- 5 unexpected benefits of period tracking
- 1. It can help you understand your unique patterns
- 2. You'll know when you're fertile
- 3. It will increase your awareness of your overall health and wellness
- 4. It can tell you a lot about your individual sex drive
- 5. You can understand and manage your mood
- 5 Reasons Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Will Change Your Life
- Why I Started Tracking My Menstrual Cycle
- 5 Reasons You Should Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Today
- How To Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
- 6 Surprising Benefits Of Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
- 1. Intensify Your Orgasms
- 2. Get Fitter Without Trying (As Hard)
- 3. Boss It At Work
- 4. Manage Your Social Calendar
- 5. Track Your Fertility
- 6. Sleep Sweetly
- What Cycle Tracking Can Tell You About Your Health | UNC Health Talk
- The Menstrual Cycle
- How to Track Your Menstrual Cycle
- What Your Cycle Can Tell You
- Getting Started with Tracking
- How Keeping Track of Your Menstrual Cycle Can Help Your Health
- Why You Should Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
- The impact on our mental health
- Why you should start tracking your cycle
- What is PMDD?
5 unexpected benefits of period tracking
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Understanding your period can tell you more about yourself than you might imagine. Here are Clue CEO and co-founder Ida Tin's 5 reasons to track your period:
1. It can help you understand your unique patterns
The simplest way to track your cycle is to log when your period occurs so you can start to understand your average cycle length. Every body is different, and having an irregular period is more common than you think.
A 28-day cycle is a global average, but may not be your personal average. If you are aware of your cycle, you will naturally feel more in control–and less ly to be surprised by your next period.
In the Clue app, you also get detailed analysis of your cycle history.
2. You'll know when you're fertile
There are common misconceptions about how pregnancy occurs: that you can only get pregnant on your day of ovulation, or that you can get pregnant all the time. Neither of these are true.
During your fertile window, or the days leading up to and after ovulation, pregnancy is possible.
While the average fertile window lasts about six days (the 5 days leading up to ovulation and 24 hours after ovulation has occurred), with the greatest chance of conception being the two days before ovulation. These odds quickly decrease in the day immediately after ovulation.
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For now, the Clue app is not a contraceptive. Here’s why.
3. It will increase your awareness of your overall health and wellness
Your menstrual cycle is a direct indicator of your overall health, and periods are your body's way of telling you that things are working as they should.
Having an extremely irregular or heavy period, or losing your period altogether, can indicate an existing underlying condition.
By tracking and logging various details of your cycle, you will be able to recall things that you will might otherwise forget when speaking with your healthcare provider. When you use Clue, you always have the dates of your last period at your fingertips.
4. It can tell you a lot about your individual sex drive
Tracking your sex drive and sexual activity can help determine patterns in your cycle. Around ovulation, you might notice spikes in your sexual desire. Sex is healthy, so being aware of your sexual activity by tracking in Clue is a fun way to know when you might feel the most desire (or not).
5. You can understand and manage your mood
It's not just about PMS. Hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle have been suggested to cause changes in mood irritability, anxiety, or feeling more affectionate, but a definitive link between mood and the menstrual cycle is still under study and debate. Learning when these changes happen can be another piece of information to help understand the rhythm of your cycle.
In Clue, you can track when you feel productive, happy, sad, exhausted—the many emotions and mental states all people experience, even beyond PMS. Being aware of changes helps you prepare for them and better manage them.
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5 Reasons Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Will Change Your Life
For a long time, I tried to ignore my period away. Tried to block it out until every month, of course, it showed up again. And it always chose the worst possible timing. My period seemed the most annoying thing – until I started tracking it.
Why I Started Tracking My Menstrual Cycle
It took a very long time for me to realize that this ignorant attitude was pretty harmful in terms of body acceptance and it made handling my period so much harder – unnecessarily. The ignoring away part wasn’t going very well either, so I had to look for a new strategy to get along with my period, since it most probably would stick with me for another 35 years.
I asked myself: What is the most annoying thing after the mean cramps and period pain? And it was the fact that I never really knew when my period would actually show up – and when it did, it seemed to ruin everything: holidays, dates, exams…I felt control.
So I started tracking it with little red dots in my school calendar’s yearly overview. That was the beginning of a brighter period future for me. At least, I knew more or less when it was about to show up and felt a little more prepared.
But it’s not just about when your period starts and stops. I only really realized this, once I started tracking my period with the Clue App. Suddenly, I started tracking what seemed to be everything relevant, and it only took me 3 minutes a day.
