The Pros and Cons of Having Sex during Your Period

Photo courtesy of Getty Images Paul Bradbury

Photo courtesy of Getty Images Paul Bradbury

Many people consider “that time of the month” to be off limits for sex.  In fact, it could be a topic you and your partner have never actually discussed.  If having sex during menstruation is something you are willing to try, you should open up a dialogue with your partner to see if it is something they are interested in as well.  Below are some potential positives and negatives to consider when having sex during your period.

There are several pros to having sex during menstruation which may not have occurred to you.  First, to state it bluntly, your menstrual blood provides natural lubrication that can improve the sensation for both parties involved.  Next, the changes in a women’s hormones during menstruation can result in an increased libido and higher sensitivity, which leads to more enjoyable sex for you.  Third, you may find that having sex during your period will actually shorten its length, as the act of having an orgasm creates muscle spasms in the uterus which will cause the uterine lining to shed more quickly.  Finally, those very same orgasms cause a release of endorphins that can help relieve your period-related cramps.

On the flip side, there are some cons to sex during your period.  First, it is definitely a messier proposition.  Therefore, you may want to limit your activity to lighter flow days, avoid any positions that require you to be on top, and either have sex in the shower, or place a towel underneath you to absorb any liquid and protect your bedding from stains.   Next, a possibility exists that one or both of you will become uncomfortable, bringing an end to the intimacy.  Simply agree in advance that if this happens, it’s OK with both of you not to continue, and credit yourself for trying something new.

 

Source: http://blogdailyherald.com/2013/04/15/sextion-sex-on-your-period/

Mid-Cycle Spotting

Photo courtesy of Womens-Health-Info.com

Photo courtesy of Womens-Health-Info.com

It can be very frustrating to discover you are experiencing bleeding between periods, which is commonly known as mid-cycle spotting.  Not only is mid-cycle spotting an inconvenience, but it can be a sign of a variety of medical conditions.  The following are some possible causes of this condition.

  • Implantation Bleeding– Up to 33% of women will experience implantation bleeding 6 to 12 days after conceiving.  This is light pink to brown discharge that occurs when the egg implants itself in the uterine lining.  It is extremely light bleeding that may occur just once, and definitely will not exceed two days in length.
  • Cervical Abnormalities– Slight mid-cycle bleeding can be a sign of Human Papillomavirus, cervical fibroids, or cancer.
  • Hormone Imbalance– Many different health issues, such as endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and thyroid problems can lead to a disruption in the delicate balance of hormones in your body and cause mid-cycle bleeding.
  • Ovarian Cysts– If your mid-cycle bleeding is accompanied by a sharp pain on either side of your lower abdomen, it could be the result of a ruptured ovarian cyst.
  • Sexual Intercourse– The closer your body is to ovulating, the more sensitive your cervix becomes.  Having sex during this sensitive time can actually cause mild damage to the cervix that produces bleeding.  If you see bright red blood after intercourse, this is the likely culprit.

Even if you feel you know the cause behind your mid-cycle spotting, it is a good idea to meet with your doctor to discuss it.  To prepare for the meeting, write down the days in your cycle in which the spotting occurs, how long it lasts, the color and amount of blood, and any other symptoms you experience at the same time.  A firm medical diagnosis will allow you and your physician to discuss ways of preventing mid-cycle spotting in the future.

 

Source: http://natural-fertility-info.com/mid-cycle-spotting.html

Menstrual Cycle Positives

When women discuss their menstrual cycle, it is usually about some negative aspect of it.  After all, the start of your period brings on a full range of emotion, from the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome to the disappointment of not being pregnant.  While your monthly cycle is all too often unwelcome, we would like you to consider the ways in which it can be used to your benefit.

In previous postings, we have discussed how estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone fluctuate in your body throughout your cycle.  By tracking your cycle and being attuned to your body, you can schedule certain tasks on days when your body’s hormones will give you optimal performance.  Below you will find some examples of ways you can maximize your menstrual cycle.

