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Fertile Ground – Tempdrop Blog

Fertile Ground

Drop in and explore Tempdrop’s fertile ground of science-backed insights covering a wide variety of women’s health and fertility-related topics, from menstruation and mental health to PMS, PCOS, and perimenopause.
A woman laying in bed under a white pillow feeling moody and emotional during ovulation.
Mental healthCan Ovulation Make You Feel Depressed & Emotional? Experts DiscussMany women report feeling "moody" when ovulating—hormone fluctuations occur naturally over the course of your cycle, but they can affect other hormones like dopamine and serotonin (both play a part in depression). You may have heard this referred to as PMS or even PMDD (a more severe premenstrual mood disturbance). PMDD affects 5-10% of women in their reproductive years. Ovulation occurs* when estrogen levels rise and the luteinizing hormone peaks, signaling your body it's time to release a mature egg from the ovary. This hormonal process can cause physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. In this study, women reported higher symptoms of depression in both early and late follicular phases (before ovulation) compared to the mid-luteal phase (the time after ovulation). Here’s how hormone changes during ovulation affect your mood, and other causes to consider, so you can make any needed changes to support yourself during your cycle. *In a 28-day cycle, ovulation typically occurs about 14 days before the next period. However, the first half of your cycle may be longer, so it's not a guarantee to be in the middle of the cycle. How Does Ovulation Affect Your Mood? Hormonal changes during ovulation can prompt mood symptoms, like depression and irritability. There’s a drop in estrogen after ovulation which can cause a drop in serotonin, the chemical messenger that affects moods and is linked to depression and anxiety. After ovulation, progesterone levels peak in the middle of the luteal phase before dropping back down.* Progesterone fluctuations are also linked to a decline in dopamine, which can make you tired, moody, and unmotivated. Low estrogen can contribute to mood changes as well, including depression symptoms, anxiety, and frustration. Genetics can also affect your sensitivity to hormonal changes, so talking with the women in your family about their experiences around ovulation may help to shed some light on your experiences. *Progesterone levels peak during days 7-10 post ovulation—in a typical 28-day cycle, with ovulation assumed to be happening on cd14, the mid-luteal phase test is cd21, and the peak is at day 7 post ovulation. Does Ovulation Make You Sad? So does ovulation make you emotional? It's complicated. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), sometimes referred to as “severe PMS,” as mentioned above, is linked to the hormonal changes triggered by ovulation. PMDD is a mood disorder that may occur together with other premenstrual symptoms. Factors like cigarette smoking, obesity, and pre-existing anxiety disorders can increase your likelihood of developing this condition. Symptoms usually begin after ovulation and last into the first days of your period. Symptoms of PMDD can include: Depression and despairNo motivation, low energyFeelings of anxiety, with possible panic attacksChanges in sleeping habitsMood swings that may include anger, irritability, and crying Even though there is a link between hormonal fluctuations and conditions such as PMS and PMDD, it doesn't necessarily mean these fluctuations are making you sad. In my practice, I often see women with hormonal imbalances, and I have experienced PMS symptoms as well, but there are many more factors to consider if you're not feeling your best self around ovulation. In addition to the risk factors listed above, poor diet and lifestyle, burnout at work or as a caregiver, and limited access to mental wellness resources are all contributing factors to mood disturbances and hormone imbalances throughout the cycle. Lastly, if you have been struggling to conceive, the time after ovulation may feel emotionally difficult for you to manage and could contribute to feelings of sadness. How Tempdrop Can Help We all need something we can trust and rely on these days, and Tempdrop has earned this badge of honor. Tempdrop tracks your ovulation simply and accurately. By getting to know your cycles, you can take proactive steps to prepare for the time after ovulation when you may need extra care. Proactive support can look like: Scheduling therapy appointments during your ovulation and luteal phase Prioritizing projects at work during the first half of your cycle when you have more to offer Budgeting for self-care activities that fill your cup and set aside dedicated "me time"Reaching out to friends and family for a chat or a walk with you outsideUsing a journal to help you work through your thoughts and feelingsEating nutritious and nourishing foods that support your health and vitality Giving yourself lots of compassion and grace The more you know about your cycles, the better prepared you can be to advocate for support from your medical provider. This helps to ensure your physical, emotional, and mental wellness needs are covered.
