Some people (like Jess here) experience a cycle of changing progesterone and estrogen that lasts 20-30(ish) days. This process can be a bear on your body.

The good thing is that this happens in a cycle. It doesn't matter if your hormones are self-produced or prescribed, tracking your menstrual cycle can help you keep control of your life.

new girl pms GIF

Choose Your Calendar

Paper

Pros

  • Private from outside eyes

  • Customizable

  • Easily destroyed

Cons

  • Easily destroyed

  • Yet another thing to carry

App

Pros

  • Portable - in your phone

  • Can be backed up

  • Can do cycle calculations and predictions for you

Cons

  • Your private health information is technically not protected

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Doctor Who Television GIF by BBC America

What Should I Track?

Track any of the following as appropriate for you.

  • bloating

  • cramps

  • increased or decreased libido

  • increased irritability or other "over-emotional" feelings

  • constipation

  • migraines and headaches

  • uterine shedding ("bleeding")

  • vaginal secretions

First World Problems

Make Sense Of Your Observations

Everyone's cycle is unique. Yours will be different from your roommate's. It might even vary from your previous cycle. This is not unusual.

You will still notice patterns, keeping you in control of your body.

Quiz

You have a monthly cycle that often seems irregular, but you have noticed that you bloat, get cramps, and feel low energy. Would tracking this help you?

Align Observations With Cycle Phases

If applicable to you, aligning your observations with common phases of the cycle can give you even more predictive power!

menstruation GIF Physical changes to a face (bloating, bloodflow) due to menstrual hormones

  • Menstrual/Menses - Progesterone production/dosage stops; cramps; a uterus, if present and able to, will shed its lining.

  • Follicular - Estrogen production/dosage starts; preparation to ovulate and ovulation for a person with ovaries, sometimes accompanied by cramping.

  • Luteal - Progesterone production/dosage starts and increases; bloating ; discomfort; and other PMS symptoms.

Summary

awkward old school GIF by absurdnoise Don't let your menstrual cycle bring you down! Instead:

laverne cox happy dance GIF by ABC Network The more information you have about your body the more in control you are!

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This Byte has been authored by

EC

Elizabeth Cahill

she/her/hers | Curriculum & Instructional Designer