  • You can make the most of exercising on days when your estrogen levels are lower,
    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

    which is typically days 4-11 in a 28 day cycle.  At this time, you will find high-intensity exercise easier, resulting in lower breathing and heart rates throughout.  This is because the decreased estrogen allows for more efficient burning of the glycogen in your body, which provides quick energy.

  • Many women report feeling more creative when they are menstruating, which would be the result of the calm brought on by the drop in estrogen and progesterone levels. If you are a writer, artist, craftswoman, etc., you may find this time to be very productive for you.
  • In her book, “The Optimized Woman: If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Cycle,” author Miranda Gray posits that women’s skillsets change throughout their monthly cycle, and describes how awareness of this can increase productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. Gray states that abilities that you will find heightened at various times of the month include logical reasoning, strategic planning, critical analysis, team building, project initiation and management, and outside of the box thinking.

Have you noticed times in your cycle where your abilities are heightened?  Tell us more in the comments below.

Sources:

http://www.womentowomen.com/pms-menstruation/reverse-the-curse-benefits-of-your-period/

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/understanding-your-menstrual-cycle-109611

http://www.optimizedwoman.com/women-business-take.html

photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk

Yoga and Your Menstrual Cycle

Yoga is a spiritual science founded in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  It is a series of women-doing-yogaphysical postures, varying in difficulty level, which help you become more in tune with your body and at peace with your surroundings.  Yoga has become extremely popular in the United States due to its dual purpose of helping you get fit while also calming your mind.  For women, yoga can play a positive role in various aspects of your menstrual cycle.

  • PMS Relief– Yoga can be used for the wide variety of symptoms that accompany premenstrual syndrome.  First, it boosts circulation, which can relieve the buildup of fluid that causes bloating.  Next, the focus on deep breathing increases oxygen flow to your tissues, which eases uncomfortable cramping.  Finally, yoga requires focus, which, if nothing else, will take your mind off how you are feeling for a blissful period of time.  Poses to try include child’s pose, cat pose, and bridge pose.
  • Fertility– While yoga is not a direct treatment for infertility, it has elements which can be helpful to a woman struggling with fertility issues.  First, it helps to increase blood flow in the pelvic area.  Next, it helps those practicing it achieve tranquility.  This is important because the stress that occurs in most people experiencing infertility can only exacerbate the issue further.
  • Regulating Hormones– Yoga works by pressurizing and depressurizing specific glands in your body, and in doing so, can help regulate your hormonal secretions.  Therefore, the regular practice of yoga has a positive impact on your endocrine system.  As a result, yoga can help you decrease hot flashes brought on by menopause, boost your libido, improve memory, eliminate good cravings, reduce and manage pain, combat fatigue, lower anxiety, decrease mood swings, lower depression, balance your thyroid, and much more.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.active.com/a3_articles/7aac0f15-c7f9-4a14-8d12-c48b96addafb/1?page=1

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/04/26/for-women-trying-to-conceive-fertility-yoga/

http://www.ageology.com/top-25-reasons-to-do-yoga-for-hormonal-health/

Irregular Cycles are not so irregular

Largely to simplify the explanation of the process, a standard menstrual cycle is considered to be 28 days in length. The breakdown is as follows:

  • The first day of bleeding is day 1.
  • During days 1-14, known as the follicular phase, your follicles ripen as your estrogen rises. One follicle becomes dominant and produces an egg.
  • During days 14-28, known as the luteal phase, your estrogen levels drop as your progesterone levels rise.  Around day 14, in the process of ovulation, the egg is released from the follicle and travels through the fallopian tube on its way to the uterus to be fertilized.
  • Women are fertile for about 24-48 hours around the time they ovulate.  If the egg is not fertilized, menstruation occurs, and the cycle repeats.

period irregularNow, if everyone’s cycle worked exactly like this, it would be relatively easy to guess your fertile days.  However, this is not the case.  A woman’s menstrual cycle is completely unique to the individual.  It can range from 24-37 days and still be considered normal if that is what is normal for you.  Additionally, your cycle length can naturally vary throughout your life; just because it is 28 days now does not mean it will always be that way.

