Does travelling affect basal temperature accuracy?

Midsummers marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means lots of us will be travelling to our favourite holiday destinations to get some much needed Vitamin D – especially those of us living north of the equator where the summer still hasn’t arrived!

The thought of hotter climates has led many of our Cyclers to become a little hot-headed about their favourite travel essential, NaturalCycles, who have asked the question ” does travelling affect basal temperature accuracy? “. So we thought it would be helpful to answer a couple of your questions so you can relax wholeheartedly and enjoy the sun!

A common question is whether resting temperature is affected by a hotter climate?  The answer is, not significantly, as your body is very good at maintaining itself at it’s optimal and by measuring your temperature under your tongue – not on the skin or in the ear – it means that your reading is not greatly affected by the surrounding room temperature.


In fact, the main reason for temperature fluctuations when travelling abroad often comes down to quality of sleep. The warmer weather and different time zone can often mean a disturbed night. It’s either too humid or too cold – depending on whether you’ve opted for AirCon – and trying to become attuned to a new ‘bed time’ can take a couple of days. So as a guideline, we say that it’s always best to skip a measurement or two during this changeover period. Moreover, the suggested guideline for jet lag recovery rate is one day per time zone, so as a rule of thumb, you might want to try skipping one measure day per time zone to get optimal results. 

The next query that comes hand-in-hand with holidays is measuring the morning after drinking. We recommend Cyclers to skip measuring if you feel hungover or if you have slept less than usual but if you have had one cocktail whilst watching the sunset you will be OK to measure!

If you have any more questions please leave a comment or get in touch via support@naturalcycles.com

Your NaturalCycles Team

How can your doctor use NaturalCycles to help you?

Is your doctor or nurse unsure how to use NaturalCycles? Well, we’re here to help you, help them make the most out of our service. Why?  Because information about your unique cycles could help medical professionals answer important questions associated with your reproductive and sexual health.

 

giphy

Dr. Who

Accurately tracking menstruation and ovulation, provides powerful information. For instance:

– Period and ovulation tracking, could help diagnose and/or manage conditions like PCOS, a endocrine system disorder that can affect both of these cyclical events.

– Tracking menstrual cycle characteristics can help understand a woman’s fertile potential and odds of conceiving on a cycle-to-cycle basis.

– Specific information about a woman’s cycle, such as PMS symptoms that women can enter in ‘Notes’, can also help a physician make a diagnosis or evaluate treatment for endometriosis, a condition that affects the tissue lining the uterus.

 

Fertility tracking with NaturalCycles can also help determine:

– If a woman is pregnant,

– When exactly she got pregnant and therefore improve predictions for due dates

– Offer insights into the health of the fetus in the first trimester.

FACT:  Did you know that NaturalCycles notifies a user to seek medical advise if the algorithm captures low temperatures at the early stages of pregnancy? This is because low temperatures indicate insufficient progesterone levels to support the early development of a fetus.

 

The information medical professionals can obtain from a user’s calendar and statistics are as follows:

– Number of anovulatory cycles

– Average ovulation day and variation

– Cycle regularity

– Cycle length and variation

– Phase length (Follicular and Luteal)

– Temperature in each phase

– Cover line temperature

– Temperature fluctuations

– Time and length of menstruation

 

NATURAL_CYCLES_STATISTICS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any further questions or want to share your experience we’d love to hear from you so please comment or get in touch via support@naturalcycles.com

Yours naturally,
The NaturalCycles Team

xx

 

Switching from Hormonal Contraception to NaturalCycles

Many of our cyclers recently quit hormonal contraception and have many questions in regards to this. Here is a short summary that answers some of them.
 

How does hormonal contraception affect your body?

For a woman to become pregnant, she has to ovulate. Once the ovulation has taken place, the egg can be fertilized. Hormonal contraception, in general, prevents pregnancies by preventing ovulation.

Once you’ve quit hormonal contraception, it may take a while before your ovulation kicks back in, and your natural menstrual cycle. This is completely normal, especially after many years of hormones.

As a woman can only get pregnant during ovulation, NaturalCycles’ algorithm works by finding the woman’s ovulation day. Once the egg is released, it can survive up to 24 hours, and during this time it can get fertilized. As sperm can survive up to 5 days in the woman, NaturalCycles gives you red days at least 5 days before expected ovulation, during ovulation day, and 24 hours after the egg is released. If NaturalCycles’ algorithm does not know you well yet (i.e. you have not yet had a detected ovulation) – few green days will be given.