a person holding a cell phone with a period calendar on it
Fertility devicesTempdrop vs. Natural Cycles: Which Is Best for You?There are many cycle tracking devices out there to choose from, making it challenging to know which one to invest in, and, more importantly, rely on to help you achieve your goals of trying to conceive and plan your pregnancy. Practicing fertility awareness will help you know which days you're the most fertile. Your fertile window is usually a few days before or during ovulation and can be unpredictable. This study showed that 68.2% of women believed they had timed intercourse mainly within the fertile window of the menstrual cycle in their attempts at conception, but only 12.7% could accurately identify this window. It's important you find the best fertility tracker to suit your needs to increase your chances of getting pregnant when you're ready. Take a look at these fertility trackers to decide which is best for you. Tempdrop vs. Natural Cycles at a Glance FeaturesTempdropNatural CyclesFSA/HSA EligibleYesYesUser Experience- Convenient - Easy-to-navigate app - BBT measured automatically- Easy-to-navigate app - BBT measured orallyMain Features- Tracks fertile and non-fertile days - Accurately measures BBT - Tracks sleep quality - Filters out daily temps - Learns unique cycle patterns for accurate results - Tracks PMS pain, sex drive, mood changes - Premium includes cervical mucus interpretation, temperature data interpretation, ovulation day indication, fertility window insights- Tracks fertile and non-fertile days - Stores entered BBT data - Learns unique cycle patterns - Tracks PMS pain, sex drive, mood changesBest forWomen who have irregular schedules and/or irregular sleep patterns; those who want to track their sleep qualityWomen who prefer oral temperature trackingPriceOne-time purchase: $199*Annual membership: $99.99* *Including Tempdrop's wearable sensor and two months free premium charting app. After that, the premium subscription is available at $4.49/mo or $35.99/year. *Including NC BBT oral thermometer. The oral thermometer is $14.50 as a stand-alone product. Tempdrop is an FDA-registered, wearable monitor and app that tracks your core body temperatures while you sleep via a comfortable and adjustable armband. Natural Cycles is an FDA-cleared app with an accompanying basal body oral thermometer that also uses your temperatures to help you track your cycles. Temdrop and Natural Cycles are both FSA/HSA eligible. Tempdrop measures your basal body temperature while you sleep and tracks your sleep quality, while with the Natural Cycles app, you have to measure your BBT orally and enter data in the app. » Here's how to have Tempdrop covered by HSA or FSA Tempdrop Fertility Tracker What is Tempdrop?Tempdrop is a smart wearable thermometer and charting app combo that helps you easily and conveniently track and monitor your fertility window. The sensor is worn on the upper arm during sleep to accurately measure your basal body temperature (BBT). It also enables you to track additional fertility data to help you identify your fertile window, in real time. The Tempdrop Fertility Tracker uses AI technology and a patented algorithm to learn your temperature patterns on a nightly and monthly basis by measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) while you sleep. It syncs this data to your phone to help you track your fertility each day and each cycle. You have the option to choose from three paths: Get PregnantPractice Fertility AwarenessKnow My Body In addition to these three paths, there's also the added feature of selecting Irregular Cycles or Pregnancy Mode. Wearable fertility monitors help you confirm when ovulation has occurred by identifying the temperature spike that's a result of an egg being released and your body secreting the hormone progesterone. Tempdrop makes ovulation tracking easy with digital cycle charting and is ideal for people who have an irregular schedule and/or irregular sleep patterns. "As a mother of young children who often wake me up at night, I have found Tempdrop to be the perfect solution for tracking my cycles. The traditional BBT thermometers are just not feasible, and I rely heavily on Tempdrop's ease and convenience." In terms of the added app features, it doesn't get better than the Tempdrop Academy and the built-in community feature. ProsEase of use and comfortTracks irregular periods and sleep cyclesWorks while you sleepSensor syncs with the appAccurately identifies the fertile windowFilters out disturbances based on your unique nightly and monthly temperature patternsConsYou