If you have widely irregular periods, it is important to see your doctor.  It is possible to cause your body to have irregular periods completely inadvertently through poor nutrition, over-exercising, smoking, and excessive alcohol and/or caffeine intake.  Your cycle can be impacted by excess stress and certain medications as well.  A physician can help you explore these possibilities as well as potential medical causes such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or uterine abnormalities.

If you are trying to become pregnant and are being hampered by an irregular cycle, Lady-Comp can help so please call us today at 1-877-925-LADY.

Sources: http://www.womentowomen.com/menstruation/menstrualcycle.aspx and http://www.womentowomen.com/menstruation/irregularperiods.aspx.

Facts instead of myths: Family planning in the 21st century

woman thinking Doctors in Europe and the United States are evidently skeptical as far as methods of natural family planning are concerned since only 6 to 10% of them would be willing to recommend such methods. At the same time however, it should be noted that only half of these experts are actually adequately informed as far as the underlying scientific facts are concerned. Isn’t it time that the awareness of this subject matter is raised?

The American, Richard J. Fehring, Director of the Institute for Natural Family Planning at the Marquette University recently reported in an American journal (JOGNN, 33, 34-43) that only 2 to 3% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 use natural family planning methods. Fehring gave two main reasons for this: Firstly, that doctors and/or nurses and midwives failed to inform women about this type of method of family planning and also, they didn’t explain to them how such a method works. This is due in part to the fact that the specialists themselves didn’t know enough about the modern versions of the various methods. On the other hand, the term natural family planning still carries the label of being “unsafe”. This is, however, a prejudice which has originated from myths and is not based on scientific data.

Reduce prejudices, expand knowledge

Fehring wants to permanently change this view and is committed to making professional education on natural family planning available, which (at last) uses modern pedagogical principles, in order to make such methods of family planning easier to understand. In the end, all of the methods of natural family planning are based on a basic knowledge of the processes occurring within the body of a woman of childbearing age every month. In the ovaries, an egg becomes ripe, while at the same time the lining of the womb thickens, so that in the event that fertilization takes place, the lining of the womb is prepared. An egg is released out of its protective covering in the ovary (this generally occurs alternatively from the right and left ovaries). This process is known as ovulation and marks the middle of the female cycle.

Knowing when ovulation occurs

Without sperm, the egg cannot be fertilized and will die after 24 hours at the latest, during its way through the fallopian tubes in the direction of the womb. Ovulation is accompanied by a slight increase in the body temperature, which can easily be measured in the early morning. At the same time there is an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge since the mucus plug which usually seals the entrance of the vagina into the womb moves away, allowing the discharge to partially drain away. If the egg does not become fertilized, the hormonal state within the body changes, so that the lining of the womb breaks down, bleeding occurs and the womb lining is shed, a process known as the monthly period or menstruation. The temperature then returns to its original value, and the cycle begins once again.

Work in harmony with nature, not against it

When the order of events just described is considered, it becomes clear that a woman is not continuously able to become pregnant. Instead this is only possible within one day after ovulation. If you also consider the fact that the sperm cells can only survive for a few days after sexual intercourse, then the fertile period – which starts about five days before ovulation and ends one day after ovulation – can be calculated. It is therefore important that the day of ovulation is identified. Whether the fertile days are being calculated purely mathematically, or the mucus secretion is being observed, or the temperature measured in order to determine the day of ovulation, all of these methods are based on the fact that there are a number of infertile days in the monthly cycle of a woman which a couple can use for contraception. Conversely, this basic knowledge is at the same time a perfect support for all those want to have a child and in this way can find out when the optimum time for conception occurs.
According to Fehring, natural family planning presents a way of working in accordance with nature, rather than against it. The latest surveys show however that, of those women who chose one or another of the family planning methods available, many did not have the necessary knowledge. A lack of the appropriate knowledge can lead to errors and – together with long-standing prejudices – this may result in an incorrect estimation of the reliability of the method.

