The goal of your menstrual cycle is NOT your period. It's this...
Most of us have spent our entire menstruating lives believing that the goal of the menstrual cycle is to get a period. That our period is the main event.
From health class to the gynecologist’s office we’re taught about our periods, asked about their length & symptoms, and given supplies to manage them. In fact, for many of us, the menstrual cycle became synonymous with menstruation.
Yet, the truth is that the goal of the menstrual cycle, the main event, is NOT your period. It’s ovulation.
You only bleed because you ovulate.
Without ovulation, there would be no periods.
Ovulating allows you to make your own natural & healthy hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone.
Ovulating is good for your bones, your muscles, your mental health, your energy, your libido, breast health, and so much more. (Scroll down for more on this!)
Your period is simply a result of ovulation when pregnancy does not take place.
Your period doesn’t make you hormones. In fact, the least hormonal time in each menstrual cycle is when you’re on your period. Seriously! That’s when your hormones are the lowest that they will be all cycle long. And here you thought you were *extra* hormonal when you’re on your period.
Despite the fact that ovulation is the main event of the menstrual cycle, we are never asked about ovulation in our doctor visits. We’re often advised that we don’t even need to think about ovulation until we’re ready to get pregnant.
This, my friends, is terrible advice for two very big reasons.
Reason #1 - Waiting until you want to get pregnant to think about ovulation is waiting way too long.
If you want to have an easy pregnancy achievement journey, then you want to start supporting ovulation YEARS before you’re ready to conceive. You don't want to all of a sudden discover that you have issues with ovulation when you’re finally ready to conceive. Healing ovulatory issues can take 3 to 6 months, a year, sometimes more. Many women don’t even find out that they have ovulatory problems until they have already begun trying to conceive because they were told that their cycle would come right back after going off hormonal birth control, that their period problems are normal, and that you can get pregnant any time you have sex. The truth is that not everyone's cycle comes right back after birth control, period problems are a sign that your body needs support, and literally no one can get pregnant every time that they have sex.
If you know that you want to get pregnant someday, you want to be thinking about ovulation NOW. You want to eat the right foods, take the right supplements, incorporate the right lifestyle practices to heal hormonal imbalances and support optimal ovulation now so that your body and your cycle is ready for pregnancy when you are.
Reason #2 - Ovulation is healthy.
Yeah, that’s right. I bet you no one ever told you that your menstrual cycle is a healthy thing, but it’s true. A regular, predictable, easy menstrual cycle is a sign of health in our bodies. If your menstrual cycle is not regular, predictable, or easy there’s the very real potential that your body is not in its healthiest state. In fact, this is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recognizes the menstrual cycle as a woman's fifth vital sign. (source)
Ovulation is how you make estrogen and progesterone. Both of these hormones have amazing health benefits.
Estrogen is good for healthy muscle growth and maintenance, heart health, brain health, insulin sensitivity, and bone health. It also greatly drives our libido and vaginal lubrication. (source)
Progesterone is important for reducing inflammation, breast health, immune health, brain health, thyroid health, bone health, and is a calming hormone that soothes stress. (Source)
So to say that we don’t need to think about ovulation until we want to get pregnant is to miss out on these powerful health benefits of regular ovulation.
And, no, you can’t get the same health benefits from the synthetic estrogen and progestins in hormonal birth control. Why?
Because the synthetic estrogen and progesterone in hormonal birth control are not the same hormones that your body makes by ovulating.
The synthetic estrogen in hormonal birth control is called ethinyl-estradiol. The synthetic progesterone in hormonal birth control are a class of hormones called progestins.
Unlike your natural progesterone, progestins are more molecularly similar to testosterone and can actually cause anxiety rather than calm it like natural progesterone and increase the risk of breast cancer rather than support breast health like natural progesterone. (source)
The synthetic estrogen and progestins in hormonal birth control induce a menopausal like state in users by preventing ovulation. Now, you might be thinking - but I heard that being on the pill is like being pregnant. Um, yeah, no.
When you’re pregnant your body is benefiting from the presence of a lot of hormones - natural estrogen, progesterone, growth hormones, and more. You don’t get any of these on hormonal birth control. (source)
The only time in a woman’s life that she would both not ovulate and not have a flood of nutritive hormones is during menopause or when she’s on hormonal birth control.
In fact, the relationship between hormonal birth control and menopause has some researchers exploring the risk of early onset osteoporosis and other menopausal health conditions in women who were put on hormonal birth control as young girls and remained on it for many years, therefore missing the important bone and body benefits of their own natural hormonal production.
The bottom line is that if you’re not thinking about ovulation, you’re not thinking about menstrual health.
If you want better periods, ovulate better.
If you want to be able to get pregnant naturally, ovulate better.
If you want more regular periods, ovulate better.
If you want to be a healthier woman or menstruating human , ovulate better.
It’s time we shift our focus to the importance of ovulation and allow our periods to be what they were always meant to be… a time to release, relax, and be the quiet result of a month-long cycle of life and death.
If you want to learn more about how to support ovulation, have better periods, nourish your fertility, ditch hormonal birth control, and live the healthiest life possible in your menstruating body… then I want to help!
(And scoop up one of my *free* Cycle Wisdom consult calls here. First come, first serve. A limited number each week!)
Disclaimer: Brandy Oswald, Sauvage Wellness LLC, and her employees are not doctors, nurses, physicians, psychotherapists, or in anyway licensed medical practitioners and information presented here is to serve as an educational resource and not to be interpreted as: (1) medical advice; (2) a 100% effective birth control or pregnancy achievement options or (3) nutrition or health guidelines. By reading this you acknowledge that you understand that as a specialized form of consulting, fertility awareness education is not the same as professional or licensed therapy or medical advice and intervention; and recognize that it is your responsibility to seek such services from a licensed professional. Brandy Oswald is not a medical provider and cannot give medical advice. All information provided by Sauvage Wellness LLC and Brandy Oswald is of a general nature and is intended only for educational purposes to help with your personal health improvement goals and should not be relied on as medical advice. Always consult a physician with any health concerns and prior to changing your diet, lifestyle, supplements, birth control, fitness, or prescription medicine routine. Should you choose to use the information provided by Brandy Oswald it is of your own volition and you recognize that neither Brandy nor Sauvage Wellness LLC is not held liable for any intended or unintended outcomes.
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