I felt that I was in control of my menstrual cycle for the first time. I knew when I was gonna get my period (+/- 2 days), I could track influences of medication on my cycle, my mood swings, stress. Everything that might delay or speed up my period, make me feel emotional, make my everyday life a little more difficult.
5 Reasons You Should Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Today
When you track your menstrual cycle, you’re in control of your body, your schedule, your well-being and you avoid period surprises. Once you know the day your period will arrive with quite high accuracy, it can’t catch you off guard anymore (which additionally, can save you a lot of stained underwear).
You’ll always be prepared for your period: No matter which menstrual product you use, when you know when to expect your period, you’ll never run tampon or pad stock and you’ll always know when to carry your menstrual cup around with you.
Planning holidays, travels & busy days: you can work with or around your period. Some events or dates might be better held when you’re not fighting fatigue, menstrual cramps and bloating – and it’s very important that you give your body the rest it needs.
One of the most important benefits is that you can detect irregularities and will be able to tell your doctor exactly when and what was going on. There is nothing more helpful for you and your gyno than a lot of information and insight, which, when tracking your period, you can easily provide.
Detect unexpected patterns: Irregular cycles, very heavy cycles, change in color and consistency – all these characteristics speak about your health. Noticing a sudden change or irregularity is easier when tracking your cycle and it can help you seek advice from your doctor early on.
For some people, depression and anxiety attacks often show up the days before or during your period.
Many people who menstruate tell their story of how important it is to adjust medication or detect a connection between mental health problems and menstruation.
Again, the more you know how much they are connected, the better you can treat panic attacks or feeling depressed. Read about how your hormones can literally make a bloody mess of your mental health.
When tracking period cramps and mood swings, you can find out what might make them worse and what can ease them. Did you eat something in particular? Did you get enough sleep? Where you exercising/not exercising?
Talking about mood swings: Suddenly, you will see how it all makes sense that you felt super emotional about that ad on TV. Just check where you are in your menstrual cycle.
You’ll be able to understand cravings and control their negative effects. Giving in to the urge to eat a bag of crisps or loads of ice cream or bowls and bowls of cornflakes can be really satisfying for the moment – but what if it makes your cramps worse? Track your cravings and how you feel afterwards and learn what helps your body.
Either way, if you want to conceive or don’t want to conceive – knowing your menstrual cycle is crucial. It gives you a lot of important information on when you’re ovulating and when you’re having your fertile days. Meaning: When to be extra careful or when to get at it twice as often 😉
Your menstrual cycle is not just an on/off sort of condition. It affects you 24h a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year. It’s the entire menstrual cycle that has to be tracked and it offers you loads of information about yourself.
In fact, there are four phases of your menstrual cycle and each one comes with it’s own specific feelings and symptoms that affect your everyday life. It may explain fluctuation in your sex drive, why you feel extremely tired on some days, or emotional on others. It may even affect the type of clothes you choose to wear.
I for example have my pre-menstruation clothes consisting of comfy clothes and sweaters that are still okay to wear for work (the only thing I wanna wear before and during my period), and I always know when to make sure they’re the washing machine and ready to put on.
There’s nothing being in control of these little everyday things that can make your period a lot nicer and you’re life a lot easier.
How To Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
The 2 most helpful tools to use when tracking your period are:
The Clue App
- it helps you track more than just your period. It takes into account your entire cycle and factors that might influence it.
- the app is very easy to use, has a great overview and good design
- you can add your own tracking factors according to your lifestyle
A Ruby Cup Menstrual Cup
- Using a Ruby Cup menstrual cup during your menstrual cycle helps you track the quantity of your menstrual fluid
- You also get a good view on the consistency of your period. Is it thicker, thin, does it have blood clots?
- The color of your period blood may vary – keep an eye on it and note it down in your app.
- Some Ruby Cup users report experiencing fewer cramps compared to when they were using tampons
Once you’re equipped with these two things, it’s basically feeding Clue with your information every day and especially when you’re menstruating, take a couple of seconds to look at your flow before you flush it down the toilet (in case you use a menstrual cup of course). Tracking only takes a couple of minutes of your time, but will offer you life-changing benefits.
Listen to your body, note down every detail and you will notice how even the most mundane things can have an effect on you. Kinda exciting, right?
Start tracking your menstrual cycle today and let us know how it’s helping you!
Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a medical or health professional. The purpose of this blog is informative and to share an experience – not to give health or medical advice. You should always do your own research when it comes to your health.