Interest in natural family planning is apparent

Besides sustained education, intense scientific research on the measurement and calculation methods needs to be carried out so that women can be advised on the basis of reliable data. Specifically, this means that the modern methods of natural family planning should be tested in a standardized way so that, for example, they can be compared on the basis of their Pearl Index*.
Such a comparison has been undertaken in the NFP (Natural Family Planning) project being carried out at the University of Düsseldorf in Germany (see addresses). In a comparative study being carried out by the NFP team, the most reliable methods were found to be those involving some form of temperature measurement. The study was however, a preliminary trial run for further clinical observation studies, with the intention that it would enable more reliable statements to be made in the future. In Europe, the interest in natural methods of family planning in any case appears to be greater than in the United States. Here, it is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of women of child-bearing age choose such a natural method. In reality, the need may possibly be even greater. It has been shown that approximately 40 percent of women are interested in a natural form of family planning once they have been comprehensively informed and favorably acquainted with the method. Surveys have additionally indicated that those women who use methods of natural family planning do so because they feel that it is safe, due to the fact that it provides them with information about their own body and because of this their sexual desire increases. In future, this information should not be withheld from women during a professional consultation.
*The Pearl-Index is a measure of the reliability of a contraceptive method and indicates the statistical probability that a woman will become pregnant in 100 women years (100 women used the method in question for one year).

Birth Control Side Effects: Are They Permanent?

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birthcontrolTaking any type of hormonal birth control brings an inherent risk of side effects.  While some may fade over time, others are clear indicators that you should investigate other options.  Below are some common side effects of hormonal birth control and information on which could be cause for alarm.

  • Headache, dizziness, and breast tenderness– These side effects should fade over time.  If they remain at the same intensity after three months, consult with your doctor about alternatives.
  • Breakthrough bleeding– This symptom may never go away, even if you diligently take your birth control pill at the same time daily.  While it is not cause for concern, it is most definitely frustrating and inconvenient.
  • Decreased libido– For some women, synthetic estrogen increases their levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This protein binds to testosterone and makes it less available for the body’s use.  The result is lowered sexual desire, subdued orgasms, and possibly pain during sex.  Even worse, SHBG levels can remain high in the bloodstream for months after going off the pill.
  • Mood swings– The hormones in birth control pills can cause some to become clinically depressed.  In fact, those with a history of depression would be advised to avoid hormonal birth control completely.
  • Your body composition-While the pill will not make you gain weight, a 2009 study conducted at Texas A&M University showed that it can decrease your muscle tissue.  Comparing a group of 73 women on a weight training program, researchers found those on the pill built 60 percent less lean muscle, had lower levels of muscle building hormones, and had higher levels of hormones that break down muscle tissue.

Those seeking an alternative to hormonal birth control should consider Lady-Comp, an easy-to-use system that can predict your fertile days based on your daily morning body temperature and information you input.  To learn more about Lady-Comp, please call 1-877-925-LADY.

Birth Control Options When Breastfeeding

It has been six weeks since your new bundle of joy arrived, and you are more than ready to resume your sex life.  However, if you are breastfeeding, you will find your birth control options are limited.

There are actually only a small handful of hormonal birth control methods that have been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use while breastfeeding.  Even among those, birth control pills containing estrogen have been shown to decrease milk supply, so it’s recommended you avoid them until your baby is at least six months old and is getting most nutrients through solid foods instead.  Progestin-only contraceptives have been found to impact both milk supply and nutrient content.  If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, there is something else to take into account.   A 1998 study conducted at the University of Southern California School of medicine showed that women with gestational diabetes who took the mini birth control pill while breastfeeding tripled their risk of developing permanent type II diabetes within a year.  Therefore, taking hormonal birth control while breastfeeding is truly a risk to the health of your baby, and possibly to your own health as well.

