Why do TCM physicians ask patients to measure BBT for fertility treatments?
8 Sep 2022
By Physician Na Yi Ting
Basal Body Temperature, also known as BBT, is widely utilised by TCM physicians who focus on addressing fertility issues. They may request patients to measure their basal body temperature and present the chart every time they come for consultation.
Why do they do that? Is it important?
Three common things that your fertility physician observes from your BBT chart:
Whether your BBT is a dual-phase BBT chart
Duration of follicular phase
Presence of ovulation
Duration of Luteal phase
Let's say that you have presented your physician with this BBT chart above. How do we first interpret this?
Firstly, we look for the presence of the dual temperature phase in this chart. In this case we can see that there is a clear dual temperature phase and there is a distinct follicular and luteal phase.
The follicular phase is the period where your follicles are growing. The average duration of this phase is about 16 days, but varies between individuals.
Next, we look at the presence of ovulation. Ovulation occur before the luteal phase (the sustained increase in temperature in the chart). We can say that ovulation is likely to occur when the increase in temperature during this day is more than 0.3 degree celsius.
After you have ovulated, your basal body temperature will sustained at a higher temperature. This phase is known as the luteal phase. Average duration of a luteal phase is around 12-16 days. The luteal phase is the last stage of your menstrual cycle. It occurs after ovulation, when your ovaries release an egg, and before your period starts. During this time, the lining of your uterus normally gets thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy.
Why BBT charting?
BBT charting is one of the most economical way to allow your physician to have a rough idea of your menstruation cycle and ovulation pattern in your body. Coupling that with your lab test results allows your physician to know what might be the problem with your body condition. These include one's short follicular phase, lack of ovulation or one's inability to maintain the luteal phase long enough, suggesting that your hormones may be imbalanced. This allows your physician to have a better idea of your overall body condition and helps physicians to prescribe TCM medicine that caters to your own individual body based on what you may need.
It is important to note that BBT charting cannot substitute blood hormonal profiles which your physicians may recommend you to do to get a better idea of how is the level of these hormones such as AMH, E2, FSH,LH and progesterone. There are conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS), Lutenized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS), Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) which do require more than just BBT charting for physicians to diagnose these conditions and provide adequate TCM treatment. As such, your physician and genecology may still recommend blood hormonal tests, ultrasound scans and even follicular tracking to fully understand your uterine and ovarian condition.
Important Note: to get the best treatment out of TCM, do consult with a licensed TCM physician who is registered with TCM Practitioner's board and focuses on TCM fertility treatments.
So, how do you track your BTT?
We have come up with the a sheet for your BBT tracking. It contains tips on how do you measure your BBT and important pointers to note when taking your BBT. Simply click the Google sheets above or use this link to access our FREE BBT tracker.