We all experience menstruation differently, while some tend to have lighter and shorter periods others may suffer through heavier and more prolonged days of bleeding. For people all over the world, menstruation is still something of a mystery. Some months your periods can be heavy, crampy nightmares, while in other months your period may hardly make an appearance.
But if there’s one thing that all of us have experienced universally, it’s getting your period at the wrong time and in the wrong place. Every time it comes unannounced during a vacation, at the pool, before a meeting or in the middle of a date. It’s quite unfortunate and more often than not it leaves us feeling just a tad bit embarrassed and worried.
Which is why it’s a great practice to track your menstrual cycles. If you ever get the chance to go through your mother or aunt’s old diaries, you’ll see that there are circles around certain dates with a particular colour of ink. Or talk to them about it and they’ll tell you how they tracked their cycles, by marking it in a calendar, a planner or just maintaining a diary for all their health follow-ups.
Tracking your cycle is a great practice; not only because you get to plan out your activities throughout the month but also to understand your body, cycles, moods, and general health better. For example, when you track your cycle you can also track the day you start getting acne, or when your breasts start feeling tender or sore. Collating this information can later tell you exactly what you’re going through every month and when.
While most of us are encouraged to start tracking our cycles when we first start our periods, we don’t often follow through with it. But in today’s day and age when there are multiple apps available to track your period cycles, it’s simply too easy to not do it.
Tracking your cycles will also help you predict when your next cycle is due. Which trust us, can be a God sent when planning a trip or an important event. When tracking your period, it’s also a good practice to note how much you’re bleeding. You can measure it based on how many pads and tampons you’re using or by giving your flow a loose estimate of light, medium, or heavy.
Tracking on an app can also help you figure out your basic PMS symptoms like your emotions, cramps, and overall health, depending on how much information you want to include. After about three months of tracking your period, you will also learn the basic length of your cycle, which typically lasts between 21 to 35 days. It will also tell you when you’re most fertile and other menstruation patterns.
A few more important reasons to track your periods are to do the following:
Understand Your Cycle
Everybody is different, and having an irregular period is more common than you think. If you are aware of your cycle, you’re likely to feel more in control and less likely to be surprised by your next period.
Know When You’re Most Fertile
Pregnancy is mostly possible only during your fertile window, or the days leading up to and after ovulation. An average fertile window lasts about six days, the 5 days leading up to ovulation and for the 24 hours after ovulation has occurred. But the greatest chance of conception is generally during the two days before ovulation. The odds of getting pregnant quickly decrease in the days immediately after ovulation.
Be Aware Of What’s Happening With Your Body
The menstrual cycle is an indicator of your overall health, and periods are your body’s way of telling you that things are working in an A-OK fashion. Having an extremely irregular or heavy period or losing your period altogether can indicate an existing underlying condition, undue stress or problem.
Get To Know Your Trigger Points
It’s not just about PMS. Hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle have been suggested to cause changes in mood like irritability, anxiety, or feeling more affectionate. Learning when exactly these changes happen can help you understand the basic rhythm of your cycle. Being aware of certain changes can help you prepare for them and manage them better.
Get Fitter Without Trying As Hard Syncing your actual cycle with your next gym class could help you lose faster. In week two, just after your period, the increase in estrogen in the body means you have more energy and a higher tolerance for exercise. But week three is when the combination of estrogen and progesterone in your body makes it much more efficient at using fat for fuel. You’ll lose more fat for the same amount of exercise.