have to remember to turn it on Natural Cycles App What is Natural Cycles?Natural Cycles is an app that uses an algorithm to track your fertility based on body temperature. You can track your fertility status by measuring your temperature, entering it into the app, and letting the algorithm handle the rest. Natural Cycles is an FDA-approved app + oral BBT thermometer that analyses your basal temperature readings and your menstrual cycle information to let you know when you're fertile or less likely to be fertile. There are three plans to choose from: Birth ControlPlan PregnancyFollow Pregnancy You need to download the app, select your plan, input your menstrual cycle information, and enter your temperature (measured orally after waking up). The app algorithm will learn the pattern of your cycle to work out your fertility status. ProsSome users prefer oral temperature trackingHelps you identify fertile windowConsYou have to manually enter your temperaturesNot reliable at tracking irregular cycles or sleep patternsMust be used at the same time every morningDoes not filter out the outlier temperatures Tempdrop vs. Natural Cycles: Efficacy The efficacy of the symptothermal method is evidence-based and research shows it to be up to 99.6% effective with perfect use, and 98.2% effective with typical use. Tempdrop takes thousands of measurements during your sleep and analyses the data with its algorithm to get an accurate BBT reading. The Natural Cycles app informs you whether and when you can become pregnant based on the information that you enter into the application. Efficacy is also informed by user consistency, which for most women comes down to how convenient the product is to use and how well it analyzes your data. Products that are more manual and have stricter rules of use become less effective for the average user. Winner: Tempdrop Tempdrop vs. Natural Cycles: User Experience From a user perspective, both apps are easy to navigate, but with Tempdrop, you just need to make sure the sensor is turned on and placed correctly on your arm before sleep. How does Tempdrop work? When it comes to how to wear Tempdrop—simply place the sensor over the axillary artery area below the armpit. To find the correct position, flex your arm and find the soft area between the bicep and triceps (curvier women may need to wear Tempdrop closer to their armpit over the thinnest skin). Take the Tempdrop off in the morning and place it near your smartphone to download the information you need. With Natural Cycles you have to manually record your daily basal body temperature (BBT) and enter into the app in the .morning. Then, you need to wait for the algorithm to calculate your fertility. This can often lead to missed days and missed data. Winner: Tempdrop Tempdrop vs. Natural Cycles: Main Features Thanks to Temprop's ease of use and AI technology, you can trust that it will analyze your data accurately. The app filters out the outlier temps that can happen from stress, disturbed sleep, or a glass of wine before bed, so you can avoid any confusion on whether or not you have ovulated. No matter what happens in your life, Temdrop's patented algorithm learns your unique temperature patterns. Plus, Tempdrop's premium option includes cervical mucus interpretation, temperature data interpretation, ovulation day indication, and fertility window insights. You can also track PMS symptoms and add personalized notes. Natural Cycles' main feature is storing your last temperature, so if you do forget to enter it in the app when you wake up, you can catch up later on. There is also space for you to add information about any PMS, pain, sex drive, or mood changes and a graph feature you can use to see patterns. Winner: Tempdrop Tempdrop vs. Natural Cycles: Price The Tempdrop's full price is $199, but there can be promotions that bring it as low as $159. You can use the app for free or upgrade to the premium version for $4.49/mo or $35.99/year. Tempdrop also has a 12-month refund and extended warranty. The Natural Cycles thermometer is $14.50 as a stand-alone product. To use their app and algorithm, however, you would need to invest in the Natural Cycles annual membership of $99.99, which includes the cost of the thermometer. Both are FSA/HSA eligible. Winner: Tempdrop Final Thoughts As you can see, Tempdrop is the hands down, clear winner for a multitude of reasons. If you are someone with irregular periods and/or sleep cycles, have struggled with temperature tracking in the past, want more bells and whistles with app features, and want to save money in the long run, Tempdrop is the way to go.
