Carefully tracking your menstrual cycles and other monthly changes on a regular basis has many benefits, whether you’re a woman thinking about getting pregnant, trying to prevent conception, or simply assessing your overall health.
1. Tuning into your cycle helps you to learn about its length and frequency, noticing your unique patterns, including changes in mood. You can start tracking at any stage, however, a great time to start is at Day 1 of your period so that you can begin to understand your cycle length!
2. You’ll know around when you ovulate. Ovulation is the main event within each cycle. It is when an egg is released from the ovary. The exact day of ovulation is very difficult to pin point, however you’ll have a “fertile window” of a 5-6 days leading up to ovulation, including the day of ovulation.
3. You’ll have increased awareness of your overall health. By tracking, you may begin to see patterns. You might notice that you feel fatigued or get migraines, feel irritable or even calm during the same part of your cycle each month. If something isn’t right with your body – illness or stress for example, your cycle will be disrupted. Your menstrual cycle is your monthly report card.
4. You’ll gain insight into your sex drive. We usually feel our highest levels of sexual desire right at the end of our Follicular Phase, in the five days leading up to ovulation. This makes evolutionary sense because it’s also the time you’re most fertile, so most likely to conceive.
5. Understand and manage mood. Tracking your cycle gives you a better understanding of when you might feel happy, productive and energetic, or when you may feel tired, irritable or low. The more you know about what to expect from your moods, the better equipped you will be, to cope with them as they come! The Follicular Phase is a great time to get things done. Testosterone & Estrogen play a big role in higher energy levels and a better mood. In contrast, allow yourself a lot of self-care and downtime leading into the final week before your period. Progesterone has a relaxing effect on the body & mind and is dominant during the Luteal Phase, however, just before your period begins, it decreases drastically, often leading to feelings of anxiety and irritability.
To begin tracking your cycle, either use a paper calendar to mark your symptoms throughout the month, or download a period tracking app. ie. Clue, Glow or Flo.
It’s time to empower yourself when it comes to your cycle & wellbeing!