While not as popular today, women many years ago tracked their cycles according to the phases of the moon. Having a cycle of its own, with different phases and a 29.5 day count, it made perfect sense to follow the moon’s phases to track the menstrual cycle.
With the invention of artificial light, women have used many creative and effective methods to track the symptoms of their menstrual cycle. Some prefer to track their cycles in a journal, while others an online menstrual tracking calendar or mobile application.
By charting the changes that take place throughout the month, you can have a better idea of when you will get your next period and become more aware of your menstrual and vaginal health. Just as your cycle is unique to you, the method chosen to track one’s menstrual cycle will vary from one woman to the next.
Please Note: The following is meant to be informational in nature and is not offered as medical advice, nor does it substitute for a consultation with your physician. If you have any gynecological/medical concerns or conditions we encourage you to consult your physician.
Charting may seem like an ancient practice, but more and more girls and women are experiencing the many benefits that come with charting their menstrual cycle.
When tracking it is important to remember that every cycle is different. Some of us will have 4 day periods while other will have 7, some of us will experience irritability and cramping, while others, menstrual migraines or both. In addition to these physical symptoms women may also experience food cravings, boosts of energy or positivity and moments of creativity throughout the month. Although not every symptom of our menstrual cycles are enjoyable, each symptom can reveal characteristics that are unique to your cycle.
Tracking your menstrual cycle doesn't require much; simply record the symptoms you experience and after a few months you will notice some common trends. We’ve provided a list of symptoms, that when tracked, can provide some great insight to your menstrual health.
An important element of the menstrual cycle that is often not spoken about is cervical fluid. Cervical fluid goes through many changes throughout each cycle, changing in color and texture and every change indicates something unique about your cycle. In fact, that wet, squishy feeling you feel every so often can tell you some very important information about your health.
Many young women experience cervical fluid without having an understanding of what it is and are left to believe something is wrong with them “down there”. From one Diva to the next we are here to tell you that cervical fluid is a natural menstrual cycle process that is a great way to identify what stage of your menstrual cycle you are experiencing.
What many women don’t know is that cervical fluid is not only helpful for knowing when you can get pregnant, but it can also be an accurate indicator of when you will get your period. A woman will usually get her period about two weeks (14 days) from the day she ovulates. This day is not the same for every woman. Some women will ovulate on day 14 of their cycle while others on day 16 or 18.
A Cycle of its Own!
Cervical fluid goes through its own cycle of change throughout the month.Post Period: Following your period you will have a few days without cervical fluid – often referred to as dry days.Pre-ovulation: As your body begins to prepare itself for ovulation you will notice a sticky, rubbery-like feel to your cervical fluid that is usually white or yellow. As you get closer to ovulating, you will notice a change in your cervical fluid from being “rubbery” to being a creamy white and yellow fluid. This fluid can also feel very wet or cool.Ovulation: As your estrogen level reaches its peak, your cervical fluid will become clear and mimic an “egg white” stretchy fluid. This fluid indicates ovulation is occurring. Some women may notice some red or brown streaks in the clear fluid; this is often linked to mid-cycle spotting.At the time of ovulation your estrogen level has peaked and quickly after you will notice your cervical fluid decreasing as progesterone increases and your uterine lining begins to thicken.
Please Note: Cervical fluid that causes itching, burning or has a strong odor may be an indication of infection. If these symptoms occur, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Noting food cravings, cramps, breast tenderness, backache and headaches can also help women understand their menstrual health. For many women, their day-to-day activities and diet can trigger physical symptoms or increase their intensity. Paying attention to physical symptoms, how often and severe they are, can tell you when it might be good to refrain from certain foods that contain sugars, caffeine, dairy and wheat as well as when to exercise, or give your body the rest it needs.
Visit our All Things Period page for information about the menstrual cycle and some simple things you can do help alleviate cramps and PMS symptoms.
Emotions, Mood and Mind
Did you know that emotions and moods are two different things? Emotions relate to an experience, they are often felt as a result of something occurring suddenly; reactionary. Moods are an emotional state that people are described as being “in”. The emotions we feel often lead us to be in a mood, but it is important to identify the emotion that leads us to the good, or not so good moods, and to note this in relation to the days of our menstrual cycle.
If you notice you are more irritable on certain days, this can help you better handle situations and may influence how you choose to respond. If you are having an off day, there is nothing wrong with you staying in to relax instead of going out with your friends as this is a good time to recharge.
Tracking your attention span, creativity and mental capabilities can also provide some insight on how your mood and physical state may be affected by your menstrual cycle. Oftentimes if a woman is experiencing painful cramps and fatigue as a result of her period, her attention span may not be as strong as on days without cramps. Through charting, a woman can be made aware of such an effect and by going to bed early, keeping hydrated and eating iron rich and energy-boosting foods (eggs, raisins, blueberries, trail mix or leafy greens) a woman can get the extra energy she needs to focus better in class or while at the office.
Charting your menstrual cycle is both simple and easy!
Pick a time each day to record your menstrual cycle symptoms (mood changes, diet, physical symptoms etc). Simply record the symptoms you experience and after a few months you will notice some common trends and be empowered with new knowledge about your menstrual heath!
Start charting today with one of these helpful online tools!
Clue is a free app that makes it easy for women to find patterns in their cycle, from first period to menopause. Clue uses an algorithm to calculate and predict your own unique cycle - and the more you use Clue, the more accurate it gets. Clue includes educational material about the menstrual cycle, answering questions like: Is my cycle normal? When can I get pregnant? What is PMS? Clue is available on iOS and Android.
My Monthly Cycles.
MyMonthlyCycles.com is a website that offers free personalized tools to track your monthly menstrual cycles. This simple online, and also mobile friendly, application offers a number of tools including menstrual and fertility calendars, reminder notifications, monthly charts and history reports and calculators, for menstrual, ovulation and PMS symptoms. Along with these easy to use tools, its user friendly interface empowers women with cycle knowledge and menstrual health awareness.
Pink Pad is a menstrual health and lifestyle mobile application with integrated community that connects women from around the world. Designed with a calendar-style user interface, Pink Pad is simple and extremely intuitive to navigate. Pink Pad helps you monitor and track moods, symptoms, weight, temperature and other menstrual related progress while also connecting you to a global community of women for support and information exchange.
Feby Empowerment Inc.
The Female Empowerment Bracelet (Feby) offers a fun way to learn and track your menstrual cycle. The bracelet acts as a calendar with 28 beads of varying colours that represent the different phases of the average woman’s cycle including menstruation, ovulation and premenstrual symptoms. Gain a better understanding of your position in your cycle by simply moving the knot through a bead each day! Feby is an excellent way to introduce the concept of menstruation to young girls and comes with a detailed pamphlet that describes each phase in detail. Try Feby today!