Just as YDMV, if you’re a woman, YMCMV… or, your menstrual cycle may vary. And I’m not referring to that one week out of the month that is so dreadfully hated, but I’m talking about the whooooole thing. From day one to day… well, however long your typical cycle tends to be. Mine? Ha. If you try to pin-point it, good luck. There are some that are like clock work. Every 26, 28, 30, 32 days, they are blessed with their own visit from Aunt Flo (wonder if she’s related to the Progressive lady? Hmmm…). For me, mine can be anywhere between 26 and 48 days long. Yep. You got it. But what is like clockwork… is when the progesterone hits. (Confused? See chart below….)
This is a simple (yet comprehensive) view of what a typical 28-day cycle looks like. With this, you can see that days 1-5 are pretty calm on the hormone front of things since it’s during the time of Aunt Flo’s visit. Then, after it’s finished, you have FSH (follical stimulating hormones) peaking and a bump in the luteinizing hormone… the ones that stimulate the ovaries to make release an egg. BUT, a major increase starts in Estradiol… which also is takes part in the release of the egg. Once this drops, the egg is released. Now, typically, I see a jump in my BG around days 8-10, but only for a day or a couple of days.. so from what I’ve researched, the luteinizing hormone would seem to be why.
Next is where things get a little off-course for me. Typically, beginning after ovulation, you have a slow, steady rise and a peak (usually around day 21) of progesterone that slowly tapers off for a day or so then drops faster until it reaches the pre-ovulation level. Sometimes, my cycle is just right on the nose of 28 days and follows the hormone pattern exactly. Two day bump for the pre-ovulation surge and a 7 day bump (okay, more like volcano) for the progesterone surge.. and from what I’ve tracked for me, it’s always on day 21 or 22. For some, this bump up may not even be that bad, and for some, it’s only for 2-3 days before the beginning of their new cycle, where it quickly returns to normal.
For me, on the other hand, when those months come where my cycle is long… like, 32-45 days long, it’s as if that progesterone is just floating there, in the high zone, and my BG’s are simply un-con-trollable. For darn near 2-3 weeks, I may have to use a basal rate that is 50% higher than my normal rate, and I have to increase my doses for my meals by just as much. It’s as if I get to enjoy the hardships of the 8th month of pregnancy all over again for 2-3 weeks. And it sucks. Darn you, progesterone. While most women can’t bear the thought of having yet another period and dread seeing that time of the month (unless you’re worried you’re pregnant when you don’t’ want to be.. then that time is a welcomed event), I actually welcome it on those months when I’ve had even one full week of highs just so my body can have a break from them.
Am I getting too deep into this? Probably. I’m not a medical doctor or even a nurse, so I can’t verify the validity of any of this. But what I am intrigued with is how studying all this stuff about how one part of my body works effects how other parts of my body works. So, ladies, I know most of you probably have how your body works in that department down pat, but for those of you who don’t, I highly urge tracking your cycles… even if you’re not trying to have a baby. It helps a great deal if you know how your cycles work if you’re doing things like basal testing and all. Even if you think you’re not regular.. you may find out that you are, just not on a month-to-month basis but that there will be a pattern of 2 or 3 short months and then one really long one (like I have found out). I use an app called Woman Calendar. Yes, It’s $10, but it shows me a great deal of things that I need to know like what day I’m on as soon as I open the app as well as it has a “cycle” tab that shows your history, your average cycle length, and your approximate start date for your new cycle. If you can find one cheaper (or even free) that does that, use it. I bought this one 4 years ago when we were trying for a baby and I think it was MUCH cheaper then.
Take some times. Get to know you so you can take care of you. 😉