As humans, we love keeping a check on everything. We all love staying on top of our things and predicting the future to stay prepared. Organizing our workplaces, planning trips in advance, making schedules and timetables is something all of us have done at some point in our lives.
Ranging from our bedtime to the number of times a particular outfit has been worn in a week, we love to keep a track of everything. So, why not do the same for our menstrual cycles too?
Knowledge, especially about your own body never hurt anyone!
What is Tracking anyway?
By tracking your menstrual cycle, we mean tracking all your symptoms on different days rather than just tracking the start and end of menstruation- that is, the number of days spent bleeding. That means recording everything like – cramps, bowel changes, body temperature, nausea, bloating, and other symptoms that may occur during the cycle.
You can also record changes in your mood too. It’s better to be ready with that stash of chocolate and ice cream before you actually need it!
Methods of tracking your menstrual cycle
With the rapid advancements in Fem-tech, the best and the most common way to track your menstrual cycle is by using a cycle-tracker app. However, you can use the good old calendar method as well.
There are pros and cons associated with both methods, so you can see what fits you the best. I mean, no one is stopping you from grabbing a pen and paper and jotting down your experiences, that is- headaches, cramps, discharge, bleeding, or whatever it is you feel.
That brings us to the one biggest advantage of period tracker apps- The variety of options available to record your symptoms. Apps like Clue have a lot of features and a lot of pre-programmed symptoms where you can just record in one tap. In addition to that, if a certain parameter or symptom isn’t there, you can just add it yourself.
Now those people using the calendar or pen-paper method have greater control over what they want to record and can also note down the severity level. From using different colors to simply circling the date, you can do it however you like. You have the freedom to choose your own parameters and you can also track specific symptoms too, the choice is yours.
The app method may not grant you as much freedom but is a lot more convenient. You can save a lot of time as all you need to do is just tap. The apps can predict ovulation date and can be useful if you are trying to conceive, and also if you are actively trying to avoid the same.
Mind you- Be it calendar or app, all these predictions about your cycle are not 100% accurate so you must not completely rely on these methods in terms of health. They are good indicators but you should only rely upon clinical tests preferably taken under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Benefits of Tracking your cycle
Charting your menstrual cycle has many benefits if you are regular. Having a record of your cycle and the changes that come with it might help you in ways you might not be able to think of.
It helps achieve natural methods of Contraception
You can track your symptoms and predict when you are ovulating and when you have the highest chance of getting pregnant. It can be helpful for those who are trying to conceive and also for those who are actively trying to avoid it.
Although this method is not 100% effective, the odds are in the favor of those with a regular menstrual cycle.
However, in order to avoid conception, it is advisable to use a more effective method, like a condom.
End to the ‘pregnancy or PMS’ anxiety
Almost every menstruator has experienced this at least once in their life when they felt certain symptoms that are considered to be similar to those of pregnancy.
Now you may think ‘What on Earth does that have to do with tracking?’ Well, actually that can have a lot to do with your dilemma because if you have a record of your period symptoms, you can actually check if it is something out of the blue or is it just a late period.
However, once again, getting tested for pregnancy is the best way to find that out. This method can just help you with the anxiousness before your body produces a detectable amount of hCG levels.
Answering your ob/gyn’s questions has never been easier
If you regularly visit your ob/gyn, I bet you have had to answer questions about the start date and end date of your period. With your cycle charted, you can easily answer all these questions and your healthcare provider can have more clarity in case there are any changes you need to worry about.
You know when to plan that trip!
I’m sure you have had times when you were on that trip you had been planning for ages, and just when you were getting ready to dive into the swimming pool, mother nature decided to drown you in your own pool of blood. Bummer. However, when you are tracking your menstrual cycle, you know when your period might be approaching. You can plan that trip on your safe days and pack your cutest bathing suit if you may.
You feel connected with your body
Tracking your menstrual cycle can make you feel more connected to your body as you track everything ranging from your PMS symptoms to the length of your menstrual flow. You learn what variations in your discharge tell about your body. The knowledge about your cycle helps you figure out what’s normal and what’s not and when it might be a good idea to see a doctor. This will help you spot any abnormalities that might exist.
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