6 Surprising Benefits Of Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
Once upon a time, keeping track of your period was simply a case of marking a red dot in your diary and hoping it came around the same time the next month. But these days, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to track your cycle.
And it’s worth it, too. From boosting your sex life to supercharging your workouts, planning your diary around your cycle is not as bonkers as it sounds. Here are six surprising benefits.
NB: Your menstrual cycle is measured from day one of your period up to day one of your next menstrual cycle – the length of the average menstrual cycle is 28 days.
1. Intensify Your Orgasms
If your sex life could do with a bit of a boost, the second week of your cycle could be the perfect time to spice things up in the bedroom.
“In weeks two and three, your testosterone and oestrogen levels are on the rise,” explains medic Dr Dawn Harper.
“This is the time when women find it easier to achieve intense orgasms, so if you’re planning a dirty weekend away, this is the time to book it.” You don’t need to tell us twice.
2. Get Fitter Without Trying (As Hard)
Syncing your actual cycle with your next Psycle class could bring you major gym gains. In week two, just after your period, the increase in oestrogen in your body means you have more energy and a higher tolerance for exercise.
But week three is when the combination of oestrogen and progesterone in your body makes it much more efficient at using fat for fuel.
“You’ll get a better fat burn for the same amount of exercise than you would at the end of your cycle, so it’s a great time for HIIT workouts,” says Dr Harper.
Stay on top of your fitness gains with the new Fitbit Versa, which not only tracks things your workouts and your sleep, but also your menstrual cycle. Schedule reminders to prompt you about when you’re about to start your period with the new Female Health Tracking feature.
3. Boss It At Work
Looking for your next promotion? Tracking your menstrual cycle can even help you win at work. According to Dr Harper, women tend to feel more productive and eloquent during week two of their cycle.
During week three, however, you might want to steer clear of any demanding presentations. “Your oestrogen and testosterone levels will slump after ovulation.
Studies have even shown that some women can be less erudite and articulate during this phase, so consider planning your work commitments around this,” she says.
4. Manage Your Social Calendar
Arranging cocktails with the girls? You might want to swerve week four of your cycle. “The week before your period is when you’re most ly to feel tired and sluggish, so don’t pack your diary with dinners and drinks every night – make sure you’re getting enough me-time,” advises Dr Harper.
Your Fitbit Versa can send you period notifications which ping your phone two days before your period will start. Then, look forward to your oestrogen (a mood lifter) and testosterone (an energy booster) levels rising once again.
“A few days into your period, this combination of hormones should start to make you feel more sociable again,” Dr Harper says.
5. Track Your Fertility
Whether you want to get pregnant, or are trying to avoid it, tracking your cycle is growing in popularity as a legitimate way of managing your contraceptive choices.
For most women, your most fertile window falls between 12 and 16 days before your period starts, and the least fertile are the days after your period ends.
View your most fertile days using your Fitbit Versa to help take the stress fertility tracking.
6. Sleep Sweetly
As well as knowing when to take a step back socially, knowing your cycle can also help you sleep better.
On the run up to, during and just after the week of your period, your body temperature rises and you experience less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so you may feel you’re struggling to catch those zzzs.
“Restless sleep is common around this time, when you’re probably also feeling bloated and icky,” says Dr Harper. To help, limit caffeine after midday, exercise in the morning over the evening and stick to a consistent bedtime to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
Track your sleep, your workouts and your menstrual cycle all in one stylish smartwatch – shop the new Fitbit Versa at John Lewis
What Cycle Tracking Can Tell You About Your Health | UNC Health Talk
Getting to know your menstrual cycle can help you learn about what’s happening inside your body. There’s more to it than your period, and those additional aspects can provide a wealth of knowledge when it comes to health patterns, possible illnesses and your fertility.
We spoke about all things cyclical with Rachel Urrutia, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UNC Medical Center and assistant professor at the UNC School of Medicine.
The Menstrual Cycle
First, the basics on your cycle: A menstrual cycle is the series of events that occur between the first day of a period and the start of the next period.
During that time the body goes through a cycle in which estrogen increases and spurs ovulation, which then produces progesterone to support a possible pregnancy.
If there is no pregnancy, the hormone levels will drop and menstruation will occur.
The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but cycles are still considered regular if they happen every 21 to 38 days. Most every woman’s cycle varies in some way, whether it’s how often ovulation happens, how long periods last or the severity of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms such as cramping, mood swings and fatigue.
The length of a woman’s cycles can differ from month to month and might change with age. The same can be said for period length and the amount of menstrual bleeding. The average period length is five days, but three to eight days is considered normal.
