For a long time, I tried to ignore my period away. Tried to block it out until every month, of course, it showed up again. And it always chose the worst possible timing. My period seemed like the most annoying thing – until I started tracking it.
Why I Started Tracking My Menstrual Cycle
It took a very long time for me to realize that this ignorant attitude was pretty harmful in terms of body acceptance and it made handling my period so much harder – unnecessarily. The ignoring away part wasn’t going very well either, so I had to look for a new strategy to get along with my period, since it most probably would stick with me for another 35 years.
I asked myself: What is the most annoying thing after the mean cramps and period pain? And it was the fact that I never really knew when my period would actually show up – and when it did, it seemed to ruin everything: holidays, dates, exams…I felt out of control.
So I started tracking it with little red dots in my school calendar’s yearly overview. That was the beginning of a brighter period future for me. At least, I knew more or less when it was about to show up and felt a little more prepared.
But it’s not just about when your period starts and stops. I only really realized this, once I started tracking my period with the Clue App. Suddenly, I started tracking what seemed to be everything relevant, and it only took me 3 minutes a day.
I felt that I was in control of my menstrual cycle for the first time. I knew when I was gonna get my period (+/- 2 days), I could track influences of medication on my cycle, my mood swings, stress. Everything that might delay or speed up my period, make me feel emotional, make my everyday life a little more difficult.
5 Reasons You Should Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Today
When you track your menstrual cycle, you’re in control of your body, your schedule, your well-being and you avoid period surprises. Once you know the day your period will arrive with quite high accuracy, it can’t catch you off guard anymore (which additionally, can save you a lot of stained underwear).
You’ll always be prepared for your period: No matter which menstrual product you use, when you know when to expect your period, you’ll never run out of tampon or pad stock and you’ll always know when to carry your menstrual cup around with you.
Planning holidays, travels & busy days: you can work with or around your period. Some events or dates might be better held when you’re not fighting fatigue, menstrual cramps and bloating – and it’s very important that you give your body the rest it needs.
YOUR PERIOD IS LIKE A HEALTH REPORT CARD
One of the most important benefits is that you can detect irregularities and will be able to tell your doctor exactly when and what was going on. There is nothing more helpful for you and your gyno than a lot of information and insight, which, when tracking your period, you can easily provide.
Detect unexpected patterns: Irregular cycles, very heavy cycles, change in color and consistency – all these characteristics speak about your health. Noticing a sudden change or irregularity is easier when tracking your cycle and it can help you seek advice from your doctor early on.
For some people, depression and anxiety attacks often show up the days before or during your period. Many people who menstruate tell their story of how important it is to adjust medication or detect a connection between mental health problems and menstruation. Again, the more you know how much they are connected, the better you can treat panic attacks or feeling depressed. Read about how your hormones can literally make a bloody mess of your mental health.
UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF BETTER THAN EVER
When tracking period cramps and mood swings, you can find out what might make them worse and what can ease them. Did you eat something in particular? Did you get enough sleep? Where you exercising/not exercising?
Talking about mood swings: Suddenly, you will see how it all makes sense that you felt super emotional about that ad on TV. Just check where you are in your menstrual cycle.
You’ll be able to understand cravings and control their negative effects. Giving in to the urge to eat a bag of crisps or loads of ice cream or bowls and bowls of cornflakes can be really satisfying for the moment – but what if it makes your cramps worse? Track your cravings and how you feel afterwards and learn what helps your body.
YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOU’RE FERTILE/ NOT FERTILE
Either way, if you want to conceive or don’t want to conceive – knowing your menstrual cycle is crucial. It gives you a lot of important information on when you’re ovulating and when you’re having your fertile days. Meaning: When to be extra careful or when to get at it twice as often ;)
IT’S THE ENTIRE CYCLE, NOT JUST 5 DAYS A MONTH
Your menstrual cycle is not just an on/off sort of condition. It affects you 24h a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year. It’s the entire menstrual cycle that has to be tracked and it offers you loads of information about yourself.
In fact, there are four phases of your menstrual cycle and each one comes with it’s own specific feelings and symptoms that affect your everyday life. It may explain fluctuation in your sex drive, why you feel extremely tired on some days, or emotional on others. It may even affect the type of clothes you choose to wear. I for example have my pre-menstruation clothes consisting of comfy clothes and sweaters that are still okay to wear for work (the only thing I wanna wear before and during my period), and I always know when to make sure they’re out of the washing machine and ready to put on. There’s nothing like being in control of these little everyday things that can make your period a lot nicer and you’re life a lot easier.
How To Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
The 2 most helpful tools to use when tracking your period are:
- it helps you track more than just your period. It takes into account your entire cycle and factors that might influence it.
- the app is very easy to use, has a great overview and good design
- you can add your own tracking factors according to your lifestyle
- Using a Ruby Cup menstrual cup during your menstrual cycle helps you track the quantity of your menstrual fluid
- You also get a good view on the consistency of your period. Is it thicker, thin, does it have blood clots?
- The color of your period blood may vary – keep an eye on it and note it down in your app.
- Some Ruby Cup users report experiencing fewer cramps compared to when they were using tampons
Once you’re equipped with these two things, it’s basically feeding Clue with your information every day and especially when you’re menstruating, take a couple of seconds to look at your flow before you flush it down the toilet (in case you use a menstrual cup of course). Tracking only takes a couple of minutes of your time, but will offer you life-changing benefits.
Listen to your body, note down every detail and you will notice how even the most mundane things can have an effect on you. Kinda exciting, right?
Start tracking your menstrual cycle today and let us know how it’s helping you!
Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a medical or health professional. The purpose of this blog is informative and to share an experience – not to give health or medical advice. You should always do your own research when it comes to your health.