Learning to track your menstrual cycle can be important for several reasons. This first lets you know the average length of your menstrual cycle so you won't be surprised when your period arrives. You will also know where your fertile window is, which are the days when you are most likely to get pregnant. Tracking the progress of your menstrual cycle will also help you learn about your natural hormonal and physiological variations.
Part 1 of 3: watch your cycle
Step 1. Write down the first day of your period
The first day of your period is the day you start your period. Your cycle runs from the first day of your period until the first day of your next period. The length of a cycle varies with each woman, but it usually lasts between 21 and 35 days. The bleeding usually lasts between 2 and 7 days.
- Count the number of days between your period and the duration of your bleeding.
- If you started having your period in the past two years, your cycle may last longer. Your cycle should get shorter and more regular over the years. Your cycle length will also change during perimenopause, which is the time you approach menopause.
- The frequency and length of your cycle may also vary if you are using birth control methods (for example, the birth control pill).
- Your ovulation period is usually between day 11 and day 21 of your cycle. This is the time when you are most fertile and most likely to get pregnant if you have sex.
Step 2. Keep track of your physical symptoms
Write down the amount of your menstrual flow and any pain you feel. Try to include as much detail as possible. In addition to tracking your physical symptoms, watch the day of your cycle when they appear. For example, do you have cramps a few days before your period starts?
- How many sanitary napkins or tampons did you use?
- Do you have cramps? Do you have any cramps in your lower abdomen or lower back?
- Do you feel pain in your breasts?
- How does your vaginal discharge change during your menstrual cycle?
- Do you have diarrhea or loose stools during your period? (This is a common symptom).
Step 3. Pay attention to your emotions
Many women experience emotional changes as their hormones fluctuate. You may experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, loss of appetite, or crying attacks. These symptoms usually appear before the cycle begins. Try to write down the days you have these symptoms.
- Also watch out for any other stressors that may affect your mood. This can help you know if you are anxious about your period or if you are worried about a project at school.
- If these symptoms appear around the same time each month, it is likely that they are related to your menstrual cycle.
Step 4. Repeat this process every month
Follow the progress of your menstrual cycle for a few months in a row to get to know your body. You should start to see similar physical and emotional symptoms and situations each month. Note each change that occurs from month to month.
- It is normal that there are variations. You could have a period for five days in one month and three days the following month.
- What is normal for you may not be normal for someone else. Don't worry if your cycle is different from another girl you know. Look for a pattern in your own cycle.
- Using the pill, hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), contraceptive implant, contraceptive patch, or contraceptive injection may result in less heavy periods, but this is completely normal.
Part 2 of 3: Use different tracking tools
Step 1. Note important days on a calendar
If you want to track your menstrual cycle the old fashioned way, take a calendar and mark the days with a pencil, pen, marker, or highlighter. You can use different colors, symbols or stickers to mark the start and end of your menstrual cycle, the length of your cycle, or the days when your physical or emotional symptoms started. Try to put in place a clear system that works for you.
- If you don't want to put too much information on your calendar, you can keep a diary to mark your physical and emotional symptoms and only use the calendar to mark the start and end of your menstrual cycle.
- If you don't use your calendar too often, keep it somewhere you'll remember. It can be useful to hang it in your bathroom or put it next to your mirror.
- If you value your privacy and don't want people to see your information, make a small, inconspicuous sign on the calendar (like a cross, circle, or color) that only you can understand.
Step 2. Download a mobile application
Instead of using a pen and paper, you can use an app to track your menstrual cycle. This kind of application allows you to keep all your personal information and to know the first day of your period. In addition to having a calendar, many of these apps will allow you to record your information about the physical and emotional changes occurring during your cycle.
- Clue is a free app for iPhone and Android and is among the most recommended apps. With this app, you can record your physical and emotional symptoms, the days you had sex, and create reminders so you don't forget to take the pill every day. After entering your information for a few months, this tool will use algorithms to predict the date of your next period and when you ovulate.
- Period Tracker Lite is another recommended application that will allow you to track your menstrual cycle. With this app, you can use icons to describe your mood rather than entering information. Period Tracker Lite is available for iPhone and Android.
Step 3. Use an online calendar
If you are not interested in the previous methods, you can use an online calendar. All you need to do is enter information about your cycle. Sites with an online calendar also offer tools like calculators, lists of your latest information. Some of these sites also provide useful links to relevant articles.
- If you have a problem accessing the Internet, this means that this option may not be suitable.
- Many manufacturers of hygiene products like Tampax offer calendars online.
Part 3 of 3: deal with any unforeseen problems
Step 1. Make changes based on your information
You can use the information gathered to make your life easier when your symptoms appear. If you know the days when you will have cramps, the days when you will be the most angry or the days when your period starts, you could make lifestyle changes so that your menstrual cycle has no impact. on your daily life.
- For example, if you know that you will feel bloated three days before your menstrual cycle, you can avoid caffeine, salt, or alcoholic beverages, and drink plenty of water during this time.
- If you know you get irritable when you have your period, try to get a good sleep and practice some relaxation techniques so your anger doesn't get over you.
Step 2. Know what to do when you have an irregular period
About 14% of women have an irregular menstrual cycle. If your cycles are longer or shorter than the norm, if you have unusual bleeding (more or less severe), if you have very intense pain, you may have an irregular menstrual cycle. You should be able to identify it more easily if you could follow the progress of your menstrual cycle.
- Your cycle can be irregular for many reasons, including the birth control methods you use, Stein-Leventhal syndrome, stress, thyroid disorders, eating disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, fibroids or endometriosis.
- There are many treatments available to correct this problem with irregular periods.
Step 3. Know when to see a doctor
Menstrual irregularities are common. If you notice any changes in your menstrual cycle or have any concerns, see a doctor. Remember to come with all the information you have gathered. This may help the doctor understand your problem. You should consult a professional if:
- your period lasts more than 7 days,
- you have periods between menstrual cycles,
- your cycle lasts less than 21 days or more than 35 days,
- your period becomes irregular from day to day,
- you bleed every hour or every two hours,
- your period becomes heavy or painful.
- If you want to know the length of your menstrual cycle, be sure to mark the start and end of your period over several months. Or, you could draw an arrow from the first to the last day, for clarity.
- Keeping track of your cycle can help you immensely in your relationships. This will allow your partner to know when you are most sensitive and when you are fertile. It will also help you know if something is really bothering you or if it's your hormones that are causing your mood swings.