Understanding your BBT

P. S: Your BBT does not ONLY tell you about ovulation.

By Physician Amanda Chua

6th June 2022

Do you know that learning to read your BBT chart can give you incredible information about your health? 

Let’s take a look at the basis of how to read your own BBT charts!

1) Short follicular phase

We consider a follicular phase short if it is less than 10 days. The follicular phase tends to shorten as the ovarian reserve decreases. Ovulation is provoked prematurely, which in most instances leads to shortened menstrual cycles. If your follicular phases have been shortening consistently, speak to your gynaecologist and  consider doing some blood test to check your ovarian reserve.

In TCM, a short follicular phase typically indicates Kidney Yin deficiency with heat. Other symptoms include insomnia, anxiety and hot flushes. 

We would normally prescribe herbs that nourishes the Yin and blood, such as Radix Rehmanniae Preparata (熟地黄), Chinese yam (淮山药)and Wolf berry (枸杞子), to women with short follicular phases. 

We would also advise them to relax and eat more leafy vegetables and seeds. Leafy vegetables and seeds such as spinach, broccoli and sunflower seeds contain high levels of iron, folate and vitamin E! These nutrients are crucial for the development of healthy follicle

2) Short luteal phase

The ideal length for luteal phase is 12-14 days. A luteal phase of about 8-10 days, it is considered short! A short luteal phase indicates that your body is not secreting sufficient progesterone to properly develop and sustain the uterine lining for the implantation of a embryo. Spotting before the beginning of your period may be a sign that your progesterone levels are lower than desirable

According to TCM, a short luteal phase is an indication of Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiency. Other symptoms include, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, lower abdominal bloatedness and water retention

Herbs that nourish the Kidney and Spleen Yang are Codonopsis root(党参), Eucommia bark (杜仲) and Semen Cuscutae (菟丝子). We encourage women with short luteal phase to avoid cold beverages and raw foods such as salads and sashimi! They can also place herb pouches filled with Mugwort (艾草) at their lower abdomen for  15-20 mins daily. (link to our shop)

3) Slope rising pattern

The BBT surge that signifies ovulation should be a prominent one – around ~0.3 degrees over the course of 1 day.  In a slope rising pattern, the BBT rises more gently over a few days rather than abruptly. This could be an indication that your body responds slowly to the increase in progesterone levels.

A slope rising pattern in your BBT chart is an indication of Qi and blood stagnation.  Qi and blood stagnation impede timely ovulation, making the actual day of ovulation more challenging to pinpoint. Other symptoms of Qi and blood stagnation include, anxiety, mid-cycle lower abdominal bloating, pre-menstrual breast tenderness and headaches. Commonly used herbs to improve Qi and blood flow are rose (玫瑰花) and silktree flowers (合欢花). Women with Qi and blood stagnation are encouraged to do moderate aerobic exercises and sleep before 11pm.

It may be hard to read into your BBT chart when you first started it. 

But do not fret, discuss your BBT with your friendly TCM physician to know more about the characteristics of your BBT chart and how you can improve it!