Do you track your period? Better yet, do you chart your menstrual cycle and can you identify when or if you ovulate? And what’s the big deal anyway?
Over my years in practice I’ve created dozens of custom well-being plans for women struggling with heavy, painful periods, PMS, acne, mood-swings, bloating, tender breasts and navigating the transition off hormonal contraceptives.
Like many women, I always found my period was one of the trickiest parts of my menstrual cycle, until I started charting my menstrual cycle. By the way tracking your period with an app is not the same thing. Since then I’ve taught his life-changing skill to many women.
What I’ve noticed is that the women who chart their menstrual cycle, hands down, get the best results in the shortest amount of time with long-term benefits. They feel confident in their body and they know when and how to approach their doctor if they’re concerned about something.
If you’ve seen me for a 1:1 consultation you’ll know one of the first questions I ask is “do you chart your menstrual cycle”? But why is it important to chart your menstrual cycle even if you’re not trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy (don’t worry I’ll discuss these too)? That’s exactly what I’m going to explain in this article.
Sound intriguing enough? Let’s dive right in to 5 compelling reasons to chart your menstrual cycle…
1. Learn if and when you ovulate
Ovulation is key for a healthy menstrual cycle because it determines whether you make progesterone. If you don’t ovulate, you will not make progesterone. Why do you need to make progesterone? Progesterone is incredibly important because it:
- Influences your mood and the way your body breaks down fat.
- Prevents the release of all other eggs for the rest of your cycle.
- Causes the uterine lining to thicken and sustain itself until the corpus luteum disintegrates two weeks later.
- Causes the three primary fertility signs to change.
- Facilitates proper shedding at menstruation.
When you have enough progesterone you’ll feel calm, relaxed and in love with your life.
2. Achieve or avoid pregnancy naturally
As discussed earlier when you chart your menstrual cycle you learn to identify whether you ovulate. You also learn to identify whether you’re fertile or potentially fertile (contrary to pop culture you’re fertility window is only 3 – 5 days either side of ovulation).
Note: If you plan to use the fertility awareness method for contraception you’ll need to seek the guidance of a trained fertility awareness educator.
3. Become your own Health Advocate
When you learn to chart and track your menstrual cycle you take control of all facets of your health care and can visually see it’s unique patterns.
- You get to know what is normal for you and you’re the first one to notice any symptoms that may prompt you to seek medical care. This means you’re in the best position to get ahead of a health condition before it fully develops.
- Helps you identify your unique patterns and if your symptoms are:
- Cyclical by nature;
- Hormonally influenced;
- An underlying disease pattern that has not been identified;
- Whether current symptoms are changing;
- True gynaecological conditions can be more easily identified through charting including:
- Vaginal infections
- Unusual bleeding
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Breast lumps
4. Develop self-compassion
Our hormones rise and fall throughout our menstrual cycle, which influences our daily and weekly experiences both physically and emotionally. Charting your menstrual cycle helps you understand why you may feel a certain way during a certain part of each month.
Understanding your menstrual cycle can help you to recognise why you may feel extra tired or moody at certain times of the month. Knowing the pattern of your period and fluctuations of your feelings can help you pre-empt consistent changes and feel more prepared by tailoring your actions according to your cycle.
5. Plan your month more effectively
Become aware of when you are feeling most social, motivated, creative, intuitive or reflective and plan your physical activity, business meetings and social life accordingly.
Knowing what to do and when to do it is the key to unlocking the hidden opportunities in each phase of your menstrual cycle and maximising the magic!
When you chart your menstrual cycle, you understand your cycle (rather than the “textbook 28 day cycle”). Learning to work with your hormones, and the phases of your menstrual cycle is one of the most empowering acts we can take. And in these times, that is truly powerful.
I hope you can see the many benefits charting your menstrual cycle provides. If you have any questions about what I’ve discussed please leave a comment or drop me a line.
Start charting your menstrual cycle now, download my charts and menstrual symptoms diary here.