a woman sitting on a couch holding a cell phone and looking at a calendar
FertilityLuteal Phase Spotting or Implantation Bleeding: What's Going On?Many people tracking their cycles, especially those who desire to become pregnant, may have googled or heard about implantation bleeding or spotting. But is this a real thing, and how do you know if you're experiencing that or something else like luteal phase spotting? Let's dive in! Luteal Phase Spotting vs. Implantation Bleeding Let's talk about what the luteal phase is. The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is one of the four phases of the menstrual cycle, which occurs after ovulation in response to rising progesterone levels. Our period typically starts 10-16 days after ovulation, and this entire time, from ovulation until the first day of your period (the first day of red, flowing blood, not spotting!), is known as your luteal phase. While implantation bleeding may be a cause of bleeding in the luteal phase, there is actually some debate around this, and it is definitely not the only or even the main cause of bleeding in the luteal phase. Luteal Phase Spotting One of the most common causes of spotting before a period is luteal phase bleeding/spotting. Remember, the luteal phase occurs after ovulation and continues until the start of your next period. So, how long is the luteal phase? The luteal phase typically lasts 10-16 days. However, just like each menstrual cycle is different, there can also be variations in the length of the luteal phase. To calculate the length of the luteal phase, most women typically count the number of days of elevated temperatures after ovulation until the first day of red, flowing blood. Can you get pregnant during the luteal phase? After ovulation, the empty follicle that released the egg transforms into a temporary endocrine gland known as the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum then produces progesterone, the hormone that makes the uterine lining ready for a potential embryo (fertilized egg) to implant. During this time in your cycle, you are not fertile and can not get pregnant. However, we can only confirm when or if we ovulate by tracking our cervical fluid and basal body temperatures or by having an ultrasound. Depending on which fertility awareness method we use and those specific rules, we typically have to wait 3-4 days after we've ovulated to confirm ovulation. If you had sex before ovulation and that egg was fertilized, then the embryo does implant during the luteal phase. So, always use caution to avoid sex if you think you may be fertile and do not want to be pregnant. In some cases, progesterone levels drop prematurely, and your uterine lining starts shedding, which may cause spotting a few days before your period. While bleeding can occur as a sign of potential ovulation, please note that bleeding in the luteal phase is not a guarantee of implantation or pregnancy, and you should always check with your medical provider if you think you might be pregnant and you are seeing spotting to ensure something more important may not be going on. What Is Implantation Bleeding? Implantation bleeding or implantation discharge is when a small amount of spotting or bleeding may occur ~6 to 14 days after fertilization, which is sometimes also around the time of a missed period. The implantation bleeding generally lasts just one day and is only a small amount of spotting that may be dark or bright red in color. It also does not typically involve clots or odd colors. It is believed to be related to the fertilized egg attaching itself to/in the uterine lining and is believed to be a normal sign of pregnancy though there is some debate about whether implantation bleeding is to be expected or even related to implantation at all. So, does implantation bleeding mean you’re pregnant? Not necessarily! Keep in mind that there can be many causes of bleeding or spotting in the luteal phase. So, you always want to make sure to check in with a medical provider for further workup. Because of how our cycles work, implantation can not occur during pregnancy, and, therefore, any bleeding around ovulation would not be an indication of pregnancy. You could possibly have implantation bleeding if you also experience other symptoms of early pregnancy, for example: sore breastsmood swingspeeing more than usualupset stomachmorning sicknessfatiguedizziness and/or fainting If you have questions or concerns about a potential pregnancy, including questions about implantation bleeding, please always contact your medical team for advice. Learning More Is Key Tracking your fertility and your cycle phases can help you increase your chances of getting pregnant, and it can also help you to see the patterns of your cycle and identify any potential needs for support based on your unique cycle. I personally love using Tempdrop for myself and my clients because: It helps to clearly identify the luteal phase with basal body temperature shifts.It can be used in addition to tracking your cervical fluid to know when and if you are ovulating.It helps give us vital information about the health of our luteal phases so we can see if you are likely producing enough progesterone for a healthy pregnancy or if it would benefit you to have some additional support or medical workup.
a woman on her period laying in a bed with a blanket
Menstruation cycle4 Surprising Causes of Irregular Periods in Your 20's & OnwardsWhile irregular periods can be expected and are considered to be normal for the first few years of menstruating, after this point, if you are still experiencing irregular cycles, you should consider a visit to your medical provider to discuss things further. As you age, your period will change because of hormonal changes and experiences like pregnancy or breastfeeding, but once we are two years into our cycles and until we begin to enter peri-menopause, we should expect to see fairly regular cycle patterns with only a few shifts here and there. Irregular Menstrual Cycle Length The length of a normal menstrual cycle varies from person to person and can range from 21-35 days in length, according to the American College of Gynecology. They define an irregular cycle as a cycle length that varies by more than 7 to 9 days from cycle to cycle. There are variations in what is considered an irregular period or normal based on which organization you look at and the training of the provider involved. From a holistic hormone health perspective, I personally like to see cycle lengths of 24-36 days that do not vary by more than 2-3 days per cycle. When we are talking about irregular cycles, the concerns come when it is something that is happening consistently. If you have just one sudden irregular period but this is not a pattern for you, this can be normal and is likely nothing to worry about. However, if it continues to be a regular pattern, then check with your medical team. Below I'll share some common symptoms and possible causes of irregular periods. But first, here are some additional symptoms that would be considered abnormal when it comes to bleeding and things that should prompt you to see your medical team: Bleeding or spotting between periodsBleeding that lasts longer than 7 daysHeavy bleeding during your periodBleeding that soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hourBleeding more heavily than usual during your periodBleeding or spotting after sexBleeding or spotting between periodsMenstrual cycles that are longer than 35 days or shorter than 21 days“Irregular” periods in which cycle length varies by more than 7 to 9 daysNot having a period for 3 to 6 monthsBleeding after menopause 4 Possible Causes of Irregular Periods 1. Stress2. Medications3. Changes in Weight or Diet4. Medical Conditions 1. Stress Stress (emotional, nutritional, and physical) affects your hormones. There is just no way around this, and whether it is good or bad stress, it doesn't matter. Stress increases our cortisol levels which can have negative downstream effects on our menstrual cycles, affecting ovulation and when your period comes. Prolonged stress can delay ovulation or cause you to skip it for long periods of time, which means your period will be delayed or skipped for long periods. In fact, chronic stress can sometimes cause the lack of a period for months (amenorrhea). High levels of stress can also trigger inflammation and more painful periods in the body. Overall, the more we can remove and properly support good stress management techniques, the more our cycles and hormones will thank us. 2. Medications If you find yourself asking why your menstrual cycle is getting longer or why your periods are getting heavier or longer, it can be worth looking at your medications and discussing this with your medical provider. Commonly used medications that can affect your menstrual cycle include: Hormonal birth control: this is one of the most common causes of irregular cycles. Though often, it is also suppressing ovulation as part of how it works to prevent pregnancy.Antidepressants: anti-depressants can lead to absent or infrequent periods with a longer cycle.Steroids: long-term use of steroid medications can make periods heavier and longer.Chemotherapy: certain cancer treatments can significantly affect the body, stress, and hormones or even lead to premature menopause and no periods (though this is not always a long-term effect). This is an in-depth discussion that should be had with your medical provider prior to starting chemotherapy. 3. Changes in Weight or Diet Our diet and weight are deeply tied to our hormonal health and our cycles. Strict or limited diets or those lacking in nutrients or calories can lead to PMS, painful periods, or non-ideal cycles. Not getting adequate calories or over-exercising are some of the main causes of amenorrhea because our body is under stress or not getting enough cholesterol or other nutrients necessary as the building blocks for healthy hormones. Similarly, taking diet pills or eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating can cause irregular or missed periods or other menstrual cycle disturbances. 4. Medical Conditions Some medical conditions can disrupt your hormones and menstrual cycles, and may have irregular menstruation as a symptom. For example: PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome): is a complex endocrine and hormonal disorder that often includes excess androgen (typically thought of as a male-related hormone) and/or insulin resistance, both of which affect the ovaries and adrenals and can lead to irregular periods.Thyroid disorder: hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) can both affect your period, causing them to become irregular or infrequent.Diabetes: similar to PCOS, because insulin is not working properly, we can see longer or irregular cycles. Know Your Cycles + Know Your Hormones The beauty of tracking our cycles and seeing if they are regular or not is that we can see the health of our hormones and know when we may need to seek further support. I personally love using Tempdrop for myself and my clients when looking to understand cycles and hormonal health because: It helps to show if cycles (ovulation, followed by a period) are regular.It gives us insight into other symptoms, which is helpful in addition to cycle data, especially when we are talking about PCOS or stress.It helps give us vital information about the health of our cycle phases so we can see if it would benefit us to have some additional holistic support or medical workup.
