How to Listen to Your Body in A Digital Age- My Lotus Fertility Monitor review
I’m a huge advocate of body knowledge, but let’s be real, we live in a time where information and digital products abound. Listening to the body’s wisdom takes time, embodied knowledge and trust. There’s a place for combining the intuitive nature of the body with data. More on this later.
Why Cycle Awareness Matters
We all have bodies, yet we are taught so little about how our bodies function. This lack of knowledge is disempowering and can leave us vulnerable.
It’s encouraging to see that more women are practising cycle awareness and listening to their unique monthly rhythms. When you become aware of how different you are during your monthly cycle, you can tailor your habits accordingly. Simple changes include more rest when you are about to bleed, or scheduling in social activities around ovulation if this tends to be when you feel most shiny and bright. Cycle awareness has been practiced for both trying to conceive and for avoiding pregnancy for decades. Digital apps and wearable technology have brought around a new wave of avid trackers.
If you’d like to learn more about cycle awareness, check out Period Power by Maisie Hill. And other books on this link .
For many women trying to conceive, it can be overwhelming to try and follow all the body signs of fertility.
If you’re trying to track your cycle for natural fertility, you might be using any combination of tools such as your taking your daily temperature, observing cervical mucous, using a fertility app and ovulation sticks to find your fertile times. There can be flaws with each of these things on their own. Temperature for example isn’t always reliable, e.g for someone who has thyroid issues. And it’s not always easy to decipher the qualities of mucous and whether it’s ‘egg-white like’ or watery. Apps have limited success because they are based on a logarithm rather than personalised data. (Not to mention that some companies have been involved with selling the data from the apps).
My experience with the My Lotus Monitor
The kind people at My Lotus gave me a monitor to trial. The My Lotus monitor is an interesting approach. It’s a system of an app on the phone, as well as a monitor you can use to test ovulation (LH) and pregnancy hormones (HCG). The free app can be used on its own if you just wanted a cycle app. Starting from £149, it’s not a cheap product, but there’s a lot of aftercare that goes alongside to help you to understand your cycle. They’ve recently introduced a ‘pay monthly’ option to make it more economical.
The monitor is a little unit that charges with a USB cable or conventional plug, that you insert the sticks into. At first the monitor seems a little complicated to use as there are lots of little steps to take. You pee into a pot , and use a pipette to drop some urine onto an LH stick, which is inserted into the monitor. It takes 10 minutes to get a recording, so this is a good thing to do before jumping into the shower or having breakfast. The monitor then gives you a numerical value for your LH levels, as well as a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ symbol. There’s a lot of clear information that comes with the monitor so you soon learn to follow the steps correctly, e.g. using pressing the right button quickly enough to get the test started.
The LH sticks are used daily from around day 8 of the cycle. You get a numerical value for your baseline ovulation, rather than just a positive or negative sign that most ovulation sticks give. So this can be a good option even if ovulation sticks haven’t seemed to work for you in the past.
Following my Cycle
I followed my cycle for 3 months using My Lotus. I tend to have a 26- 27 day cycle, but it has been longer and shorter in recent months. In month 1, I had a 24 day cycle and the monitor showed ovulation at day 11. (This is noteworthy as not all women have a 28 day cycle, nor do all women ovulate on day 24). In month 2, I had a 26 day cycle. I’m unsure what happened this month as I definitely saw a rise from my baseline of 6 to 22, but apparently because this figure is under 25, it still reads as negative regarding ovulation. In month 3 I had a 25 day cycle, with ovulation on day 13.
It was interesting to see the variation in when I had my LH surge, and having a monitor to use at home was so convenient.
Thoughts on the product
I met with Tamsin from My Lotus and was pleased to hear her vision for what the company are trying to do. There’s a lot of customer support to help to interpret the data and understand what it means practically, as well as lots of research studies currently underway.
I can see how the monitor could be used alongside some fertility treatments such as IUI (intra-uterine insemination) so that the procedure is well-timed. In this case, there is also monitoring with internal ultrasounds to monitor the development of the follicle and ensure the lining of the uterus is thick enough (to help a potential fertilised egg to implant well), but having a more sophisticated tool rather than a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ results is useful.
It could also be a good option for women who want to understand more about their cycle, or are working on resolving menstrual issues such as irregular periods or short second-half of the cycle. Or for women who may at some point want to have family, but in the meantime want to be in tune with their cycle.
It’s a great device for women to record data about their own cycles. We don’t all have the same monthly rhythm, and ovulation can vary month to month (as was clear during my 3-month trial).
Armed, with this information, women could be working well with their women’s health practitioners. For example, many women already see an acupuncturist or women’s health osteopath or naturopath. Using a monitor could help the practitioner to have data in addition to subjective information such as emotional changes and breast tenderness.
‘Fem tech’ is expected to be a $50 billion industry by 2025 and it’s great to see the innovation that is going in to this field, especially when there’s a strong focus on the customer like there is for My Lotus. In my opinion it’s a great product for combining data with the clues of your body.