In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), every symptom and vital statistic your body presents has clinical value. This means that the colour of your tongue, the speed of your pulse, the odour of your breath, including your Basal Body Temperature (BBT), among other clinical assessments, are crucial in a TCM diagnosis to come up with a fertility treatment plan. BBT is done by taking your temperature in the morning using an oral thermometer and recording it in a chart before you start your daily routine. TCM practitioners use this as part of fertility tracking to aid couples in the natural process of conception.
One thing to remember about BBT charting is that it is not a stand-alone treatment for infertility, or even as a contraception method. It must be synced with your other fertility treatments so that it can provide information that may address the deficiencies and imbalances in your body that hinder your chances of getting pregnant.
This article will help you understand what is BBT, the limitations of using BBT for fertility prediction, how TCM interprets your BBT.
What is BBT?
Basal Body Temperature is the way you take your temperature when you are at rest. Usually, it is taken immediately after waking up since it is the time when you can get an accurate reading of your body temperature. Monitoring or charting BBT was first identified in the 1930s by proponents of the rhythm method of birth control. Today, it is what TCM practitioners do to diagnose infertility and amenorrhea since it shows that consistent low body temperature is an indicator of weak reproductive health. However, the data collected in your BBT chart can be used as an advantage as well because it will serve as a determining factor on what changes in your lifestyle must be done with the guidance of your practitioner.
The Limitations of BBT
Your BBT can be influenced by many factors that could make one or two readings inaccurate. Some of these factors are:
- Sudden illness or fever
- Interrupted sleep cycles (undersleeping and oversleeping)
- Time zone differences due to travelling
- Gynaecological disorders
- Intake of specific medications
Due to these factors, the use of BBT charting would be more accurate for women who could maintain a steady daily routine. This does not mean that you should give up on the whole idea of BBT charting since practitioners of TCM fertility in Singapore will still monitor your reproductive and general health symptoms timed with your menstrual cycle!
BBT in the TCM Lenses
The core principle of TCM for fertility is to restore the balance of Qi energy in your body. TCM physicians often ask women with fertility issues to map their BBT using a fertility app or on paper.
By charting their daily temperature, BBT acts as simple and useful tool to understand many aspects of themselves as individuals and allow the TCM physician to pinpoint specific imbalances at different stages of their menstrual cycle.
Through analysing the charts together with hormonal blood test results, the cause for menstrual and fertility issues may be found. Gaining new information from BBT not only is a great way for women to be self-aware of what is going on with their body, it can also help physicians with TCM diagnosis.
Here are some key indicators of each phase of a 28 days menstrual cycle that you should know:
- Follicular Phase (Day 1 to 13)
The first phase begins on the first day of your period and is when your follicles develop. At this phase, your BBT should drop to its base level of about 36.2 to 36.5 degree celsius. Thus, you will see that this level is low and steady due to the dominance of estrogen hormones. TCM recommends eating yin and blood nourishing foods, getting enough rest, and taking your herbs will help to set up a healthier and warmer second half of your cycle.If your follicular phase temperature is too low, this may be a sign of Kidney Yang deficiency. Whereas temperature that is too high may indicate internal heat that needs to be cleared. This may be present in cases of endometriosis. On the other hand, if your follicular phase is too long or short, this may be due to Kidney Yin deficiency.
- Ovulation (Day 14)
When you ovulate, you would expect an increase in temperature of approximately 0.3-1 degree celsius. It is the most important phase in your menstrual cycle because it is when you are most fertile, thus you must prioritise relaxation or consider acupuncture. It will help keep the steadiness of your high BBT, so there would be a higher success rate in conceiving.Ovulation is when the Yin turns to Yang. Without sufficient Yang energy, the egg might not be able to come out of its follicle hence may lead to anovulation or late ovulation.
- Luteal Phase (Day 15 to 28)
The second phase is when the egg travels down the fallopian tube and the process of fertilisation may occur. You will observe that your BBT is high and steady because progesterone is the dominant hormone in preparation for potential implantation As Yang energy predominates the second phase, low temperature or short luteal phase can be a sign of Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiency. Often there are other constitutional symptoms such as sensitivity to cold, tiredness and water retention.
If your temperature stays up beyond 16 days, then it is a sign that you are probably pregnant!
What to Do to Warm a Uterus?
For an embryo to embed and thrive, the lining of the uterus needs sufficient blood supply from all the capillaries that feed into it. A woman who has a warm womb has great blood flow compared to a cold one that constricts the capillaries that could nurture a rich blood supply to optimise fertility. To have a warm womb, you have to:
- Avoid consuming raw-cold foods
- Stop drinking cold beverages
- Take time to cook your food thoroughly
- Choose herbal tea
- Add spice to your food
Infertility Treatment at Thomson Chinese Medicine
The TCM Physicians at Thomson Chinese Medicine will use diagnostics, acupuncture for fertility, herbal medicine, and nutrition advice to treat your infertility. Book a consultation for an in-depth discussion and learn how you can optimise your menstrual cycle using BBT.
Book a consultation today to get started!