Many doctors “say ovulation is supposed to happen on day 14 of a cycle, but that only happens in 10 percent of all cycles,” Urrutia says.
“Just because your pattern is different from the average doesn’t mean there is something abnormal that requires treatment.
But for people who are having menstrual abnormalities, tracking their cycle can really help them get a better sense of their own pattern.”
Of course, tracking a menstrual cycle helps you time sex if you’re trying to conceive. But even for women who aren’t trying to get pregnant, tracking the cycle can reveal patterns of overall health.
For example, you might notice that you get migraines or feel fatigued during the same part of your cycle every month. Or, you might find out that you might have a different ovulation pattern—information that could help you if you want to get pregnant in the future. Getting to know your cycle can also help you identify changes that could be indications of a health issue.
A caveat: Women who use hormone-based contraception methods the pill or IUDs (intrauterine devices) will not be able get an accurate picture of their fertility or health from keeping track of their cycle.
These hormonal methods stop ovulation and alter or prevent typical cycle symptoms. Still, it’s a good idea for women using birth control to pay attention to bleeding patterns so they can spot anything unusual.
How to Track Your Menstrual Cycle
There are multiple ways to track a menstrual cycle and different tools to help understand that information. Here’s what to know:
The most basic way to track your cycles is to note the beginning and ending date of each period and how heavy or light it is. Keeping up with that information can help you pinpoint any changes or irregularities in cycle length.
A step beyond keeping track of the period is monitoring vaginal secretions, or cervical mucus, during a cycle.
A telltale sign of ovulation is mucus, Urrutia says. Before ovulation, estrogen levels are very high, and “there are receptors in the cervix that bind to the estrogen and create a different type of mucus, very wet and slippery. This usually happens three to seven days leading up to ovulation.”
After ovulation, progesterone levels rise, producing a thicker mucus, which may lead to women observing no mucus at all. About two weeks later, you should get your period.
Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature is the body’s lowest temperature during sleep. It’s usually taken right after waking up in the morning, using a digital oral thermometer or one specially designed to measure basal body temperature.
Taking this temperature every day is used to track changes in progesterone, Urrutia says.
“The increase in progesterone after ovulation can increase the body temperature very slightly,” Urrutia says.
“When your body temperature is taken every morning consistently, you can figure out an average preovulatory basal temperature range.
For most women, there should be about a half a degree increase from that basal temperature range after ovulation. This shift in temperature is the surest indication that you have ovulated.”
Basal body temperature can be affected by things unusual sleep patterns or drinking too much alcohol the night before.
Some of the hormones responsible for your menstrual cycle can be measured in your urine. One important hormone for determining fertility is the luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers the release of an egg from the ovary for ovulation. A big increase of LH in urine indicates that ovulation will happen within 24 to 48 hours, which are the two most fertile days for conceiving.
“This method is most helpful if you are tracking fertility to achieve or avoid pregnancy,” Urrutia says. “There are digital monitors available over the counter that will test urine and display hormone level results.”
What Your Cycle Can Tell You
Beyond being an indication of when to attempt to get pregnant—a woman is most ly to conceive just before or during ovulation—a menstrual cycle can be a window into overall health.
After tracking several cycles, patterns might start to appear. Those seemingly random headaches and mood swings could be attributed to hormone fluctuation.
Or, it might turn out that what is perceived as irregular discharge is actually quite normal mucus. However, Urrutia says the reverse is true as well.
“Irregular bleeding patterns can indicate a health issue. If you find that you are bleeding more frequently than every 21 days, bleeding less frequently than every 40 days, or having heavier than average periods that last eight days or longer, you should see a doctor,” she says.
Irregularity or absence of ovulation might be an indication of an issue polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and is reason to talk to a doctor as well.
If a doctor’s visit is needed, Urrutia says it will usually include an ultrasound, Pap smear and testing for an infection. Some of the common causes of long or irregular periods include PCOS, polyps, fibroids, infection or pregnancy.
Urrutia says, “Tracking your cycles can also shed light on health issues that could happen in the future. Really long periods and PCOS are associated with increased rates of heart disease, diabetes and other long-term health risks.”
Getting Started with Tracking
First, start by keeping up with your period’s beginning and ending dates. You can do that on a paper calendar or use one of many apps available. But be careful when it comes to any predictions the app makes about your cycle.
“Many of the period tracker apps out there only track dates of your period and then predict a day that it thinks you ovulated. For women with very regular cycles it might be accurate,” Urrutia says, but it won’t help women with irregular cycles and very few of these apps have undergone testing to be sure that their predictions are accurate.
