Posts Tagged ‘menstrual cycle’

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!

Chart Your Fertility Online – Free – at OvaGraph.com!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Do you chart your fertility? That is to say, do you take your basal body temperature each morning and plot it on a graph to identify that telltale temperature spike that indicates your ovulation date? Or better yet, do you use the OvaCue Fertility Monitor – an electronic ovulation prediction device that pinpoints your most fertile time of month?

If you don’t do these things, you should! Basal body temperature charting is a wonderful way to learn more about your body’s reproductive rhythm. And using the OvaCue is simply the best way to ensure you identify your entire peak fertile period – that time of month when you’re most likely to conceive.

Good news! We’ve developed a site for women who’d like to have ALL of their fertility indicators charted and graphed in one convenient location – OvaGraph.com. At OvaGraph, you can enter your daily basal temperatures, OvaCue readings, cervical mucus status, intercourse days, ovulation test results, and much (much!) more. Want to share all of your fertility status with your ObGyn? No problem! You have your own unique link that displays your entire reproductive profile for that cycle, and previous ones as well. Not interested in sharing your fertile status with the world? No worries! Just configure your privacy settings to conform to your own comfort level. Click here to see the chart of Fairhaven Health’s own fertility specialist, Sarah.

Perhaps equally beneficial to trying-to-conceive women, OvaGraph also features a wonderful community of trying-to-conceive women who interact daily in the forum. Get your questions answered by other women in the same position (or by our product experts who log in daily to assist with interpretation) – or just get a bit of support from ladies who really know what you’re going through.

We invite you to come over to OvaGraph and establish your free account today!

OvaCue: The Ideal Fertility Monitor for Women with Irregular Cycles

Monday, September 20th, 2010

With so many different monitors on the market, it can be hard to determine which monitor is best suited for you. Most don’t work well for women with irregular cycles or have limitations for short or long cycles. When trying-to-conceive, timing is everything – the OvaCue can help with prediction and confirmation of when ovulation is taking place, even for those with irregular menstrual cycles.

For women with irregular cycles, the use of the OvaCue Fertility Monitor’s oral sensor and optional Vaginal Sensor is ideal because the monitor is able to adjust accordingly to the irregularities that may occur that month. Irregular cycles are often related to a hormonal imbalance, which can make it difficult to use most monitors as they predict ovulation based on pre-determined levels of a specific hormone (which some women may not reach due to an imbalance). The OvaCue is different in the sense that it interprets each daily reading in correlation to previous readings, instead of having to reach a certain pre-determined level. The OvaCue uses an electrolyte method of detecting ovulation – reproductive hormones affect your electrolyte levels, allowing the monitor to detect the selection of your dominant follicle by interpreting the rise and fall of your electrolyte levels.

The oral sensor uses your average cycle length to determine when to look for specific trends in your oral readings. Once this trend is detected (also known as your ‘cue peak’), the monitor is able to predict when ovulation may occur, which generally happens about 5-7 days past the detection of the ‘cue peak’. The ‘cue peak’ is indicated by a light blue square (the selection of your dominant follicle) and signifies the beginning of your fertile window. However, women with irregular cycles or ovulatory disorders may stray from the average and ovulate a little early or late from the original prediction.

The vaginal sensor allows additional information to be interpreted and cross reference data received from the oral sensor. The vaginal sensor is monitoring electrolyte levels in your cervical mucus – the rise and fall of both estrogen and progesterone. It can detect when estrogen levels increase just prior to ovulation and when your estrogen levels decrease and progesterone increases – signaling ovulation. For women with a hormonal imbalance – ovulation may actually occur earlier or later than the average 5-7 days (after the dominant follicle is selected). The vaginal sensor is able to notify you a day or two in advance of when ovulation occurs. If ovulation is occurring earlier than predicted – the colored day will turn to a high/peak fertility day (dark blue) when I may have previously been a ‘possible’ fertility day. If ovulation ends up occurring later than first predicted, your fertile window will actually be extended out (continued dark blue days) until ovulation is confirmed with a pink square.

Some women may experience ovulation confirmed twice on the OvaCue, which indicates Secondary Fertility.  The OvaCue can help you detect this secondary fertility when you use both the oral and vaginal sensor.

What is a Luteal Phase Defect?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

First things first, it is important to know what your luteal phase is and when it takes place. Your luteal phase begins at ovulation and ends the day before menstruation begins for your next cycle. It is during this phase that fertilization and implantation would occur. Many women don’t realize that they have a luteal phase defect until they are trying to conceive and begin tracking their ovulation.

A luteal phase lasting less than 10 days can be classified as a luteal phase defect. It is necessary for you to have 10 days or longer in your luteal phase in order for implantation to occur and sustain. With less than 10 days, the uterine lining begins breaking down too early – it is not prepared for implantation which causes an early miscarriage. As stated above, many women don’t discover this defect until they are trying to conceive, but there are a few symptoms to look for. Some women may experience frequent but light periods. Women who chart/track their ovulation, may notice that after ovulation their basal body temperature does not remain elevated during the luteal phase as it should due to the rise in progesterone after ovulation.

There are some known causes of luteal phase defect:

Poor Follicle Production: FSH levels are directly correlated to follicle production. It can be caused by two different issues – either your body is not producing enough FSH or your ovaries are not responding the FSH that it is producing. The corpus luteum produces progesterone, which is necessary to prepare your uterine lining for implantation. Inadequate follicle production in the first half of your cycle leads to poor corpus luteum quality. With inadequate progesterone levels, your uterine lining begins to breakdown, resulting in early menses and possible miscarriage.

Failure of the Uterine Lining to Respond: In this case, FSH levels may be adequate, along with healthy follicle development and corpus luteum, however, the uterine lining just isn’t responding to the normal levels of progesterone. The uterine lining will most likely not be prepared for implantation.

Premature Failure of the Corpus Luteum: The corpus luteum can fail when the initial quality of it is inadequate. The progesterone levels may begin low and drop even further after five to seven days after ovulation. Once these levels drop, menses onset early.

If you discover that you have a luteal phase defect, there are some over the counter remedies. Vitamin B6 is one over the counter option; taking B6 every day of the month can lengthen your luteal phase. B6 can be found in fertility supplements, such as FertilAid for Women. If those remedies don’t help – there are also medications that your doctor can prescribe. Luteal phase defect may sound a bit scary but luckily it is a fairly easy to diagnose and correct.

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.

Secondary Fertility – Two Peak Fertility Readings in One Cycle

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

When trying-to-conceive, many women track their cycles to determine their most fertile days by using ovulation tests or fertility monitors.  Charting your cervical mucus consistency and basal body temperature can also indicate when your most fertile days are and help confirm when ovulation has occurred. Some women, more commonly women with PCOS or irregular cycles, may be unaware that they are experiencing multiple follicular stimulation in a single cycle.

If you have ever received two peak readings or a second lh surge in one cycle just a couple days apart– you may have unknowingly experienced multiple follicular stimulation. In order to achieve pregnancy, the follicle is released from your ovary and it must rupture for the egg to be released from the follicle. In cases of multiple follicular stimulation, your body releases the follicle, but it doesn’t rupture – therefore the egg is not released and you are unable to achieve pregnancy at that time. Your body realizes that this has happened and subsequently releases a second follicle 3-5 days later.

Typically, after ovulation, fertility monitors will register ‘low’ fertility, cervical mucus egg-white consistency will be gone, and there will be shift in basal body temperature. Women that experience multiple follicular stimulation will receive a second peak reading with their monitor and may continue to see any other natural fertile signs. If you receive a second peak reading, it is extremely important that you continue intercourse as you can only conceive after ovulation has taken place (i.e. conception will not result from the first follicle that was released).

It is important to track your cycle diligently so you are able to catch cycles where there may be a delay in the time when you are able to conceive that month. Using the OvaCue Fertility Monitor can help to identify the release of a second follicle so you don’t miss this opportunity to conceive. The combination of the oral sensor and optional vaginal sensor indicates ovulation with a dark pink/purple color on the OvaCue fertility calendar – if this color is seen a second time that cycle, you can conclude that secondary fertility has taken place. When this second set of peak days are identified, intercourse should be continued as ovulation didn’t occur as it should have with the first peak reading. This is one of the main reasons that women experience a cycle that is a couple days longer than usual. Women who experience irregular cycles or who have been diagnosed with PCOS should be especially cognizant of this.

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 Endometriosis?

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Endometriosis is a condition that affects around 5-15% of women of reproductive age. Each month, a woman’s body sheds endometrial tissue from the uterus through menstruation. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside of the uterus, in areas such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, and areas around the uterus. This tissue outside of the uterus responds to hormones just as it would inside the uterus. It attempts to breakdown and shed but it is unable to do so as it has no natural outlet.

Endometriosis can cause internal bleeding, scarring, abnormal bleeding, inflammation, severe pain during menstruation or during sex, and can often be the cause of infertility. That said, many women don’t experience any symptoms and only discover that have endometriosis once they begin trying-to-conceive.

There are several non-surgical and surgical treatments for endometriosis. A woman may undergo hormone therapy, which can be used in two different ways; hormones to make your body think you are either pregnant or going through menopause. Some hormone therapy may be used to decrease the amount of estrogen your body is producing, as estrogen feeds the growth of tissue. Some surgical options include laser laparoscopy or hysterectomy. The route chosen would depend upon the reason for treatment, whether it be to reduce pain or for treatment of infertility.

Many women with endometriosis have reported positive results when taking a natural fertility supplement such as FertilAid for Women. FertilAid contains a number of fertility enhancing herbs such as vitex (chasteberry) that help to regulate the hormones and correct any imbalances that might be present.

Can FertilAid for Women and FertileCM be Taken Together?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The simple answer is….Yes!  Not only is it safe to combine the two supplements as they were formulated to be taken together but it is highly recommended for women to use both to maximize conception efforts.  FertilAid for Women is a supplement designed to regulate your ovulation and correct any hormonal imbalances that might be present, which in turn should help to normalize your cycle over time. Additionally, it is a complete prenatal supplement providing the maximum recommended amount for women that are trying-to-conceive. The fertility enhancing herbs as well as the prenatal vitamins provide the best nutrition when trying-to-conceive. FertileCM promotes the production of fertile-quality cervical mucus.  It has also been shown to strengthen the uterine lining and support female arousal and sexual sensitivity. Fertile-quality cervical mucus is essential when trying-to-conceive, as it needs to nourish and protect the sperm while in transit. FertileCM helps to ensure that your cervical mucus is the appropriate pH balance conducive to conception. As you can see, the combination of the two supplements helps to maximize your conception efforts in many ways. You can begin taking both supplements (3 times a day) at any point in your cycle and are to be taken throughout your entire cycle.

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