The menstrual cycle, the period, the time of the month, the 4 seasons, whatever you call it can be an absolute rollercoaster for some and a breeze for others. Everyone’s experience is different.
In my teenage years, I thought tracking the cycle was just for people who were thinking about starting a family and I know many people still think that.
I never thought so many years down the line I’d be doing the exact same, just to become more in tune with my body (yes so many years ). Whilst I may be slightly biassed towards tracking the cycle as it has worked well for me. I want to give you a few reasons to do so, that I promise will relate to you in some sort of way.
Why you should track your menstrual cycle?
Keeping track of your period helps you learn more about its frequency and length. Whilst the global average cycle length is 28 days, it's not actually the case for everyone. If you are aware of your cycle, you will naturally feel more in control, conscious of your next ovulation and less likely to be surprised by your next period.
Your menstrual cycle is a good indicator of your overall health. Changes or irregularities in your menstrual cycle may be an indication of a potential changes in health (which may not necessarily be related to your reproductive organs), medications, stressors, the menopause, pregnancy, and the list could go on. You will be able to recall these changes or symptoms that you might otherwise forget when speaking with your healthcare provider.
I often get clients suddenly putting themselves down, feeling neggy, demotivated, bloated and they can’t work out why when they’ve worked so so hard. Once we look into what's going on, we realise they are due in the following week and PMS is hitting hard! So, tracking can help to see patterns in mood changes and you can prepare yourself for what is coming next.
It's not just about PMS though. Hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle have been suggested to cause changes in mood like irritability, anxiety, or feeling more affectionate. Learning when these changes happen can be another piece of information to help understand the rhythm of your cycle.
You can plan your nutrition and physical activity around each week of the cycle, as your needs and requirements will change depending on where you are in your cycle. Some weeks you’ll be hitting PBs and feeling more motivated than ever, and some weeks you may find yourself needing a little extra energy and slowing down a bit.
Tracking your feelings and symptoms through the cycle can tell you a lot about your individual sex drive. You will be able to notice patterns in your cycle, you may see (around ovulation) a spike in sexual desire. Sex is healthy, so being aware of your sexual activity by tracking is a great way to know when you might feel the most desire (or when your really not fancying it).
How to track your menstrual cycle?
To track your period you can use a variety of methods both old-school and digital. No method is necessarily better than the other, as long as it works for you and you can keep it up.
Here are some ways to keep tabs on your flow:
Use a calendar to mark the start and end dates of your period
Write the dates down in a notebook
Keep a record in the notes app of your phone
Use a period tracking app
In addition to tracking the start and end dates of your period, you may also want to take note of other symptoms and when they occur, including:
The severity of the bleed, menstrual flow,
How long the bleed is for (start date and finish),
Physical symptoms, like fatigue, headaches, cramping, and bloating,
Moods, which may change throughout the weeks,
Consistency of your vaginal discharge, like if it's watery, thick, or sticky.
After about three or four months of tracking your period and symptoms, you may start to notice patterns that can help you predict the timing of your next menstruation.
Free Useful Cycle Tracking Apps:
Using an app can make it all so much easier, do the work for you, set reminders, and have it all at your fingertips.
iphone Health App
Period Tracker Lite
There are so many more, each with their own pros and cons.
The takeaway message…
Being in tune with your body and understanding the different hormones involved in menstruation can help you navigate your monthly cycle better, empower yourself and completely understand your body.
If you need further help in how to plan your nutrition and exercise around your menstrual cycle or what this would look like, message me today!
Thank you for reading,