When do I start measuring?

Ideal is to start measuring with NaturalCycles a few days after stopping your hormonal contraception. That way we will not miss your first ovulation! Don’t measure while still on the hormones, as these hormones affect your temperature.

Have a little patience…

Once you start measuring, it can take up to 6 months for your cycle to get started again and this might lead to many red days. As your ovaries have rested for such a long time (especially after many years of hormonal contraceptives), it may take a while for ovulation to kick back in. This is very normal and nothing to worry about, but please do have patience with the enlarged amounts of red days if this happens to you. Your ovulation can happen at any time and safety is what comes first to us.

It is therefore important to have a little patience in the beginning. For each and every day you measure, NaturalCycles gets to know you better and better. Soon you will be able to enjoy having full control of your natural cycles and get a balance in your red and green days. As a Plan-user, you have full control of your fertile days, and as a Prevent user, you are protected naturally, without side effects!

The NaturalCycles team

xx

 

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Continue reading

To measure or not to measure, that is the question?

A question that often pops up from Cyclers relates to how they can optimise their morning temperature measuring routine. To help, we thought we would create a quick guide of all the the do’s and don’ts.

Do:

Always measure first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed in the morning.

Always measure underneath your tongue so that the metal point sits at the root of it.

For the first 3 cycles, try to measure as often as possible.

For the 5 days before and after expected ovulation, try to measure almost every day.

Disable temperatures if they seem abnormally high due to being sick or a change in routine: Long sleep-ins, drinking heavily, late night, slept badly.

Do not:

Do not measure on sick or hangover days as this will give you more red days than necessary.

Do not measure once you’re up and out of bed as this reading will not be your resting temperature (BBT).

 

 

Here are also some tips from some of the Natural Cycles team, that might help you make your own routine:

 

“If I slept really badly the night before and wake up feeling tired, my temperature is higher than usual so I usually give it a miss for the day.” Dani, Cycler for 4 months 

 

“I often don’t measure on weekends because I love my lie-ins.” Elina, Cycler for 3 years (TIP: don’t measure if you wake up >3 hours earlier/later than usual)

 

“I tend not to measure on days when I don’t follow my normal ‘weekday’ routine, which means late nights and drinking.’ 

Eliza, Cycler for 5 months (TIP: don’t measure if you get more than 2 hours more/less sleep than usual )

 

“Whenever I travel to a different time zone, I tend to skip the first morning as it means I slept more/less than usual.” Nicole, Cycler for 1 year

 

So ladies, I think that is about it. If you follow these guidelines then you should get a nice temperature curve, like the one below:

Our cycles should roughly take a sinne curve shape

Our cycles curve usually have a ‘Sine’ shape

 

Just remember that there will of course be some fluctuations that cannot be avoided, but this is normal so no need to worry!

One final thought, please try not to bias your graph by picking and choosing on a regular basis, if you do have data points that you are unsure about then just get in touch as we are here to help! Email support@naturalcycles.com

 

Happy measuring!

Key facts about Endometriosis

Next week is Endometriosis Awareness Week (2-9th March) so we thought it would be a useful exercise to educate the Cycler community about the condition so you all know what to look out and are able to can keep a check on your health.

First, let’s start with the basics. Your endometrium is the lining of blood that builds up on the uterine walls every cycle due to your bodies natural hormonal changes. If no egg implants into the endometrium, it will break down and become your period. However, if it is fertilised, the endometrium grows thicker and protects and nourishes the growing foetus.

Healthy reproductive anatomy

Healthy reproductive anatomy

 

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is where the lining of blood is also found outside your uterus. Areas that are most commonly involved are your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis

 

During the menstruation stage of your cycle, endometriosis cells react similarly to your healthy endometrial cells because hormones also stimulate them to grow, break down and bleed. This therefore causes internal bleeding that can lead to irritation, inflammation, pain, and the formation of scar tissue (adhesions).  Learn more here.

 

Key facts:

  • 10% of women worldwide have endometriosis – that’s 176 million worldwide (Ref. 1)
  • The prevalence of endometriosis in women with infertility be as high as to 30–50%.2 (Ref. 2)
  • On average it takes 7.5 years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis. (Ref. 3)
  • The cause of endometriosis is unknown.
  • Currently, there is no way of preventing endometriosis but there are ways of managing symptoms and the disease.

 

Symptoms:

Symptoms of endometriosis vary during the menstrual cycle, where they are often worse on the days before and during your period.

Endometriosis symptoms include:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 15.26.18

Figure sourced from Endometriosis UK

 

If you have a combination of these symptoms it is important that you book an appointment with your GP for a check-up right away.

 

 

 

  1. Rogers PA, D’Hooghe TM, Fazleabas A, et al. Priorities for endometriosis research: recommendations from an international consensus workshop. Reprod Sci 2009;16(4):335-46.
  1. Meuleman C, Vandenabeele B, Fieuws S, Spiessens C, Timmerman D, D’Hooghe T. High prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women with normal ovulation and normospermic partners. Fertil Steril 2009;92(1):68-74.
  2. Diagnosis Survey. Endometriosis UK. February 2011.

 

 

Test your knowledge: are you a NaturalCycles pro?

Today is an exciting day as we now have more than half a million days of data from all our Cyclers! This means we have been able to apply this knowledge to making the algorithm even better at adapting to your specific cycle and isolating the fertile window. Hurray!

 

We thought a great way to celebrate this time point would be to see how Natural Cycles has helped women understand their bodies better. Aside from improving women’s health, one of our main priorities is to better educate the public about fertility so that women are able to make more informed decisions about their choice of contraception.

 

 

So here are some questions with varying levels of difficulty to see where you stand on the fertility whizz chart.  Are you a Pro Cycler or Novice?

 

  1. For how many days in total are women fertile throughout their cycle?
  2. How long can sperm survive within a woman’s body?
  3. What causes your resting temperature to rise after ovulation?
  4. When is the best time to measure your resting temperature (BBT)?
  5. What name is given to the phase in your cycle when you are mostly fertile?
  6. Can you get pregnant if you have sex on your period?

 

SCROLL TO GET THE ANSWERS!

 

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Answers:

 

  1. Up to 6 days when you take sperm survival into consideration.
  2. Up to 6 days too. Did we catch you out? 😉
  3. A surge in progesterone that is associated with the start of the luteal phase.
  4. First thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
  5. The follicular phase. This is when you have the fewest green days because it is before ovulation. The luteal phase is post-ovulation and before your period starts.
  6. It’s not likely, but it can happen, especially if a woman’s menstrual cycle is short. In a 20-day cycle, for example, ovulation could occur on day 8 of her cycle then her period would begin on Day 1 and last for about 5 days. However, as you know (or have just learnt) a man’s sperm can survive in a woman’s body for up to 6 days. This means that if a couple has unprotected sex during her period then the sperm still has a chance to fertilise the egg and cause pregnancy.

 

Things you need to know about LH tests!

Do you have irregular cycles? Or have you just quit the pill? You might want to combine measuring your temperature with LH tests that are now from our webshop: http://shop.naturalcycles.com/

IMG_8343

What is LH and why test for it?

LH stands for Luteinizing Hormone and appears for about 48 hours and is shortly followed by ovulation. You can read more here if you are interested in the science of fertility.

If you have irregular cycles then we highly recommend testing for LH. If you have recently been on hormonal contraception, it is likely that your cycle will be out of balance and irregular for up to a year. This is very individual and is taken into account by NaturalCycles’ clever algorithm, which will be even more cautious if this is the case.

It is not necessary to test LH if you do not want to, but it is a powerful supplement to the basal body temperature to indicate when ovulation has occurred. Temperature measurements have day-to-day fluctuations, which can make it challenging to identify the exact ovulation day quickly – the more data entered the easier it becomes! However, positive LH tests can help speed things up and give you more green days quicker.

 

2. How do I know when to test for LH?

As a woman’s LH surge happens just before ovulation, NaturalCycles will recommend that you to check LH levels a couple of days before the expected ovulation. How far in advance you need to start testing depends on how regular your cycles are.

