Frequently Asked Questions
What is FEMM?
FEMM is a comprehensive women’s health program that teaches women to understand their bodies, and hormonal and other vital signs of health. FEMM recognizes that the health of a woman’s monthly cycle is an important cornerstone of her overall health. Through education, FEMM empowers women to identify signs of health or potential issues so that they may seek the treatment they need as early as possible. Through its medical management programs, FEMM provides accurate testing and treatment based on new research and medical protocols.
What makes FEMM different from conventional medical management for women?
FEMM understands the central role of reproductive endocrinology in the management of women’s health. Additionally, FEMM provides women with the necessary information to work with their doctors to make informed decisions about their health care. FEMM physicians are uniquely equipped to use the data FEMM users provide in order to better treat issues like irregular bleeding, pain, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, infertility, menopause, thyroid dysfunction, migraines, depression, weight gain, and acne.
What programs does FEMM offer?
FEMM Education provides instruction to women who would like to learn more about their bodies and health, to people interested in becoming FEMM teachers and others, and to medical personnel interested in incorporating FEMM and its protocols into their practice.
FEMM has a health app that provides an easy platform for women to track their health, and to avoid or achieve pregnancy.
FEMM Medical Management provides general wellness checks to women at FEMM clinics and by FEMM-trained affiliated physicians. FEMM Medical Protocols assess over 10 hormones, a woman’s clinical history and cycle data in order to diagnose and treat the underlying causes of symptoms associated with infertility, menopause, thyroid dysfunction, migraine headaches, depression, weight gain and acne.
What is charting?
Charting refers to the practice of observing daily biomarkers associated with hormonal activity and noting them on a chart. Women who chart may also indicate when they experience PMS symptoms, headaches and other issues so that they can observe patterns and connections to their hormonal health or potential hormone imbalances. Paper charts have traditionally been used, however the FEMM app makes it easy for you to keep all of your data in one place.
What is cervical fluid?
Cervical fluid is a mucus produced by the cervix, which sits at the bottom of a woman’s uterus (womb), and connects it to the top of her vagina. As estrogen rises, cervical fluid increases and becomes slippery and actually changes its structure so that sperm can swim through it up through the cervix, into the uterus and eventually into the fallopian tubes. Fertile cervical fluid helps to protect and feed the sperm. Infertile cervical fluid is inhospitable to sperm and hinders its ability to swim up the vagina and through the cervix.
How do I check my cervical fluid?
Cervical fluid is sensed throughout the day as you run a tissue over the entrance to the vagina when going to the bathroom. The slippery or moist sensation that it provides is clear and tracking it can help to indicate your hormonal patterns.
What is normal hormonal behavior in women?
FEMM provides a range of normal for every woman to know, in order to better equip women to manage their health. Within this range of normal every woman will have her own unique pattern. A healthy cycle is ovulatory and between 24-36 days long. FEMM helps women to monitor their health by charting their cycle and understanding the signs that it provides to them.
Are there other ways of checking for sufficient hormone levels regularly other than blood tests? Are there home tests?
Charting provides the easiest and least invasive method to observe estrogen and progesterone patterns, which in turn provides evidence of healthy follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteneizing hormone (LH) levels. If charting indicates that any of these hormones may be out of balance, a blood test is suggested in order to identify the primary hormonal disturbance (which is almost never estrogen or progesterone).
I often experience symptoms during my period, how do I determine what is normal and what needs to be checked?
PMS and extreme menstrual discomfort should not play a role in a healthy cycle. That said, natural hormone fluctuations do affect women’s moods and energy levels. Charting any symptoms you experience alongside your cycle indicators can help you recognize patterns that are normal for you. However, if you experience PMS, intense mood swings, debilitating cramps, etc. on a regular basis, then this could indicate a hormonal imbalance or other issue.
I am currently trying to determine the exact day I ovulate, and according to information provided by FEMM, LH surges about a day before ovulation. The kit I use says it could be two days before ovulation. So is it one or two days?
LH rises to a plateau that can last for 24-36 hours. Identification of ovulation through charting observations is always approximate.
How do I know if my period is normal or irregular? I’ve heard both that it is normal to have irregular periods and that irregular periods could indicate a problem?