a doctor holding a model of the utensil in his hands
Health conditions5 Unusual Signs & Symptoms of PCOS You Should Look Out ForPCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is the most common endocrine disorder affecting ~7% of the female population during reproductive years. While PCOS used to be viewed as a gynecologic issue only involving the ovaries, it is now seen as a complex endocrine + metabolic condition. Despite the fact that the condition is called polycystic ovarian syndrome, you can have PCOS without cysts on your ovaries, and you can even have regular cycles but still have PCOS. How Is PCOS Diagnosed? So what are the key things we're looking for to diagnose PCOS? There are 3 international guidelines commonly used to diagnose PCOS. The Rotterdam criteria is what is most commonly used to diagnose PCOS, and requires patients to have 2 out of 3 of the following: Hyperandrogenism (high testosterone) in bloodwork or symptoms of high testosterone such as acne, male patterned hair loss, facial hairIrregular ovulation/irregular cyclesPolycystic ovaries (ovaries with numerous cysts) on ultrasound Again, you need just two of the three to be diagnosed with PCOS based on the Rotterdam criteria, but there are many others, and many consider the diagnosis to be a spectrum rather than a specific set of criteria. When we are looking for signs of PCOS in a child or adolescent, we want to be mindful that irregular cycles are common at the start of cycling years. Therefore, a diagnosis of PCOS should not be given to an adolescent until at least 2 years after starting menses. While you need to meet a specific set of criteria there can also be clues or hidden PCOS symptoms that may be helpful to look for in addition to charting your cycles. It is important to diagnose PCOS because then we can support hormones and the body in the specific way it needs in order to decrease long-term risks such as obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, infertility, pregnancy/birth complications, anxiety/depression, endometrial cancer, and more. 5 Surprising PCOS Symptoms 1. Mood Swings or Notable Mood Symptoms2. Sweet Cravings3. Gut Imbalances4. Elevated cholesterol5. Low vitamin D These 5 surprising signs or symptoms commonly seen in women, combined with at least one of the above Rotterdam criteria, mean you should further look into the possibility of being diagnosed with PCOS. 1. Mood Swings Irregular cycles or abnormally high testosterone are common manifestations of PCOS. Both of these findings can cause there to be more PCOS mood swings or mood symptoms. In fact, depression and emotional distress are commonly reported symptoms in those with PCOS. 2. Sweet Cravings PCOS often involves insulin resistance where our body is not properly responding to insulin, a hormone that helps control our blood sugar levels. While it is not fully understood why, many women with PCOS will have sweet cravings or binge eating behaviors that cause them to eat more carbs or sugars, which worsens the insulin and blood sugar picture. Insulin resistance is also known to cause more weight gain and difficulty losing weight. When PCOS is untreated or out of control we can see a vicious cycle between cravings, eating things that worsen blood sugars, and difficulty losing weight. 3. Gut Imbalances There is increasing research on how connected and important our gut is to our overall health. With PCOS, it is thought the gut could be tied to mood symptoms, eating patterns/cravings, obesity, inflammation, and maybe even insulin resistance. By looking at the health of the gut we may have great potential to improve the symptoms and risks associated with PCOS. 4. Elevated Cholesterol Women with PCOS tend to have abnormal lipid panels (cholesterol) on bloodwork compared to the average population. This too is thought to be related in part to the insulin-resistance. In addition to mood symptoms or irregular cycles, this may be a helpful clue to do a further workup to look into PCOS. 5. Low Vitamin D Levels Like the other more subtle or more surprising symptoms that may be linked to PCOS, it is worth considering vitamin D levels. Studies have shown supporting low vitamin D levels may improve insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and hormonal function in women with PCOS. Understanding PCOS Is Key to Alleviating Symptoms While PCOS is a complex disorder that involves numerous different signs and symptoms, the key is to seek support and speak to your doctor. This can help you improve your hormones and your symptoms to prevent long-term risks associated with PCOS. The above, unexpected, symptoms can be used in addition to criteria (like the Rotterdam criteria) to help you get a diagnosis and the treatment you deserve. Remember that your entire body works together and PCOS symptoms can be improved with the correct approach.