amazing how many women are initially put off by the thought of “so much work.” But do you begrudge brushing your teeth every day? FAM doesn’t take anymore time to chart your two fertility signs each day! And scores of women have the same reaction to learning how to chart: initially, they are incredibly excited about the sense of control they finally feel over their bodies.

But that excitement often evolves into anger when they realize all of the years that they thought they were infertile, only to discover that they simply needed to understand their particular cycles. Or when they realize all the side effects and physical ramifications they endured over the years with most methods of birth control. Or they feel humiliated when they remember all the times they ran off to the gynecologist, seemingly every month, for what turned out to be absolutely normal and healthy cyclical cervical fluid.

So what is the most practical take-home message I could give you when trying to get pregnant? Learn the empowering benefits of charting your cycle! Then have sex on those few days each cycle when you have slippery cervical fluid at your vaginal opening. And keep in mind that it won’t necessarily be Day 14, since women may ovulate earlier or later in the cycle than that day.

Good luck!

By Toni Weschler, Fairhaven Health guest contributor

Toni Weschler is the author of “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”, a national bestseller widely regarded as the preeminent guide to helping women conceive naturally. For over 20 years she has been a committed educator having started “Fertility Awareness Counseling and Training Seminars (FACTS) back in 1986. She recently completed another book, “Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body” which helps teenage girls to better understand their bodies on a day-to-day basis.

How Going Off Birth Control Impacts Your Menstrual Cycle

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Many women decide to go off of their birth control pill once they have decided it is time to begin trying for a baby. Unfortunately, many women picture this to be a much smoother process then it ends up being.  To better understand why this can often be a difficult transition we must first understand exactly what it is that birth control does to your hormones.

There are many different types of birth control; some that stop your period completely or give you very few a year, and others that regulate your period into a 28-day cycle. As they all work a bit different – they have a very similar effect. Birth control works to change the levels of your hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone. By altering and controlling these hormones, they can help to prevent pregnancy in multiple ways – by stopping your ovaries from producing eggs, altering the thickness of the wall of your cervix (which prevents the entry of sperm into the uterus), or by changing the lining of your uterus so the egg can’t attach and implant.

Once birth control is discontinued, many women report having irregular cycles or having no menstruation for many months. It can take a while for your body to return to the cycle you had before beginning birth control pills. This can be especially frustrating for women that were hoping to conceive shortly after going off of the pill. Dealing with irregular cycles (or no cycle at all) can make predicting ovulation nearly impossible. Herbal fertility enhancing supplements, such as FertilAid for Women, contains vitex and other herbs to help regulate your cycle and correct any hormonal imbalances that might be present – this in turn should help to normalize your cycle. Many women begin taking this supplement post-pill to help see a regular cycle sooner and increase their chances of conceiving.

What is Progesterone?

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Progesterone is a female sex hormone that is secreted by the corpus luteum to prepare the endometrium for implantation of the fertilized egg. Without continuing progesterone production, the endometrium would shed and menstruation would ensue. Therefore, progesterone plays a significant role in reproduction. Thus, progesterone…

  • Helps create a fertile, warm environment in the womb and promotes the survival of the fertilized egg through healthy implantation.
  • Strengthens and maintains the secretory endometrium which sustains the embryo throughout pregnancy.
  • Prevents the premature shedding of the secretory endometrium (menstruation).

During a woman’s cycle, progesterone levels rise rapidly at ovulation to provide a fertile environment for the fertilized egg. Here, progesterone is also responsible for the increase in body temperature at ovulation that lasts through most of the luteal phase. Beginning with ovulation, the corpus luteum produces progesterone for several days (and the concomitant temperature increase is in most cases easily measurable through methods of BBT/fertility charting).

If fertilization and implantation take place, the placenta takes over the role signaling progesterone production and in further maintaining a supportive environment for embryonic and fetal development. If fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels fall dramatically (usually after 10-12 days) triggering the shedding of the secretory endometrium (menses).

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