Depending on whether you use the website or the app, the LH reminder looks a bit different. On the website, you can hover over the calendar with your mouse and you’ll see a reminder in red, for instance on the day before predicted ovulation. On both the website and the app, you’ll see “LH” with an arrow pointing at the day of the week that you should measure on, and you will also see that the the LH field will be pre-opened on the ‘add data’ window.  Additionally, on the app you will see a “Today!” notification next to the LH entry field for the day that you should test on.

 

test_lh_naturalcycles

 

Or in the app:

image-04-12-14-02-49

 

 

Please get in touch if you have questions about LH or anything else!
Have a nice thursday!

Lots of Love

NaturalCycles Team

 

5 things you didn’t know about sperm!

 A sperm can survive up to 5 days inside the female body under the right conditions!
That’s something we all knew about. Or did we?
Here are 5 other things about sperm that you might find interesting!

1. Some like it hot, sperm like it cold.

Temperature can lower sperm count! It is shown that men have less sperm during summer season and more during winter season. Testicles are also few degrees colder than the rest of the body.

 

2.  Sperm can only swim forward!

It only takes 1 sperm cell to fertilize womans body but there are approximately 200 million sperm cells per ejaculation.
Only 1 in 5 sperm will start swimming in “the right” direction after ejaculation.

 

3. How long does sperms cell live inside a mans body if not ejaculated?

Sperms takes weeks to mature in the body, and 1000 are made per second!  Pretty amazing right?
The sperms that are not ejaculated are resorbed by the body.

 

4.  Sperm have bodyguards.

Only 5% of semen contains sperm,  and a sperm only carry half as much DNA as other cells in the male body. This make it suspicious to the immune system and it therefore sees sperm as a foreign invader. The sperms bodyguards are cells in the semen that protects sperm cells, creating a barrier from immune system cells which would attack them.

 

5. Size does not matter.

 

Sperm cells are about 0,05 milimeters and can not be seen with the naked eye, unlike a human egg which is about 30 times bigger and large enough to be seen with your own eyes.

 

 

To learn more about sperm survival, visit the link and learn more about preventing pregnancy with NaturalCycles on our website!

Happy Wednesday!

 

learnmore startyourfreetrial

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red day Facts

A common question we often get from new users is: “Why do I have so many red days? Am I always fertile?”

The answer is of course, no! No woman is fertile for more than 6 days per cycle. The fertile window starts 5 days before ovulation (because sperm survival is ~ 5days) and ends after ovulation.

Before NaturalCycles can pinpoint your 6 day fertile window it has to first get to know what is normal for you. After all, every women is unique.

 

RED CYCLE_NATURALCYCLES

So what else can influence your number of green days?

Quitting the pill

Women who quit the pill (or other hormonal contraceptives) and switch to NaturalCycles question the number of red days they get at the start. Why? This is because hormonal contraceptives disturb a woman’s normal menstrual cycle, thus leaving women with irregular cycles until the synthetic hormones leave their bodies, and this can take several months. NaturalCycles takes this into account, giving more red days until things start to get back to normal.

Measuring and fluctuations

Another important factor to consider is, how and when you measure your temperature. We advise you to avoid measuring when you are sick, feeling hangover or if you wake up much later/earlier than usual. You can read more about measuring and basal thermometer here

IMG_8306

Your temperature varies from day to day, but more considerable fluctuations can occur during ill or hungover days. These fluctuations in temperature can resemble ovulation or otherwise, which means NaturalCycles will give you a red ‘fertile’ day just to be safe. If you think this has happened to you then please get in touch at support@naturalcycles.com and we can take a look at your data and remove the anomaly that might be tainting how your cycles look.

So with this in mind, please don’t loose hope as green days are just around the corner. The more data you enter, the better NaturalCycles can pinpoint your fertile window, giving you green days in return. Have a look at this happy cycle:

perfect_cycle

To find out your fertile window and ovulation day faster, we also recommend taking an LH-test. A surge in LH hormones occur two days before ovulation and marks your most fertile days. NaturalCycles let’s you know when to check your LH levels, which also depends on how regular your cycles are. Have a look below to see what our reminders look like:

LH

lh_test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to sum-up – don’t worry, because green days are ahead! Just make sure you keep measuring everyday!

 

keep calm naturalcycles

Accuracy of perception of ovulation day in… [Curr Med Res Opin. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

Accuracy of perception of ovulation day in… [Curr Med Res Opin. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI