Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle – The Why, What, and How

My mother taught me to always track my period. And when I was lazy, she would do it for me, even when I stopped living with her. I always knew the answers when the OBGYN asked me when my last period was, when it ended, or if I had an unusually heavy flow during my period.

Why?

No, it’s not just for when you are trying to conceive. However, if you are, pregnancy is possible during your fertile window, or the days leading up to or after ovulation. It’s best to consult your doctor to determine the length of your fertile window, but without specific dates, you won’t know when you’ll get pregnant.

But even if you aren’t concerned about baby-making, just knowing when you are going to get your next period will make you feel prepared, and therefore more in control. Also, by tracking various details about your period, you will be able to give more information to a doctor in case of any anomalies.

If you decide to take your tracking a step further and track your sex drive and sexual activity, it can help you determine patterns in your cycle and hormone levels. So, you know when to get busy – and when to be extra safe.

What?

Tracking your cycle simply means recording when you get your period and other information related to your cycle. What should you be tracking? Start with the first day of your cycle, then see how long your period lasts. The more, the better. Track everything, TMI all the way. Ignorance is definitely not bliss here. Track your dates, your moods, your flow volume (light, medium, heavy, or spotting), even the colour of your flow if that changes throughout your period.

In addition to all this, tracking your sex drive is important too so that you can take any necessary steps if necessary.  A few factors to consider are whether you have protected or unprotected sex and whether you have a high sex drive or feelings of withdrawal. Tracking your fluid discharge, pain, and pill intake is useful too.

How?

There are a dozen period-tracking applications on the interwebs – because isn’t there an application for just everything? Some of the top rated ones include Period Calendar, Flo Period Tracker, Clue, and My Calendar, but there are even more to choose from.

You could go the old school way and put it in your journal, but a period tracker may be an easier option considering it has a predictability feature that can anticipate symptoms, log information in a more systematic manner, set reminders, and even tell you when your period is due. Technology, right?


Understanding your period will help you understand your cycle, your hormones, and your body a little better.

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