You may wish to explore some common non-hormonal methods of birth control during this time.  Examples are male and female condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, vaginal sponges, and spermicides.  However, you can easily unintentionally use any of these methods improperly, which increases their failure rate.  Luckily, you do have the option of using Lady-Comp, which is a great way to prevent pregnancy without subjecting your body to artificial methods.

Lady-Comp is an intelligent fertility monitor which learns, analyzes, and predicts your ovulation with 99.3% accuracy, primarily based on your basal body temperature.  It is easy to use and free of hormones and side-effects.  If you would like to learn more about how Lady-Comp can help you, please call 1-877-925-LADY.

 

What is a “Normal” Menstrual Cycle and Can Vitamins Help Support One?

The menstrual cycle is essentially a sequence of changes a woman’s body goes through in order to prepare for pregnancy.  During this process, the uterus grows a new lining in preparation to receive a fertilized egg.  If there is no fertilized egg to begin pregnancy, the uterus sheds its lining, causing menstrual bleeding.  Women usually begin experiencing menstrual periods between the ages of 11 and 14, and will notice them begin to slow down between the ages of 39 and 51.  The length of the menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding until the last day before the next bleeding occurs.  On average, this is 28 days, but can vary by up to 7 days each time.  It is not uncommon to have greater variance as a teenager or after you reach your 40’s.  However, if you experience a variance of 8 days or more while you are in your 20’s and 30’s, your period is considered irregular by medical standards.

There is evidence that vitamins can assist in regulating your cycle under some limited circumstances:

  • Irregular periods can be caused by malnourishment.  In this case, supplying the body with proper nutritional needs can make a difference.
  • Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine found that women who were struggling with infertility due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome had extremely low levels of Vitamin D and therefore could be assisted by adding Vitamin D supplements.
  • Folic acid, a major component of prenatal vitamins, is considered to be a fertility enhancer.
  • It can be helpful to increase your intake of Vitamin B6, as a lack of it is known to cause hormonal imbalance.
  • Vitamin E is also used to helped regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Monk’s pepper, also known as chaste berry or Vitex, is an herbal supplement known to help regulate ovulation and menstruation by restoring the natural balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.

If you are trying to conceive and are frustrated by your irregular cycle, Lady-Comp can help.  Lady-Comp is an easy-to use fertility computer that can predict when you will ovulate with 99.3% accuracy, based on the information you provide it and its daily reading of your basal body temperature.  If you would like to learn more about Lady-Comp’s proven track record with helping couples conceive, please call us at 1-877-925-LADY.

 

The Impact of an Irregular Menstrual Cycle for Women Trying to Conceive

A normal menstrual cycle can vary.  For the average woman, it is 28 days in length.  Medically speaking, a variance of 7 days or less each month is considered to be normal.  A variance of 8 to 20 days is moderately irregular, and 21 days or more is very irregular.

If you are trying to conceive a baby, any variance in cycle can be frustrating, as it makes it much more difficult to predict when you will be ovulating.  In a given month, the average couple trying to conceive has a 15-25% chance of becoming pregnant.  However, if you have an irregular cycle, your chances are decreased.  Strictly mathematically speaking, if you tend to have longer cycles, you have fewer opportunities over time to conceive than someone with a perfect 28 day cycle.

If you have an irregular cycle and are trying to conceive, there are two methods that can assist you in predicting when you will ovulate.  One is tracking your basal body temperature on a daily basis over a period of months.  A woman’s body temperature rises after ovulation, so charting yours can help you predict when you will ovulate next.  The other is by charting your cervical mucus.  You will find the amount and consistency of your mucus changes throughout the month.  When you are nearing ovulation, it will become clear and slippery, similar to raw egg white, and you will have more of it.

Of course, you may be reticent to try either of these methods on your own. After all, if you are not a medical professional yourself, how can you really know for sure?  Luckily, you can remove the guesswork with Lady-Comp, an easy-to use fertility computer that can predict when you will ovulate with 99.3% accuracy, based on the information you provide it and its daily reading of your basal body temperature.  If you would like to learn more about how Lady-Comp can help you conceive, please call us at 1-877-925-LADY.