What's the magic number we think of when it comes to the menstrual cycle? 28!
28 days is what we are taught is the length of a normal cycle. 28 is actually the average of a normal range, which is 21-35 days.
Whatever number your normal length is, that's actually just part of the story...
Before menses, the point in the cycle that the lining of the uterus is shed and you are bleeding, you have a luteal phase where progesterone levels rise, and an egg travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
Before the egg can travel, it must be released from the ovary. This is ovulation.
Before ovulation, a hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, causes follicles to (you guessed it) grow, and form a fully mature egg.
Those 14 or so days in the follicular phase are actually a short timeline of the egg's development. It actually starts approximately 120 days before!
And what about men's cycles?
Their hormones are on a 24-hour cycle. Testosterone is highest in the morning and falls throughout the day.
Following along with their 24-hour cycle, sperm is produced daily. But spermatogenesis, the full cycle of production and maturation of sperm, takes approximately 60 days!
If the egg and sperm you have today come together, the health of the fertilized egg is a reflection of your health up to 120 days before conception.
These normal physiologic processes have one major thing in common: time. They give the opportunity to influence the health of the egg and the sperm long before they meet.
The choices you make today affect the cycle you will have months from now.
So what are some of the areas you can make choices in today to improve your overall health, which improves fertility?
Isn't chiropractic for back pain? That is a common reason people seek out care. The first thing we look at is why the back pain is there. Pain is how our body communicates with us, how it signals that something needs to change. We see back and neck pain often when joints, the place where two bones come together, are misaligned or not moving well. We call that area a subluxation. Subluxations increase stress in the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments restore proper motion, which decreases stress, and the pain signals decreases.
What if there isn't any pain? We never want you to be in pain! But pain is a small part of the messages a nerve carries between the brain and the rest of the body - the majority of the signals deal with function. It's very possible to not experience pain, but have diminished function. Since the nervous system controls every system in the body, including the reproductive system, it's imperative to have proper motion and tone in the spine and optimal connection between the brain and the rest of the body.
Your Doctor of Chiropractic will give you a recommendation of care based on what your body needs.
Hydration is a major factor for health! Every cell in your body requires water. Adequate hydration allows your hormones to travel where they need to go throughout your body; an imbalance of hormones is often associated with fertility issues.
Start each day with 16oz of water with lemon, lime, cucumber, or citrus fruits.
Instead of working toward a set number of ounces for the day, just keep track of what you do drink and at the end of the day reflect on how you're feeling and any changes you notice.
Fats are SO important! Did you know your fat cells produce estrogen, the primary female reproductive messengers? Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids increase egg white cervical mucous, blood supply to the uterus, and help cycles become normalized.
In men, fatty acids improve circulation to the genitals, which help support the prostate. They are important to the production of sperm, and, along with cholesterol, are primary ingredients in sperm cell membranes. Studies show DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid, is a major part of the formation of a sperm's acrosome (pointy cap).
Start simple - eat an avocado a day.
Incorporate more fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, into your diet.
When is the last time you went out and truly played? Our bodies need to be able to move. We need movement for the enjoyment of life, and for the physiological processes within the body. And movement is very important to preconception health. Studies have found that just 20 minutes of daily movement makes a big impact in overall health!
Do what you love!
Go play! Do something fun, and move your body.
Move enough to break a sweat and get your heart rate up, but not to the point of exhaustion. This could be a dance party, a walk around the block, hiking... whatever fits best into where you are today.
Love weights, or interested in adding them into your life? Great! Moderate strength training 3-4 days a week is ideal because muscle helps increase insulin resistance in women and men, and increase testosterone in men.
Yoga and Pilates are both gentle forms of exercise that increase blood flow as well as strengthen the core.
We plan and invest in weddings and in homebuilding, doesn't it make sense to do the same for the precious life we will welcome into your lives?