Ladies, you can learn a lot about yourself by tracking your female hormone cycle using a basal body thermometer and other techniques.
Learning to track mine changed my life. Well, it improved my awareness of myself and empowered me to take better control of my own health.
Information Included In this post:
- A brief explanation of how you can track your hormone or fertility cycle and why you might want to
- Some tips and resources to get started
Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is intended as medical advice. I am sharing my experiences for informational purposes. Please do your own research (always important especially with your body!)
Why You May Want To Track Your Hormone or Fertility Cycle?
The most common reason to track your cycle is to assist with trying to conceive a child. This is especially true when using a basal thermometer as suggested in this post. The reason is a woman (of childbearing age’s) basal body temperature changes after ovulation. For women who are trying to conceive, it is very helpful to know when or if ovulation occurred!
However, there are other benefits to gaining self-awareness from tracking hormonal cycles. The resulting self-awareness allows you to know what is normal for you and hints to what is going on in your body.
I will give a personal example. For months, I tracked my basal temperature, weight, resting pulse rate and other factors relating to my hormone cycle. I logged some of this data on a cycle tracking application. I noticed that my basal temperature seemed lower than normal compared to other (anonymous) users. My resting pulse and blood pressure were also low (on the low side of normal). It turned out I had mild hypothyroidism. As I started taking medication, my resting pulse and basal temperature both increased slightly.
In this post, I will just explain tracking basal body temperature (yes I track other stats, but I do not want to overwhelm you!)…
How To Track Your Basal Body Temperature?
Tracking your basal body temperature is easy, but it requires persistence and consistency. You simply use a basal thermometer and take your temperature first thing in the morning every day. Then you log your temperatures. Easy! Right?
A woman of childbearing age typically sees a noticeable increase in basal temperature after ovulation. This increased temperature lasts until the menstrual cycle starts. The temperature raise is typically at least .4 degrees (Fahrenheit). The raise must be (mostly) sustained to indicate ovulation as other circumstances can cause an up or down of that small amount.
Note – not all monthly cycles involve ovulation, so doctors will often instruct women to track their cycles to confirm ovulation as a first step during fertility treatments.
Another note, tracking basal temperature is useful for confirming ovulation. However, if you are trying to conceive you want to predict ovulation. Knowing your cycle helps, but in this case you likely want to track other fertility cues that I will not address in this post.
Some Tips When Tracking Your Basal Body Temperature:
- Be as consistent as possible! Your basal temperature can be different at different times in the morning. Waking up at varying times can affect the results. In my experience an hour variation does not matter much, but erratic sleep schedules might make it difficult to interpret your results.
- Note unusual situations such as illness, stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. The reason is that these things can affect your hormones, your metabolism and as a result your basal body temperature. Life happens, but noting these situations makes it easier to interpret results.
- Don’t get too hung up on daily ups and downs. Look more for an overall pattern. Most likely you may not see the pattern until you have tracked at least one complete cycle.
- Keep in mind basal body temperature is just one of many cues your body gives you.
- Graph your results using a printable or an application. There are many smart phone applications that will do this for you! I use Fertility Friend.
What You Need
You need a thermometer and a way to track and graph your daily results. That is all you need for the basics!
Any thermometer might work, butI recommend a basal thermometer. A Basal Thermometer tracks temperature to 1/10th a degree. This is useful as ultimately we are looking for a rise of slightly less than .5 degree.
I received [email protected] Digital Basal Thermometer to review. I agreed to review it as someone who has used a basal thermometer for a while. I found it easy to use and feel it has a few useful features…
- It has a larger, backlit display. This is useful for taking your temperature first thing in the morning!
- You program in the date and time. This makes it easier to enter your daily reading into your app or graph.
Other Resources & Where To Purchase:
If you are interested in learning more about tracking your fertility and hormone cycle cues, I recommend the following from Amazon:
- Taking Charge Of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler (This 20 year old classic covers all the basics of tracking fertility cues)
- Easy At Home Digital Basal Thermometer
- Charting Your Way To Conception – A free Kindle ebook from Fertility Friend explains the basics from a trying to conceive perspective. (No Kindle? No problem, using Amazon’s app you can read Kindle books on your phone or tablet)
There are many excellent apps to track hormone and fertility cycles. Fertility Friend is a popular, free option available as a web app or phone app.