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| ||~The Physiology of Fertility~ |
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Second to the brain, the female reproductive system is one of the most important and biologically complex parts of human structure, either female or male. It must be so, since the whole survival of our species is dependent upon the progeny born of those organs. The function of the womb, with all its interconnecting systems, involves so many variable factors which govern the eventual outcomes of our reproduction efforts. Our reproductive organs respond not only to their innate genetic programming, but are subtly modulated by our thoughts and feelings as well as many external factors such as diet, climate, stress, the pheromones of men (and other women) around us, sleep patterns, sexual relations, illness and drug use – even the moon in the sky! Is it any wonder that women experience irregularities or serious problems in this area at least some time in their lives?
Whilst many women might know the basics about their reproductive system from school lessons, or bits they have picked up from medical consultations along the way, I don’t believe too many have actually utilised that knowledge to their best advantage. Like many things, we just grin and bear it, get on with the work at hand and subconsciously accept it as “our lot in life”, “the curse” as it is (only sometimes jokingly) called. However, what one woman may understand to be “normal” for herself, and which may frequently be called “common” by the medical fraternity, may in fact be quite abnormal when viewed from the perspective of an ideal and naturally functioning reproductive system. My discussions with many female yoga students indicate that this is so. They may initially only come to classes for basic health exercises, but after a few weeks they reveal a multitude of frustrating menstrual / fertility problems.
Figure 9 on page 93 shows the cyclical rise and fall of the hormones and events of a woman’s fertility cycle while Figure 8 and Figure 7 show the basic anatomy of the female reproductive system.
According to my preferred lunar and fertility model, it starts each cycle with the regeneration of the womb (increase in fertility), rather than its breakdown (first day of bleeding). There are no day numbers nor vertical scales, to allow for
the relative length and strength of each woman’s cycle.
Conventionally, the first day of bleeding is called the first day of the menstrual cycle. In a healthy woman, for 4 - 5 days, the uterus sheds the endometrium. This inner lining breaks down and discharges through the vagina because the pregnancy-indicating hormone progesterone is not present in the womb to create the environment for embryo development. This is how we can deduce that bleeding shows we are definitely not pregnant.
The rate and duration of menstrual flow varies greatly from woman to woman, from period to period, and from day to day depending on many factors including age, stress, diet, and of course the health of her reproductive system.
Pre-Ovulation or Follicular Phase
When menstruation is over, there is a gradual build up of the hormone oestrogen in the blood stream which creates the environment in the uterus most suitable for supporting a fertilised ovum (egg), should sex occur during the coming fertile time. During this time one or sometimes two eggs are ripening in the ovaries, awaiting release (ovulation) into the fallopian tubes. Ovulation itself is caused by the release of the lutenising hormone from the pituitary gland in response to this increase in oestrogen.
The pituitary gland is the master gland in the brain which, amongst other things, controls the timing of the female reproductive cycle. Its function is known to be affected by many factors such as stress, diet, sleep patterns, artificial lighting, illness, sexual activity, toxic smells, some medicinal as well as recreational drugs, other people’s hormones, daily routines, strange or threatening environments, jet lag, changes in weight, television (the electromagnetic radiations and probably all the bad programs as well), computer screens and many more unnatural products and activities. All such things can disturb the functioning of the pituitary gland as to cause a delay in ovulation. This lengthens this phase of the cycle thereby causing a longer overall cycle.
Some of those lifestyle factors can stimulate the pituitary gland into an early release of the egg thereby shortening the cycle. As a result of these many influences, this pre-ovulatory phase can vary anywhere from 7 - 21 days after the 1st day of bleeding begins. The usual length is considered to be 14 - 15 days, leading to the average monthly cycle of 29.5 days.