Demystifying FAM: Using our Cycles for Insight on our Hormonal Health

The term "FAM" is short for Fertility Awareness Method and is an umbrella term I use to describe the daily practice of noticing and charting your body’s biomarkers.

Our biomarkers are what I call our body’s love notes and they are what our body uses to communicate our internal shifts with us in an external way. By tracking these scientifically proven messages from our bodies, FAM gives you a detailed understanding of your body, hormones, inner cycles, and fertility and allows you to decide how this is meaningful to YOU.

FAM can be a valuable tool to reach many goals, some of which may include: 

  • Improved body literacy
  • Monitoring hormones and holistic healing
  • Natural birth control
  • Conscious conception
  • Cycle syncing and cyclical living
  • Developing a deeper intuition, self-love and empowerment

There are actually numerous different fertility awareness methods that can help us understand our hormones, fertility, and internal rhythms. I personally use and teach the symptothermal method which includes daily tracking of your cervical fluid and basal body temperature, with the option to also track cervix positioning.

If you are totally new to the concept of fertility awareness I invite you to first check out a previous post of mine, What is FAM, or download my free ebook that walks you through how to get started with FAM. In this this three part blog series, I will to speak to you specifically about how you can use FAM to understand your hormones, and to either avoid or achieve pregnancy depending on your unique goals!

FAM and Hormonal Health

Hormones are the chemical messengers that help the various cells and organs in your body communicate with one another. This hormonal communication is what regulates our cycles and is essential for almost every function in your body including regulating metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, mood and more. 

Your menstrual cycles are a downstream reflection of your overall health! This means your body will always prioritize hormones and processes that are necessary for your survival over having regular, predictable menstrual cycles. So if you are stressed or other processes upstream from your cycles are needing attention, your cycle will be the first one to alert you about potential whole body imbalances! 

What’s beautiful about understanding this is that you can begin to see your cycle as a loving alarm system, alerting you that something in your body is needing more attention. In fact, there are many health concerns and conditions that can be identified in tracking your cycle including: endometriosis, thyroid disease, PCOS, PMS, painful periods, heavy or extremely light periods, irregular bleeding, irregular cycles, short luteal phases, potential hormonal imbalances, potential gut issues, and more! And many of these can be significantly improved by holistic health approaches including diet, lifestyle, mindset, and herbs/supplements.

While there are many things that can negatively impact our hormones, here are the most common causes I see in my practice:

  • Hormonal birth control! The number one endocrine disruptor out there.
  • Stress and not having healthy outlets to release it like meditation, journaling, therapy, movement, or getting outside.
  • Diet or nutrient deficiencies - especially a lack of protein, healthy fats, and variety in the diet.
  • Poor gut health or gut imbalances. Our gut is key for digestion and absorption of all the healthy food and supplements we take and is responsible for ridding toxins from our body. It is the epicenter of our hormonal health and SO much more! If the gut is out of balance our entire system feels it. Gut microbiome testing is so helpful if you suspect your gut is off.
  • Lack of physical activity or movement, but this can also come from over-exercising or under-nourishing.
  • Inadequate or poor sleep, or a bedtime routine that includes a lot of screen time.
  • Toxins (again, those endocrine disruptors!) - especially skincare products and those in/added to our food or water supply.
  • Disconnect from nature and our natural rhythms, including lack of time outside and too much screen time and EMF exposure.

When you want to better understand your hormonal health, to know if you're having regular ovulation, healthy hormonal patterns, or if your body is asking for support, using fertility awareness and tracking your cycles is the MOST helpful tool you can use! 

Hormone testing gives you a snapshot of where you are or when patterns aren't clear based on your charting, which can be helpful to start making shifts. However, your body gives you real time, in the moment, ongoing, accurate data! Your cycle patterns, menses (bleed), cervical fluid, cervix positioning, and basal body temperature are so rich in data.

What ARE you looking for in terms of hormonal health and what additional insights can FAM give you? 

An average and healthy menstrual cycle should reveal the following patterns:

  • Regular intervals with confirmed ovulation
  • 24-36 days total, but not fluctuating more than 2-3 days from cycle to cycle
  • 2-7 day bleed (for some a two day bleed is not sufficient estrogen)
  • 11-20 day follicular phase (from the time you start your period until you ovulate)
  • 2-7 days of fertile cervical fluid 
  • 12-16 day luteal phase (the time after ovulation until our next bleed)
  • Minimal to no pain or PMS

By using FAM we can also use our cycles for the following insights:

  • Our bleeds are a reflection of adequate hormone levels in the previous cycle. Our estrogen builds our uterine lining and progesterone stabilizes it.
  • Our cervical fluid and cervix positioning reflect fluctuating hormone levels and help us to confirm ovulation and gain insight into our estrogen and progesterone.
  • Our basal body temperature when sustained and elevated (and compared with cervical fluid) helps us to confirm ovulation and assess if we have adequate progesterone and an adequate luteal phase.
  • When we start seeing notable or bothersome things such as pain, spotting, breast tenderness, mood shifts, decreased energy or libido, bloating, headaches, acne, etc. this can be an invitation to consider if there are hormonal imbalances that need to be addressed.

If I have learned one thing in my years of my own health journey and with the hundreds of women I’ve supported, it’s this - your body is SO WISE! If your body is whispering to you, showing you unhealthy patterns, asking you for support… Please listen to her! 

As you chart your cycles I invite you to ask, from a space of curiosity and never judgment: “Am I seeing healthy patterns and the key love notes that tell me my hormones and health are aligned?” or “Am I seeing my body speak to me and invite me to further curiosity and action?”

If you’re looking for further support or to better understand your cycles or balance your hormones, I invite you to check out my comprehensive fertility awareness/cycle charting course or my full offerings which include fertility awareness, cycle syncing, holistic hormone and gut care, and Human Design. Or, set up a free clarity call to learn more about the ways we can work together to support your hormonal health and body harmony. You can find additional beautiful resources for hormone healthy living on my blog, Instagram, or Facebook.

Dr. Mona Wiggins is a passionate soul, 3/5 emotional Manifestor, doctor of nursing practice with over 16 years of medical training, fertility awareness educator, and Human Design chart reader. Throughout her offerings she blends her experience + expertise in eastern and western medicine and the Human Design system to offer YOU a deeply holistic experience that honors both science + Source (our womb, Mother Earth, and Spirit). Her purpose + passion in this life is to guide her fellow womb holders in healing + re-discovering their sovereignty and Divine Feminine wisdom through cycle charting, holistic medicine, and Human Design so that together we can live a life FULL of power, presence, + expansion.

The content provided in this article(s) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Neither Carson Meyer nor C & The Moon LLC are liable for claims arising from the use of or reliance on information contained in this article.