By Lucy Coffin on 19/02/2016
Your Temperature can tell you WAY more than you think….
If you are charting your temperature to monitor your cycle then may I just take a moment to salute you. It can be such a drag to do, and can ruin your day in an instant when it isn’t going the way you wish it was.
However, there is an awful lot to your temperature that can show hidden secrets within your fertility. We always recommend doing a couple of charts if a lady has been told she has unexplained infertility, as there is such a lot you can see from a chart.
You can work out:
Hidden luteal phase defects
Progesterone / cortisol issue
Basic Rules for temping:
- take it orally or vaginally. Orally can be zig zaggy and unreliable if you are a mouth breather, so vaginally can be more precise. However, you will always measure higher vaginally than you will orally, so don’t be surprised to see a rise from what you are used to if you switch.
- You need to have been sleeping for at least three hours to get an accurate resting temperature
- take it before you talk, eat, drink or move in the morning
- Try to take it at the same kind of time each day. If you temp later your number will be higher, and if you take it earlier it will be lower.
- It can sometimes dip down lower just before you ovulate
- Ovulation has already occurred when the temperature rises
- The best way confirm ovulation is to check for a pattern that shows three consecutive temperatures that are higher than the previous six
- You are aiming for at least ten high steady temperatures before it drops down again (signfiying that period is on its way)
- Around 6/7 days after ovulation there is a second oestrogen surge to help thicken the endometrium. This can cause the temp to dip a little lower. It should recover the next day. If it doesn’t and the temps then start to tail off this can indicate that you should work on your luteal phase.
- If the lines are very zig zag check that you are not just mouth breathing or being inconsistent with temp timings. If they are genuinely quite up and down this can be a sign of stress in the body. Working with things like mindfulness can really help correct this and make the body feel safe to conceive.
What you can discover with temping:
(I'lll just prefix this by mentioning that if you discover any of these issues with your charts then don't panic. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can direct your fertility treatment exactly where it is needed. Each of these issues are absolutely fixable).
Ideally you want to ovulate between day 12-17 in order for the egg to be at its healthiest. At ovulation your temp can sometimes dip low before it then starts to rise (to show ovulation has happened). What we sometimes see is a woman’s body having more than one attempt to make ovulation happen.
You would see perhaps a dip and a slight rise followed a couple of days later by the same again or ovulation actually happening. You can see that the body is working hard to ovulate and the release of the egg is happening much later than when the egg was ready and at its best most healthy state. This would prompt us to work on oestrogen balance as well as assessing any other reasons why ovulation could be struggling such as an imbalance with insulin / glucose metabolism which we see with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Luteal Phase issues
After ovulation the temperature should rise and settle at around at least 0.2 degrees higher than the average pre ovulation temps. It can be a gradual rise or a sharp rise. Either is fine, but we are looking for at least ten high steady temperatures before they start to fall and a bleed begins.
Often around 5-7 days after ovulation we have an oestrogen surge which can cause a slight dip in temperature. It should then recover and be higher again.
Luteal phase issues show either:
No recovery from the oestrogen dip. The temp keeps falling and period begins.
Less than ten higher temperatures before the period begins.
A very zig-zag pattern throughout the luteal phase and generally less than 12 days between ovulation and bleed. This is a good indication of emotional stress and anxiety that is throwing the progesterone off track.
It would be too much to try and explain the course of action for each of these scenarios but rest assured that if you find one or more of these issues then they are very easily treated either medically or with supplements / alternative measures. They are also when left untreated able to prevent pregnancy for months or years. But they tend to respond quickly to the right intervention and pregnancy can happen as quickly as 2 cycles into treatment.
We do have other blogs that explain in more detail about the causes and treatments for these issues. We also can always work with you 1-1 and would be delighted to help analyse your charts, look at your whole story and help put together a personal plan for you.