To get a detailed overview of charting, consider taking a FEMM course.
One of the most important things FEMM has to teach you is charting your cycle. Learning to chart is key to understanding your body. FEMM charting focuses on patterns of 4 major hormones that help you and your healthcare advisors understand your health: FSH, LH, estrogen and progesterone.
Charting will help you identify the unfolding signs and patterns of these hormones. Once you learn how to chart, you’ll be able to manage your health and symptoms more effectively, and will have the information you need to manage your fertility.
When charting, you want to observe three signs that will indicate the dominant hormone in your cycle:
- Bleeding or menstruation is the breaking down of the uterus as a result of declining hormone levels. This means that progesterone and estrogen levels are both low or falling. On the chart, this is marked as a red day. It is important to note the quantity and quality of your bleeding as follows:
- Brown Bleeding
- Cervical Fluid is an indicator of the estrogen levels in your body. Estrogen causes the cervix to produce increasingly fluid secretions. This sensation can be observed when swiping along tissue at the entrance of your vagina. You chart cervical mucus as either a light or dark blue, or yellow color depending on the quality of the mucus observed. Below are the qualities of the mucus you may observe:
- Moist sensation is a sign of rising estrogen levels. It is charted as a light blue color.
- Slippery mucus is an indicator that your estrogen levels are high or peaking and ovulation is approaching. This is marked on your chart as a dark blue color.
- Pasty mucus may be observed by some women. This can be normal due to cellular sloughing, or may indicate delayed ovulation or inflammation. This is charted with a yellow color.
- Dry feeling is usually observed after bleeding and following the observation of slippery mucus.. This dry feeling after bleeding is an indication of low hormonal activity, but this observation after ovulation is an indicator of rising or high progesterone levels. The number of dry days after ovulation indicates the sufficiency of progesterone levels, which affect both health and fertility (otherwise known as your luteal phase). Dry days are charted as a gray color.
Apart from these 3 basic signs, it is also important to note if you feel any physical symptoms such as cramps, headaches, or bloating, and emotional symptoms like mood swings, insomnia or crying spells. These could help your doctor or nurse identify possible health problems.
On the FEMM app, you can also take note of your medications. This is important because some medications can affect your hormones.