Some apps allow you to keep track of mucus and basal body temperature, which together produce a more accurate picture of what’s happening in your body.
While technology may be convenient, Urrutia advises that if you are tracking your cycle as a way to prevent pregnancy, there is only one app—Natural Cycles—that has been approved by the FDA as a fertility awareness-based method of contraception. Urrutia has led research on how little information is available to those who practice fertility awareness-based contraception, and she urges all women to learn more about contraception methods.
And if you’re looking to learn more about your body ahead of a possible pregnancy, tracking cycles is a great place to start.
“For women who want to learn more about their fertility, it’s a good way to gain more knowledge about how everything works,” Urrutia says.
Looking for an OB-GYN? Find one near you.
How Keeping Track of Your Menstrual Cycle Can Help Your Health
Jeffrey Coolidge / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Keeping track of your periods is a good idea. After all, you don't want to be caught unprepared when your menstrual flow begins. But did you realize keeping track of your periods can also give you important information about your health?
Tracking helps both you and your health-care provider see patterns that may develop during your menstrual cycles which may indicate a possible menstrual cycle disorder.
Everything about your period says something about your health, including:
- how often it comes
- how heavy you bleed
- how much pain you have
- how you feel emotionally
At your regular yearly physical your healthcare provider will ask you about your periods.
The first question your health care provider will ly ask you is when was the first day of your last menstrual period or LMP. This will be an easy question to answer accurately if you have been keeping track of your menstrual cycles.
Your healthcare provider will want to know more details about your menstrual cycle. It is very helpful if you have recorded the length of your menstrual cycles, the amount of blood flow you experience, any bleeding in between your periods, and any symptoms you may have.
If you develop a menstrual cycle disorder, or if another health issue arises, your menstrual cycle calendar can help you get a quicker, and perhaps more accurate, diagnosis.
You can use any type of calendar to track your menstrual cycle. You need to make sure whatever type of calendar you are using has enough space for you to make notes. You will be recording the days you have your period and any physical or emotional symptoms that you experience during your menstrual cycle. Remember, you’ll be sharing your menstrual cycle calendar with your doctor.
It’s important to chart the days you menstruate and the amount of flow you have even if you have predictable periods that always start and end on time, and no symptoms to chart.
- Write when you bleed. Mark down the first day of your period. You will also want to make a mark on each day until your period stops. In addition to charting your period bleeding be sure to note each day you experience any vaginal bleeding, even if it’s a day when you spot or bleed between periods. Also, indicate on your calendar if bleeding is exceptionally light or heavy.
- Describe the bleeding. The amount and quality of your bleeding are as important as how long and how often you bleed. Be sure to note a description of your bleeding each day. Consider these descriptions:
- Heavy, light or just spotting
- Dark brown or bright red
- Clots or watery flow
- Record how you feel.
- Have you felt anxious or depressed?
- Were you bloated today?
- Did you have a headache or any other pain?
- Are you experiencing more stress than usual?
- Are you having very painful menstrual cramps?
- Rate your day. Use a scale of from 1 to 10 to rate your days.
Rate your worst possible day with the number 1 and use the number 10 when you have your best possible days—days when you feel completely healthy and happy. Take time every day to rate your day—even if all your days are 10s!
- Keep track of medications. It is important that you write down any medications that you take during your period. If you occasionally take any over the counter or prescribed drugs to treat your period pain or other symptoms, write them down on the appropriate day. The same is true for any supplements or herbal remedies. This is particularly useful when side effects or drug interactions develop.
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What are your concerns?
Why You Should Start Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle
A notification from my menstrual cycle tracking app just popped up to tell me ‘PMS is coming’. While this may sound a little ominous, it’s helpful to know. I’m on day 26 of my cycle, and this week I’ve felt my anxiety peak – something that often happens in the days leading up to my period.
Armed with this information, I know I need to take things a little easier over the next week or so. I can allow anxiety to make itself known in my body without judgement or fear, while ramping up my self-care to manage it.
A couple of years ago, I didn’t know anything about my cycle, apart from the fact it brought a lot of pain, tears, and chocolate cravings. It wasn’t until I started tracking both my mood, and my cycle, that I noticed the pattern of anxiety spiking around the time of my period. And I’m certainly not alone with this.
Many of us will notice a change in mood; we all differ in how severely we’re affected – some will barely notice a change, while others find themselves battling with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD, a condition that causes severe depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts, around the time of your period).
