Why And How To Track Your Menstrual Cycle
Your period is going to come whether you like it or not, so why bother tracking? As it turns out, there are lots of reasons to track Aunt Flo - from wearing those white jeans without fear to helping your doctor diagnose health problems.
When was your last menstrual period?
Every time you visit the doctor’s office, they’ll ask for the date of your last menstrual period (LMP for those in the know). Why? Where you are in your cycle can have an impact on potential diagnosis. Seeing discharge? May not be an issue in the days before ovulation, but late in your cycle, it could be a sign of an infection. Or, if you haven’t had your period in over 5 weeks, that may be an indication to them that they need to do more tests. And if you are pregnant? Well, knowing the date of your last menstrual period will help your doctor determine your due date.
Know when your period is coming.
This may sound obvious, but when you track your periods, you’ll always know when your period is due. Instead of getting caught in your white jeans again, you’ll be prepared and armed. And while this may be just a small step, it’s an empowering one.
Know your whole cycle, not just your period.
A period is pretty hard to miss, but your cycle is about more than the 3 to 7 days you bleed. There are four separate phases and tracking your whole cycle will give you a better idea of which phase you’re in. Crash course, the 4 phases are:
- Menstrual phase - when you have menstrual bleeding
- Follicular phase - when your body is preparing to release an egg
- Ovulation phase - the 24 hours when the egg is released and abled to be fertilized
- Luteal phase - from the time you ovulate until you get your next period
Recognize your PMS symptoms.
Unexplained moodiness? Occasional migraines? Tracking your period will help you see which symptoms happen to you every month.
For instance, some women experience extreme mood swings during the week before their period, while others experience mind-numbing headaches.
Keeping track of symptoms can help you identify whether symptoms are related to your period which can also help you manage them better.
Know your fertile days.
Believe it or not, your periods can also help you know your fertile days. But it’s important that you use a proven fertility awareness method like the Standard Days Method (aka CycleBeads) or Dynamic Optimal Timing (aka Dot) if you are trying to avoid or achieve pregnancy using just your period dates. Why? Women are fertile for about 6 days, the 5 days prior to ovulation and for 12 to 24 hours following ovulation. But these days move around depending on the exact timing of ovulation. These proven methods take into account that variation and estimate your fertile days based on your cycle lengths.
Catch potential health problems.
Your period can be a good indicator of your overall health. If your cycles are outside of a regular range (21-35 days long) or if they are highly irregular (more than a week difference in lengths) these can be signs that there is an underlying health issue. By tracking your cycle, you could find early symptoms of thyroid disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine cancer, and pituitary tumors. Pinpointing symptoms and these diseases early can lead to faster treatment and better outcomes.
There are a few different ways you can track your period. For starters, you can try the old pen and paper calendar method. You mark day 1 of your period on the calendar and write down any symptoms on days you experience them. If you want to be a little more techy, you could do the same on your smartphone’s calendar.
Or you could try Dot, our period tracker that uses an amazing algorithm to accurately predict period start dates, fertile days, and ovulation so you’re never caught off guard again. It also alerts you if your cycle pattern indicates a possible health issue.
Download Dot today!
"When Do I Ovulate: What Time of Month Am I Most Fertile?" Healthline. Accessed March 08, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/ovulation-when-am-i-most-fertile#fertile-window.
Developed by Cycle Technologies, Dot™ uses a patent-pending contraceptive technology based on Dynamic Optimal Timing™. Learn more about Dot on our website www.DotTheApp.com and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.