Are you interested in learning more about your menstrual cycle & hormone health but are not quite as intrigued by the fertility piece?
Perhaps you don’t have plans for offspring into the future, or maybe you’ve had your fair share of kiddos already ~ either way, your decision is valid and I'm not here to convince you otherwise.
Rather, I would like to add a twist to the perspective that may very well convince you that your fertility matters - even if you don’t want babies.
Why Your Fertility Matters
As a reproductive health specialist, I do a lot of work with women on not only their fertility but also with their menstrual cycle health & hormone balance.
That’s because when we’re looking at the bigger picture of these topics, they are not separate! They are indeed one and the same.
The truth is, your menstrual health is a direct reflection of your fertility, and often vise versa…
If you experience menstrual symptoms like period cramps, PMS, digestive upset (hello period shits!), breast tenderness, and/or hormonal acne, you are likely suffering from a hormone imbalance.
Similarly, fertility issues are usually caused by hormone imbalances as well.
Benefits to Ovulation Beyond Baby Making
When evaluating our fertility, we need to consider the health of our ovulatory function - that is, how/when/if we are ovulating.
Why is this so important? With ovulation, comes the production of the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland that produces the very important sex hormone, Progesterone.
Progesterone is considered a feel-good hormone, as it has a sedative effect on the nervous system & brain, making you feel happy, content & sleepy during the 2nd half of your cycle.
Without enough Progesterone, it can lead to the onset of PMS symptoms, cycle irregularities, heavy periods, menstrual migraines & breast tenderness as well as difficulty getting & staying pregnant.
Thanks to Progesterone, you can enjoy the 2nd half of your cycle instead of getting sucked into the PMS swamp of depression, anxiety, bloat & acne worse than puberty. (Believe me when I say that you want this hormone on your side!)
A healthy period proceeds healthy ovulation ~ thus, you need to have optimized fertility to have healthy periods!
What’s the point in ovulating & having a period if you aren't interested in having kids?
There are many, many benefits of ovulation & periods beyond making babies including brain health, sleep regulation, bone density, heart health, breast health, and more!
When it comes to the menstrual cycle, ovulation is the main event.
The entire reason we have a menstrual bleed is BECAUSE of ovulation! Without ovulation, it can result in irregular cycles or even the loss of your period entirely.
To add to this, a bleed on hormonal birth control is not technically a true period, as HBC shuts off ovulation, resulting in what’s technically called a ‘withdrawal bleed’. This happens due to the withdraw of synthetic hormones that is designed into the pill. Click here to read more about the problems associated with hormonal birth control.
Here are 6 benefits of ovulation that have virtually nothing to do with making babies:
As you can see, there are many benefits to optimizing your fertility that have absolutely nothing to do with reproduction. Although it may be tempting to cease cycles entirely through the usage of hormonal birth control, I also want to note that the synthetic hormones found in birth control are NOT the same as natural Estrogen & Progesterone, thus, they cannot and do not have the same beneficial effects listed above.
To reap the benefits of ovulation & your sex hormones, you must be cycling naturally (without hormonal contraceptives).
However, with that being said, many are afraid to come off of birth control out of fear of recurring cycle symptoms or unwanted pregnancy - if this is you, I totally get it.
The thing we have to remember is that the menstrual cycle is malleable. You can improve your cyclical health (and fertility) through simple dietary & lifestyle adjustments.
Beyond that, there are also ways in which you can avoid pregnancy naturally without the use of hormonal birth control by practicing the Fertility Awareness Method (can be 98% effective when used perfectly!) Click here to read more about FAM.
Fertility & ovulation is a completely natural and important biological process that happens for a reason. The many benefits of ovulation beyond conception that have been listed in this article are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full spectrum of benefits that having healthy fertility can provide.
I hope that this thoughtful twist to the perspective has convinced you, or at least helped you to consider that your fertility matters - even if you don’t want babies.
Article sources available upon request
Ashe Milkovic, NTP is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Womxn's Health Specialist & Hormone Expert focusing in the field of womxn's reproductive health.