Studying the Cycle

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. 😉

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8 Comments

Filed under dblog, Diabetes

8 responses to “Studying the Cycle

  1. I recently started using the Natrual Family Planning charts where you track temp, cervical mucus and whether your cervix is open/soft or closed/hard. I’m only about 20 days in (stopped birth control 20 days ago) and have a history of PCOS where I once went 7 months w/o a period. All that being said, I’m FACINATED by all of this and it’s been so intersting just doing the tracking for 3 weeks. I am hoping and praying my period does return. =)

    • Sarah

      The app that I mentioned does all of that too (that’s why I chose it, actually). I’m a technological girl, and so tracking it on my phone was easier than keeping up with a physical calendar too.. Just one more thing to lose in my bottomless pit (a.k.a, my purse). 😉
      Good luck with your charting!

  2. It was like a light bulb going off when I figured out that my blood sugars were tied to my monthly cycle. Knowing when I have the dreaded progesterone around in force, I know when I can’t eat anything that would spike my sugar AT ALL because I’m already fighting highs because of it. But on those days after progesterone slacks off, and I’m in a pissy mood because I’m having my period, at least I can indulge once or twice with some Chinese food or pizza.
    Ever since going off the pill when I got married, I have had ridiculously predictable cycles. 25 days on the dot, every month, with only a few anomalies due to being on medications for something or being sick. And I have PCOS. And, I’ve only gotten pregnant “naturally” once in my entire life, and had a miscarriage. Just saying that predictability doesn’t always equal pregnancy success 😦

    • Sarah

      I hope I didn’t come across as meaning the only reason to track and find predictability was for getting pregnant. 😦 I only meant that it can be helpful in finding patterns in blood sugars that may not *seem* right by standards, but may be right for your own body regardless of whether you’re trying for pregnancy or not.

      • I was actually feeding off your post as well as Katie’s comment drawing the pregnancy stuff into it….I’m PMSing myself right now, and a bit bitter that I know I’m not pregnant. Not that we’re “trying,” but I know my cycle, and technically for the past 2 years *something* should have worked due to timing, and it hasn’t. Sorry, I am babbling and highjacking this post. I’d better stop now 🙂

  3. Great post Sarah! Also, PeriodTracker is FREE app that has been working pretty well for me. 🙂

  4. Mary

    it took me years to figure out or find out that 2-3 days before i got my period my sugars sky-rocketed and no matter how much I bolused they just stayed up there. I thought I was going crazy and none of my doctors/endo’s even mentioned it or explained to me what I should do to “fix” it. Arg. I am going thru meno pause so not sure if I will continue to get those sky rocketing numbers. Anyone know? I still don’t know how o adjust basals and boluse on those pre-period days…. 8 )

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