Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dare read this ONLY if you're a womanly woman interested in the many facets of womanhood. Things like...estrogen levels

There. I hope I effectively scared off any persons of the guy pursuasion who might have been tempted to view this post. ;op

Ladies, I thought some of you might find helpful some of the women's health resources I've discovered over the past few months. A little background: I've always had irregular monthly cycles. This is somehow related, I believe, to hormonal imbalances that have occured from time to time, causing (mostly mild, but still not fun) bouts of depression, irritability...some of you may know what I'm talking about! I never really did much about it or had many tests done.

For almost the first two years of my marriage, I was on hormonal birth control (the pill), which caused my natural cycle to be replaced with an artificial hormone-induced one. Thank God, I finally became aware of the harmfulness of chemical birth control methods and stopped using it! I've written more on this here.

Once I went off the pill, my cycle returned to it's natural irregularity. I decided I needed to find out if there's something wrong and how it might be corrected. Several months ago, I finally started charting my cycles on a calendar to get more of an idea as to what's really going on. To my surprise, I found that though my cycles ARE irregular, they're not as bad as I thought. Over the past eight cycles they've stayed within 28-39 days, with one exception of a 50-day cycle. (Still have no idea what that one was about!)

I'm now stepping it up a little more by charting my temperatures as well. I purchased a digital basal thermometer from this site. (which also has great prices on pregnancy tests and other women's health items, btw). Charting temperatures not only helps you to know if and when you're ovulating, it gives indicators of other health problems that might be occuring, like thyroid issues. This site gives tons of information on how to chart, how to interpret your chart, how to recognize problems, and offers free online charting software. Though geared towards women trying to conceive, it might be helpful to anyone who has questions or concerns about their cycle or reproductive health. Having detailed records of your cycles, temperatures, etc., would be very helpful to have if you're planning to go to the doctor for any type of women's health issue.

The next thing on my list is to do more research into which vitamins and diets contribute to hormonal balance and healthy cycles. Oh...and I really do need to start exercising more!:op I may also schedule a doctor appointment at some point for some bloodwork or something, but since this isn't an emergency matter (I've lived with it for years!) I want to gather as much information as I can on my own so that I can be as informed as possible.

The more I find out, the more fascinated I am to discover how uniquely and wonderfully we are made! Does anybody else have any helpful websites, articles, etc., to offer dealing specifically with women's health issues? Has anyone experienced problems for which you've found natural solutions? (I'm not against medical solutions, but just prefer to use them as a last resort. I'd rather correct problems and imbalances by correcting lifestyle or diet deficiencies than by taking some pill;o)


Blogger Rachel said...

Hi, Erin!

Isn't the study of how our bodies works amazing? I charted for the first few years of our marriage and then used that knowledge when we started to ttc. A book I came across when I read The Art of NFP by the Kitzingers was a book called Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition by Marilyn M. Shannon which goes into detail how various vitamin deficiencies can affect our cycles and what you can do to get "back on track" with regards to more regular cycles etc. You should be able to find the book at a library or if not I got my copy from Amazon.


8:30 PM, December 30, 2006  
Blogger Johanna said...

I agree that charting is a great tool in getting to know how your body works. It IS amazing, isn't it?

9:06 AM, January 02, 2007  
Blogger Carrie said...

Hi Erin! It's been a while since I've commented . . . but I'm still reading. :)

I think the whole cycle charting thing is fascinating. I've never done it, but am hoping to start soon. I just ordered the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility" from Amazon and it should be arriving tomorrow, so I'm excited to start reading it. My cycles have always been pretty regular, although they haven't yet returned to normal since I'm still nursing. Anyway, thanks for sharing the things you are learning, and the helpful sites!

10:15 AM, January 02, 2007  
Blogger Ashley said...

I read "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" right before I got married (my husband and I are using NFP as part of our birth control for now), and I thought it was very good. It went into a lot of detail (I skimmed some of it!) but it explained everything well. I think just knowing more about your body and how it works is fascinating. I also like knowing exactly when Aunt Flo is going to come to visit... For example, the day before my wedding. :-p

2:49 PM, January 02, 2007  
Blogger zan said...

Whoa. I can't believe you are discussing this! I am so happy. lol.

I have had regular periods all my life. I had my first baby and then I started menstrating about 5 months later. It was very regular every 28 to 30 days. I never charted, I just knew approximately when it would happen and my body would tell me: "Self, you had better put a pad on and take some ibuprofen." I never had a problem.

Well, now I have my second little man. I stopped breastfeeding about three months ago. I had two very normal, 6-7days of bleeding, lots of cramping period. They were about 28 days, give or take a few, apart (remember I listen to my body). Well about 18 days ago I had tiny spotting. I figured it was my period.Then nothing else after that except tons of clear discharge which made me think I was pregnant, but no dice. Then last night, I thought I was getting my period again. I had about a tsp of red discharge and the cramping started. Now I have no symptoms whatsoever. I took 3 pregnancies tests in the 18 days since my spotting and they are all negative. I have no other pregnancy symptoms. I know I am not pregnant. I would have my head in a toilet if I was.

Have any other of you girls had this? Did I just have the world's best period?

I am worried about having wacky cycles. I want to be normal again. I want my old period back.

Ashley, what a bummer. The day before your wedding???

4:47 PM, January 03, 2007  
Blogger Ashley said...

Yeah take a high-stress perfectionist like myself, throw in a wedding that I did all on my own, and add some wacky hormones... no wonder I was so cranky! :-p Although I think the person who really suffered was my husband who had to wait a few extra days on our honeymoon. ;-)

4:25 PM, January 05, 2007  
Blogger Erin said...

Sorry guys...I haven't had internet access that last few days and probably won't again until Tues or Wed:o( Withdrawal! It's funny...Even when I DON'T get on here, I like knowing that I CAN:op

Rachel and Ashley...thanks for the book suggestions! I'll be seeing if I can get them from my library.

I agree, Johanna!

Hi Carrie! I'm glad you're still coming around. I've been doing so badly at writing and commenting and all of that lately that I keep thinking nobody's probably reading anymore:op New Years resolution to start blogging a little more again! Carrie, I remember offering to let you borrow some of those books I bought along these topic lines some time ago (birth control, etc). Are you still interested at all? I'd be glad to let someone else read them and see what you think. I don't agree with everything in them by any means, but they were interesting and thought-provoking.

Zan, I hope you can figure out what's going on! Maybe you won't wait as long as I have. I, too, was going through the pregnancy tests on that 50-day cycle...negative, of course, or I wouldn't be mentioning this so nonchalantly;o)

12:35 AM, January 06, 2007  
Anonymous Amy Jane said...

The Art is actually written by the Kippleys. Dittos on M. Shannon's book (though at one point she says the generic advice she gives to everyone is to give up all white sugar and caffeine and call in two-weeks if there's still a problem).

I teach natural birth control and have a simple website ( is a good summary of the observing/temping method (sympto-thermal).

*Highly* recommend the Taking Charge of Your Fertility book. There is also a v. active on-line community at where you can ask charting and interpretation questions of people who have been doing this longer than you, and don't find detailed descriptions of bodily fluids bizzare.

I've found it very encouraging, "normalizing" the experience with a broader group than just those trying to get pg.

2:53 AM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Carrie said...

Erin, I don't even remember now which books they were! But I may still be interested in borrowing them . . . you can email me about it if you want to, when you get back online! My address is: samnjuliasmommyAThotmailDOTcom


3:40 PM, January 11, 2007  

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