4 Reasons Women Are Starting to Track Their Periods
Technology has come a long way, especially where women’s health is concerned. Women can now use a smartphone app to track their periods and record details such as flow, mood, and cramping.1 Offered by Always, Tampax, Kotex, and major women’s health organizations, these apps are free and easy to use. Most allow users to record a wide variety of details about their daily experiences with their periods.
Tracking apps have become popular because many women find them easier to use than a traditional calendar for cycle tracking. App users simply plug in period dates and any symptoms they want to record, and the app does the rest of the work. Apps are an on-the-go solution that work wherever women have their phones, so life events such as vacations won’t interrupt tracking.
Despite the convenience of these apps, though, many women still wonder why they even need to track their periods. Women who aren’t sure it’s worth the effort should check out these four important reasons to track their menstrual cycles.
1. Never Be Caught Off Guard Again
A woman is out on a hot date, and she looks down to realize that there’s blood on her cute new pair of jeans. That feeling of embarrassment and dread is one every woman knows.
Women who track their periods are able to avoid such embarrassing situations. Period tracking apps provide an estimated date for an upcoming menstrual cycle. All users have to do is open their app, look at the predictions, and know when they should be prepared for bleeding.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the expected date for an upcoming period may be off by a few days. That’s because menstrual cycles may vary slightly from month to month. However, app users definitely know the time window for an upcoming period and can plan appropriately. Women who’ve tried tracking their period with the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method before will find that using an app is easier and may be more accurate.
2. Understand Hormone Changes and Mood Swings
Most women will suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some time in adulthood. This uncomfortable condition can bring on mood swings, cramps, nausea, and tiredness. It’s no fun to deal with, but it’s also a reality for many women. In fact, over 90 percent of women say that they experience PMS on a monthly basis.2
With a tracking app, women can record details about their pre-period symptoms and foods or activities that seem to affect them. While a period tracker can’t get rid of all the symptoms of PMS, it can help users manage them more effectively. If a woman knows that mood swings tend to affect her more in the two to three days leading up to her period, she can plan exercise and relaxation time into her schedule. If she’s noticed that her cramps seem to get worse when she eats certain foods, she will know to avoid them as her period approaches.
3. Track Ovulation and Fertility
Women who track their menstrual cycles learn about more than just upcoming period dates and how to control PMS symptoms. They also learn the approximate times when they’re ovulating too. Ovulation refers to the time when an ovary releases a mature egg down the fallopian tube.3 This egg is fertile, which means that this is the time of month when a woman is most likely to get pregnant.
For women who are trying to get pregnant, tracking the menstrual cycle offers valuable insights into when they should turn the heat up in the bedroom. For women who are struggling with pregnancy or infertility issues, tracking periods and expected ovulation windows provides valuable information that can be used by fertility doctors. Women who would like to use a period tracker primarily for ovulation tracking should choose one that allows them to make daily notes about mucus and discharge.
A period tracker can also be helpful for women who notice a dull ache or pain during ovulation, which is called Mittelschmerz.4 Tracking the menstrual cycle helps women predict when they might experience this pain. It can also help their doctors determine if the pain they’re feeling is caused by something other than ovulation. The right data makes it easier for doctors to pinpoint cycle-related problems.
4. It Provides Insight for Yearly Physicals
Almost every doctor a woman visits will ask her to record the date of her last period when she goes in for an office visit. Insight into a patient’s menstrual cycle helps doctors better understand overall patient health. Unfortunately, many women get to the doctor’s office and don’t remember essential data such as period dates or PMS symptoms. Women who use a tracking app can easily look up cycle details regardless of where they are. Doctors always appreciate having accurate information, and most women find that it also empowers them to take control over their own menstrual health.
Remember that tracking the menstrual cycle can give insights into mental health as well. Women who struggle with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue might notice that their symptoms change or become worse as their cycles progress. These women can benefit from using an app that helps them record how their cycles impact their sense of mental and emotional well-being. Cycle-tracking apps allow users to make proactive treatment or self-care plans with the help of medical and mental health professionals.