Last week I discussed in depth the menstrual cycle and the value of including it as the fifth vital sign. (Check out that blog if you haven't already!). Throughout each phase of your cycle you may experience food cravings, changes in your mood, bloating, etc. Knowing what is normal for your cycle is an important health status indicator. Today I am going to share 3 important reasons why you should track your cycle.
1. Be Prepared:
When you track your period, you will have an idea when your next cycle is expected to begin. If you are out and about when your period starts, you will be prepared with feminine products, and avoid an "uh oh" moment!
2. Understand What Is Normal and Abnormal In Your Body:
Being familiar with what is normal during your menstrual cycle is the most efficient way to know when things start to become irregular. Tracking mood changes, cravings, pain, and quality of discharge and menstruation throughout your entire cycle can uncover if their is an infection or an underlying condition present. When you track your cycle you also become more familiar with the physical and emotional changes that occur in your body as a result of the fluctuations of hormones throughout your cycle.
3. Know When You Are Fertile
This may be an obvious point. However, when trying to get pregnant it is imperative to know when your body is in the ovulatory phase. This can also be applied for those trying to prevent pregnancy. If your cycle is regular, tracking your menstrual cycle can help you avoid an unexpected pregnancy.
How To Track Your Menstrual Cycle
To track your cycle you want to start recording the following on a calendar:
Start Date of Menstruation (Period): This will allow you to note the length of your cycles, and after a few months of tracking determine if your cycles are regular.
End Date of Your Period: How long does your period typically last? Is it longer or shorter than usual?
Flow: Record the heaviness and color of your flow. How often do you need to change your feminine products? Is your period bright red or dark red/brown? Are there clots present?
Bleeding: Are you bleeding in between periods? Are you changing your feminine products hourly or more frequent?
Pain: Describe any pain associated with your period. Where is the pain located? When does the pain begin?
Additional Changes: Have you experienced any changes in mood or behavior? What is the consistency of your discharge throughout your cycle?
Tools To Track Your Cycle
There are a few ways that you can track your menstrual cycle. Women used to just track their cycle on a good old fashioned calendar. However, thanks to technology, there are many apps available that track your entire cycle for you! I suggest exploring the different apps to see which one you like best. Here are a few to get you started: