Next in our series on Cycle Basics: The Follicular Phase! This is a portion of your cycle that is packed full of potential. Follicles are developing in the ovaries, with the dominant follicle being released as the ovum (egg) at ovulation. As the follicles mature, they begin to produce more oestrogen, introducing changes to cervical fluid and sensation at the vulva – opening the fertile window.
The Follicular Phase is the portion of the cycle that varies in length, if you are experiencing irregular cycles, the cause is nearly always occurring in this phase. During the follicular phase, hormones such as oestrogen are rising, and we are most susceptible to cycle disturbances due to stress, illness or health conditions – that’s because in this phase, our hormone receptors and hypothalamus are surveilling to make sure that this is an optimum time for pregnancy to occur, and will suppress or postpone ovulation if they determine it is not a safe time. Crazy?!
This phase is the part of a woman’s cycle where she moves from infertile to fertile, with the greatest likelihood of conceiving occurring when intimacy is timed for the fertile portion of the follicular phase, before ovulation occurs. When charting, a woman will learn to recognise the change from her Basic Infertile Pattern (BIP) to her fertile window during this phase!
The follicular phase is the time when women experiencing PCOS or ovarian cysts are most likely to run into problematic symptoms, and charting your cycles will give you clear insights into the impact that these conditions are having on your cycles, as well as providing help in identifying underlying health conditions, including those mentioned as well as others such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
Wanting to learn more about charting and understanding your cycles to identify and manage womens’ health conditions? Send us a DM on Instagram, or check out our online courses to learn to chart today!