Before we explore the mental health side of things, it’s important to understand the different phases of our cycle:
This is when we get our period. Many people will notice a change in their energy levels, feeling more tired than usual, and withdrawn. The first few days of your period may involve painful cramps, and a general desire to hide under a duvet clutching a hot water bottle and a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk – just me?
Around halfway through the period, oestrogen levels rise and our mood lifts. We start to feel more ‘us’, and pain generally eases.
After menstruation, our oestrogen and testosterone levels rise, and our mood stabilises. Generally, at this point, you should feel calm, and as if all is right with the world.
When we start to ovulate, our testosterone levels spike, which gives us an increased sex drive. As well as feeling in the mood for love, you should feel more confident. By the end of the ovulation phase, your oestrogen and testosterone levels will drop. This can make you feel tired and you may notice PMS- symptoms.
If you experience PMS, this will be the week you’ll feel it. This is down to low levels of oestrogen. The hormone changes that take place throughout our cycles lead to the shifts in our mood.
Claire Baker, women’s coach and menstrual educator, explains: “The rise and fall of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone over a cycle, can affect mood, emotions, and mental health, because hormones change the chemistry of the brain.
“This influence is complex and unique to the individual. It’s natural to feel a little different, week-to-week, as hormones shift, but very disruptive changes in mood and mental health might point to a hormonal imbalance.”
So why do these hormone changes affect our mood? Two of the key hormones that fluctuate are oestrogen and progesterone, which regulate neurotransmitters serotonin (dubbed ‘the happy hormone’) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (which relieves anxiety).
Many women find that their mental health needs more attention on certain days of the cycle
Oestrogen and progesterone levels rise during ovulation to prepare for pregnancy. If we don’t conceive, these levels drop to prepare for menstruation. This rise and fall takes a toll on us mentally.
The impact on our mental health
“The impact of menstruation on mental health is often greatly underestimated,” counsellor Simone Ayers tells us. “Experiences vary on a spectrum of mood changes – from increased stress and anxiety, to suicidal thoughts, and the use of self-harm to cope with the intense feelings that menstruation can cause.”
For those who already struggle with their mental health, they may notice a spike in their symptoms, Simone notes. This is known as premenstrual exacerbation (PME) and can affect both mental and physical illnesses, including anxiety, depression, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.
“For those who need extra support to be able to cope with their menstrual cycle, it can be a long journey to find the right treatment – which may include any combination of hormonal treatments, antidepressants, talking therapy, and lifestyle changes such as moderated work schedules and dietary changes,” Simone says.
OK, so the bad news is that our menstrual cycle can be linked to some pretty difficult mental health challenges. The good news is, with knowledge comes power.
Why you should start tracking your cycle
Cycle tracking may sound a little scientific, but it’s actually really simple. There are countless apps to help (we love Clue, Moody Month, and Flo), but you could also make notes in a journal.
The key things to keep track of are the day of your cycle (the first day you bleed is day one) and how you’re feeling. Over time you’ll have a better understanding of your cycle, and how it affects you.
“Menstrual cycle awareness helps people identify where their strengths and vulnerabilities lie in the cycle,” says Claire. “Each phase of the menstrual cycle may benefit from a different approach to self-care, work, or relationships. Tracking helps to reveal how to live more in flow with this internal rhythm.
“Many women find their mental health needs more attention on certain days of the cycle, and this awareness itself can literally save lives. I look forward to the day when our mental health systems integrate and prioritise menstrual cycle awareness.”
So, what can we do when we feel our cycle impacting our mental health? Claire says it’s all about self-care.
“At more vulnerable points in the cycle, the best kind of self-care includes a combination of getting professional and personal support, taking some space, and having personal boundaries, moving slowly, drinking lots of water, and sleeping as much as possible. Knowing where our sensitivities lie in the cycle, and being tender with ourselves at these times, is excellent and transformative self-care.”
Raising your awareness is your first step to gaining control, and if you think you would benefit from professional mental health support at any time, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Learn more about Claire’s coaching services and menstrual awareness courses at thisislifeblood.com
What is PMDD?
“Women living with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can experience a huge impact on their quality of life, due to the constant cycle of deep depression that lasts for extended periods each month. Relationships and work can also be affected due to social anxiety, and the debilitating effect of severely painful periods, which can also affect self-esteem and libido.” – counsellor Simone Ayers
Simone is based in Hertfordshire, but also offers online counselling sessions and supports those with PMDD. Learn more and get in touch via simoneayerscounselling.com