A healthy cycle is one in which ovulation occurs and is 24-36 days long. Having more than two consecutive cycles that do not meet these requirements is a reason to seek medical advice. Within this range of normal, women’s cycles can vary, which is why charting can be so important to establish what is normal for you.The length and bleeding pattern of your period is also an important health indicator that FEMM helps women to track.
I’m on hormonal birth control to manage my irregular cycles,is that good?
80% of women with irregular cycles have an underlying hormonal imbalance. Birth control pills disrupt or suppress natural hormone production and cycle health and do not address the underlying hormonal imbalance. FEMM recommends and can help in diagnosing and treating the underlying cause of the hormonal imbalance in order to restore a healthy cycle.
My cycles have always been consistent in length, but this month my period was a week late. Is that normal? Should I worry?
Delayed ovulation can occur if you experienced acute stress, an illness, or other lifestyle change prior to ovulation. This delay in ovulation would result in a longer-than-average cycle. However, consistent delayed ovulation may indicate a health issue, so FEMM recommends charting your cycles. If you experience two or more irregular cycles in a row, consult a FEMM medical provider.
When should I see a physician/gynecologist for mood changes?
See you doctor when mood changes are frequent and severe. We recommend that you chart your mood changes along with your cycle biomarkers. This information will help a FEMM physician to note any pattern that may indicate a hormonal issue.
I have not been able to get pregnant after going off of birth control pills. Is this normal?
The average time it takes for a woman’s fertility to return to normal is about six months, and depends on the type of hormonal contraceptive used, age at first use and duration of use, as well as a woman’s individual biology. That said, FEMM recommends that you see a FEMM physician if your cycles do not normalize (are not ovulatory) within 3 months to make sure that you are on track to regain healthy cycles and fertility.
Can FEMM help with depression?
Depression can be related to hormone-imbalances and FEMM protocols can help to diagnose and address this. FEMM may also work with a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist to ensure that the best integrated care is provided to you.
Can FEMM help with acne?
Yes, acne is often a result of hormonal imbalance. FEMM has an acne protocol and can help to correct this imbalance at its root.
Can FEMM help with endometriosis?
Yes, FEMM can help to diagnose and treat endometriosis.
Can FEMM help with PCOS?
Yes, FEMM can help to diagnose and treat PCOS. PCOS is often linked to multiple hormone dysfunctions which FEMM can identify clearly and sensitively. Identifying the underlying and primary hormonal disturbance is critical to getting an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Can FEMM be used for family planning?
Yes, women can use the biomarkers they track using FEMM to accurately manage the fertile window of their current cycle. In addition, by correcting hormonal imbalances, FEMM can help to make family planning easier and more accurate, by first restoring the woman’s cycle to health and reducing cycle irregularity.
Can FEMM help me with menopause symptoms?
FEMM has specific menopause protocols which are highly effective. Because menopause is a time of hormonal fluctuation, FEMM is uniquely situated to identify a clear diagnosis and provide effective treatment.
Can FEMM help with obesity?
Yes. Leptin is a hormone that is critical to managing weight and that interacts with the other hormones of the cycle. In addition, fat cells produce estrogen, so this condition can influence all the other hormones in the cycle.
Does FEMM provide nutritional support?
FEMM provides a strong focus on nutrition, along with exercise and sleep. Adopting healthy lifestyles is critical to overall health and hormonal health, and collaboration with a nutritionist can be an important part of successful FEMM treatment.
Does FEMM provide prenatal care?
FEMM provides prenatal care, particularly since the best prenatal care is getting yourself healthy! FEMM can provide pregnancy confirmation and early prenatal support to the mother, but does not offer obstetrical services.
Does FEMM provide lactation consultants?
FEMM encourages women to reach out to receive the support they need when breastfeeding. We do not provide lactational consultants on staff but are always ready to work with the health care providers and consultants each patient needs.
What support does FEMM provide breastfeeding mothers who are trying to avoid pregnancy?
FEMM provides charting support for breastfeeding mothers in order to help them understand and manage confusing cycles. Knowing the physiology and understanding the changes that your body is going through can help to make sense of difficult data at this time. In addition, our FEMM medical doctors can provide hormonal support by examining and monitoring existing and returning cycle function.