Ladies, this one is for you.
If you’re of the age where you are having a menstrual cycle, then you need to read this.
There is an essential knowledge about ourselves as women that just wasn’t taught to most of us.
This is about how your menstrual cycle actually works. This information is invaluable regardless of if you want to get pregnant, not get pregnant, or just understand why you have discharge, no discharge, or if your cycle is “normal”.
This is just so important to know, that I’ve written a bit of a longer post today so that you at least know the basics about how your menstrual cycle works.
Why should you track your menstrual cycle? There are many reasons to do so, to ensure things are normal, to know what your ‘regular’timing is, to be able to prevent pregnancy or time fertility properly to conceive. Tracking your cycle is easy, and it provides a lot of information that can be extremely helpful to your healthcare provider if you ever have something abnormal going on. You can track on paper, but in this day and age where technology is so easily accessed, I suggest getting an app. My preference is Kindara, a free app, that is based off of the book Taking Charge of your Fertility. You can choose to put as much or as little information into the app as you want, but it will over time learn your cycles and predict when you’ll ovulate and have your menses next.
Menses is a fancy word for your period, by the way. And ‘cycle’ is the length of the whole thing from day 1, until the start of your next menses.
The first day of your cycle is the first day that you start bleeding, actually bleeding and not just spotting. A normal cycle is regular,meaning it is the same length each month. It could be 28, 30, 32 or even 36 days long, and still be “normal” as long as it is regular.
While tracking your cycle you want to track how many days you are bleeding (menses), if you have any symptoms such as cramps, spotting,or anything else you want to add. You should also consider tracking your ovulation, depending on your goals with cycle tracking. The easiest way to track ovulation is to track cervical mucus. It can be dry, creamy, wet, or egg-white/mucousy consistency. There should not be odor or color with discharge. Egg-white and wet discharge should occur approximately 14 days before your next cycle starts. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or actively prevent pregnancy, you should also consider tracking cervical position. If you would like more information on that part of tracking, I would highly suggest reading Taking Charge of your Fertility.
There is one more piece of the puzzle you should know about.
Finally, a helpful way to track your cycle, but also hormone levels, and thyroid function, is to track your basal body temperature. To do this, have a digital thermometer on your bedside table. When you wake first thing in the morning, take your temp before you even get out of bed. You can easily add this piece of data to the app as well.