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Menstrual Cycle Tracking

Ben­e­fits of under­stand­ing your cycle

Men­stru­al cycle track­ing has been used by many women as a tool to get preg­nant; how­ev­er, the ben­e­fits of track­ing your men­stru­al cycle can go beyond know­ing when you are ovulating.

Your hor­mone lev­els impact how you feel phys­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly. As your estro­gen and prog­es­terone hor­mone lev­els fluc­tu­ate through­out your cycle, you can expe­ri­ence phys­i­cal symp­toms such as breast ten­der­ness, abdom­i­nal cramp­ing, bloat­ing and gas. The changes in your hor­mones can also cause changes in your mood, ener­gy lev­els and more.

Men­stru­al cycle track­ing can help you under­stand what is hap­pen­ing inside your body and pro­vide valu­able insight on what to expect dur­ing your cycle so you are able to bet­ter care for yourself.

What is men­stru­al cycle tracking?

Men­stru­al cycle track­ing is a method used to observe the phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al aspects of your cycle. Mon­i­tor­ing your men­stru­al cycle can pro­vide you with a bet­ter under­stand­ing of your body and your needs at any giv­en time through­out the month.

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about your fer­til­i­ty each month, track­ing your symp­toms can allow you to iden­ti­fy pat­terns that you may expe­ri­ence through­out your cycle. The fluc­tu­a­tions in your hor­mone lev­els can impact every­thing from the foods you crave to your ener­gy lev­els and sex drive.

There are many ways to log your men­stru­al cycle infor­ma­tion. You can note your find­ings on pen and paper or use an app on your smart phone or tablet.

A Look Inside: What Hap­pens Through­out Your Cycle

Your men­stru­al cycle starts on the first day of your peri­od and ends on the first day of your next peri­od. Typ­i­cal­ly, the range for a reg­u­lar cycle is any­where from 21 to 34 days.

The begin­ning of your cycle, com­mon­ly referred to as your peri­od, is when you bleed and shed the tis­sue lin­ing of your uterus. Many women have their peri­od for four to eight days. Dur­ing this time, the hor­mone estro­gen is low, which can lead to changes in mood.

In the first days of your cycle, fol­li­cles that con­tain eggs devel­op on your ovaries. By the eighth day of your cycle, one egg con­tin­ues to grow and your estro­gen lev­el ris­es. The high­er estro­gen lev­el caus­es the lin­ing of your uterus to thick­en to pre­pare for preg­nan­cy. Estro­gen boosts the feel good” endor­phins that lead to increased ener­gy and feel­ing calm.

Your estro­gen lev­el con­tin­ues to increase until around day 14 of your cycle, when it is at its high­est. This high lev­el trig­gers a rise in the luteiniz­ing hor­mone (LH), result­ing in ovu­la­tion. Dur­ing ovu­la­tion, your fol­li­cle rup­tures and your egg is released. Due to an increased estro­gen lev­el, many women feel their best in the days lead­ing up to ovulation.

As your egg trav­els from your ovaries to your uterus, your body pro­duces more of the hor­mone prog­es­terone to sup­port a con­tin­ued thick­en­ing of your uter­ine lin­ing. If your egg is not fer­til­ized, estro­gen and prog­es­terone lev­els begin to drop, which can cause changes in your mood and low­er lev­els of energy.

Take Action: Opti­mize Your Time

Although each woman may expe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent symp­toms through­out their cycle, under­stand­ing how your hor­mone lev­els impact your ener­gy and mood can allow you to under­stand your body bet­ter and cre­ate more bal­ance in your life. 

Pri­or­i­tiz­ing healthy sleep habits, eat­ing a bal­anced diet and drink­ing plen­ty of water plays a vital role in pro­mot­ing good health. 

Dur­ing Your Period

As a result of low estro­gen lev­els, you may expe­ri­ence low ener­gy and/​or feel­ings of irri­tabil­i­ty and/​or oth­er changes in mood dur­ing your peri­od. Allo­cat­ing time for rest and engag­ing in lighter move­ment to pre­serve your ener­gy can go a long way in pro­mot­ing bet­ter health. Con­sid­er activ­i­ties such as gen­tle yoga, stretch­ing or tak­ing a walk outside.

Pre-Ovu­la­tion

As estro­gen and prog­es­terone lev­els begin to rise, many women expe­ri­ence increased ener­gy, but low sta­mi­na. Light car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise, such as a light run, is ide­al dur­ing this time of your cycle. Your body tem­per­a­ture increas­es before ovu­la­tion, which may lead to dis­rupt­ed sleep. Lim­it­ing your caf­feine intake, light exer­cise and main­tain­ing a con­sis­tent bed­time rou­tine can sup­port a bet­ter night’s sleep.

Ovu­la­tion

Your estro­gen lev­el peaks dur­ing ovu­la­tion, while prog­es­terone lev­els con­tin­ue to increase. Many women feel their best dur­ing ovu­la­tion, expe­ri­enc­ing sus­tained peri­ods of high ener­gy, a bal­anced mood and a pos­i­tive out­look. This is the opti­mal time to engage in more rig­or­ous exer­cise, such as high-inten­si­ty inter­val work­outs or longer runs. For many women, days 12 through 14 are the most fer­tile dur­ing their cycle.

Post-Ovu­la­tion

If you are not preg­nant, your lev­els of estro­gen and prog­es­terone decrease rapid­ly, and you may expe­ri­ence low­er ener­gy and changes in your mood. Dur­ing this time, your body is prepar­ing for your next men­stru­al cycle, so con­sid­er light exer­cise such as gen­tle yoga or swim­ming. Many women expe­ri­ence the most fatigue and slug­gish­ness dur­ing the last week of their cycle. Sched­ul­ing down time or keep­ing your extra com­mit­ments to a min­i­mum can help pri­or­i­tize rest and main­tain balance. 

Whether you are try­ing to become preg­nant or look­ing to bet­ter under­stand your repro­duc­tive sys­tem, men­stru­al cycle track­ing can pro­vide valu­able insights on the inner work­ings of your body. For more tips on wom­en’s health, or to sched­ule an appoint­ment with your obste­tri­cian or gyne­col­o­gist, please call 1 – 888-MY-DMG-DR (18886936437) or sched­ule an appoint­ment online.

Health Topics:

  • Quality, individualized care grows from a partnership between a patient and her doctor. I believe in building this relationship through collaboration in a trusting, compassionate, and open relationship. As a team, we can work together to solve problems and promote health in any aspect of care throughout a woman’s life, from adolescence to menopause.