In this blog post, we thought we'd dive deep into the basics of how you can get a handle on your menstrual cycle. We get a lot of questions about how to get a handle on your bike because, one; know what phase you are in and two; identify ovulation to know when you are fertile or not. The basis for getting a handle on your cycle is about understanding fertility, i.e. getting to know your body and what affects it. To keep track of your menstrual cycle, you first need to track your menstrual cycle through an app, calendar or diary, look and feel for secretions, measure your basal body temperature and possibly check your cervix.
We've done a miniseries in three parts and today we start with part one, Secrets. Looking for secretions is an important part of understanding fertility. The presence or absence of discharge can help you understand and identify where you are in your menstrual cycle. Because it is the case that without your secretion, the sperm cannot survive.
So, how do I learn to understand my secret?
We know that many women find this part, understanding their discharge and discharge, to be the most challenging step when it comes to learning about fertility. But we will do our best to explain this in a simple and educational way.
When it comes to understanding your secret, it's partly about feeling. One way to start taking note of your fertile secretions is to identify them and observe them, and then it's not just what's in your panties, but what's on the toilet paper every time you go to the bathroom. The feeling is about the feeling you get when you wipe yourself with the toilet paper.
Here's how : Take a piece of toilet paper, fold it flat and wipe yourself from the beginning of your vulva to the end. Pay close attention to how it feels when you wipe the toilet paper on your perineum (the part between your vaginal opening and your anus). You will notice a dry, smooth or watering/slippery feeling. Understanding the feeling makes it much easier for yourself to understand the difference between your "dry" days and your " secretion" days (days when you are approaching ovulation). On your dry days, you will feel that it feels more dry or smooth when you dry yourself. When you check the toilet paper, there is no trace of secretions. Secretion that can be picked up or that generates a slippery feeling usually indicates that you are approaching ovulation.
This is because before ovulation, estrogen increases. The secretion usually becomes more transparent, slippery and stretchy the higher the estrogen and the closer we are to ovulation. After ovulation, your progesterone levels rise, which means that not as much secretion is produced and you "dry up".
The key to understanding your fertile secretions is to get a handle on the following:
- Know the differences between a “dry day” and a “secret day”
- Look for fertile secretions throughout the day and write down what you see.
Now we thought we'd dive deep into each part so you get a full grasp of your secret!
1. The difference between a dry day and a secretion day
A dry day = is a day where you either feel dry or smooth when you wipe AND there is nothing on the toilet paper that you can pick up.
A secretion day = is a day where you may feel a more slippery/watery feeling when you wipe AND/OR you see secretions on your toilet paper that you can pick up. When it comes to what you can pick up, it can either be a click of the finger or you can, for example, stretch it between your fingers. Not all women can observe a large amount of clear and stretchy secretion on their discharge days, but it is enough to feel the slippery feeling when wiping (alone) for it to be a "secretion day".
An important reminder is that there is no secretion that is more or less fertile, sperm can survive for about 5 days if there is secretion. So any secretion that can be picked up or that generates a slippery feeling is fertile.
2. Look for secretions during the day
As with anything else, we need to do something over and over again for it to become a habit and something that comes naturally to us. So once you get into the habit of checking for fertile secretions, it will soon become routine. One of the easiest ways to create a new habit is to add it to an already existing habit . And we all go to the bathroom, right? So with that in mind, start drying yourself consciously, both before and after you go to the toilet - and tada! There you have entered your new routine.
3. Write down what you see!
Fertility understanding is about making daily observations to become more aware of your body and how it works, and then writing them down . It is not enough to observe the secret if you want a completely reliable method of contraception. To give an example, do you remember what you had for dinner last Wednesday? Many of us do n't remember that.
It is absolutely possible to use apps (and therefore not take privacy into account), but there are problems in relying solely on the apps. This is because many of the fertility apps are based on an algorithm that predicts your fertile days based on your previous menstrual cycles. Our bodies are not machines , but ovulation can come earlier or later due to a variety of factors such as lifestyle changes, increased stress, overtraining, illness, etc. Therefore, it is important to also keep track of your fertile secretions, which give you information about where you are in your bike right now. If you don't like apps, it's just as well to have some form of calendar to track your menstrual cycle day by day.
How do I identify ovulation by discharge?
Before ovulation, the body produces secretions as a result of the increased estrogen . After ovulation, your progesterone levels rise , which means that secretions are not produced and you "dry up". To know when you ovulated, you need to identify your peak day = the last day of your cycle when you could identify clear, stretchy and or slippery secretions. To be absolutely safe, wait three days after your peak day to ensure your secretions have dried up. The shift from having a lot of secretions to having dry days will confirm ovulation in combination with your body temperature rising.
Important to note here is that the secretion, as said, does not always need to confirm that ovulation has occurred, but indicates that ovulation is about to occur. For many, it can be a clear sign that matches ovulation, but for some with e.g. PCOS, the secretion can be an indication that it does not lead all the way to ovulation. That's why it's important to track basal body temperature to get it confirmed, especially for those with irregular periods and diagnoses like PCOS.