Firstly, what is a period tracker?

A period tracker is usually referring to an app that is used to log the days you have your period, your flow levels, as well as a range of other symptoms you experience throughout your cycle (yes, through the whole cycle!).

My personal favourite app that I use myself is called Flo (this is not sponsored I swear!). It drew me in because, well firstly and most importantly it’s completely FREE to download. I’m glad I did because it has been a bit of a lifesaver over the past couple of years. I feel like it knows me so well now (well, at least it knows my cycle well). It’s almost strange to think about going without it now!

There are plenty of different options out there when it comes to period tracker apps, but what’s most important is to find one that works for you. Some people even prefer to track their period entirely by themselves. Technically, you can track it non-digitally just using a calendar. Albeit this tends to be a bit more effort and not as effective (and why I recommend trying out an app specifically designed for tracking your period).

What does my cycle mean?

I’m assuming if you’re reading this that you have begun menstruating, on average every month, or once every 28 days for about 5 days in duration. But our cycles are SO much more than just our periods. Our cycle lasts for the WHOLE MONTH, not just those 5 days!!

A period tracker app will help you understand every phase of your cycle from PMS to menstruation, to pre-ovulation, ovulation…post-ovulation, and let you know WHEN they occur, so you can really get to know YOUR body and YOUR personal cycle.

How does my cycle affect me? 

Food cravings, changes in fitness and strength, ability to handle physical and emotional pain, libido levels and mental focus are all examples of things that can be drastically impacted by our cycles.

Did you know your pain tolerance is the highest on day 14 of your cycle? 
Or that your cycle can explain your changing food cravings?
Some of your symptoms might be related to your cycle!

Everyone is different, and experiences different symptoms during their cycle. Tracking them will help you make sense of ‘why am I like this?’ in the future, so you can be kind to yourself, set healthy expectations and achieve your goals in life!

How will I know when my period is coming?

This is the main reason that people start using a period tracker. Okay, so it might not be 100% accurate down to the hour, but it can get pretty dang close! Period tracker apps take into account the average cycle, and the time and duration of your previous period(s) (as well as any other symptoms you recorded experiencing during your cycle) to give you the closest possible prediction. The longer you have been using the app the more accurate it will be! Once your tracker knows you well, you can simply click in the log that your period started and it will closely predict when your period will finish, and when your next period is due.

The app starts sending you notifications a couple days before your period may start, just letting you know ‘hey, anytime now!’ – it’s a welcome friendly little reminder. Most of the time, I am relying on my phone to tell me when my period is coming. I’ve usually got an inkling that it’s due soon, but with all the things going on in my life, it’s nice to not have to rely on remembering myself. This gives you plenty of time to stock up on your period product of preference and replenish your stash of snacks.

This is why I am a big fan of period underwear rather than any other period product. When I am not sure if it is coming today, or tomorrow, or even the next day, I can just wear some period undies and not have to worry. There is no chance I would wear a tampon or menstrual cup before my period actually arrives! Before I discovered how freaking awesome period underwear were, I used to wear pads on the days I thought I was getting my period. The amount of pads I threw in the bin when my period didn't actually arrive that day was frustrating. I felt like it was such a waste of money and plastic.

What are the most (and least likely) times to get PREGNANT?

Period trackers don’t just track periods, they also track ovulation. Over time, period trackers can give you a fairly good indication of when this is occurring, down the day. This is super important because ovulation refers to the part of our cycle, approximately 14 days after our period, when an egg (or on the rare occasion, two) is released from the ovaries. Isn’t it strange to think that all of this is happening, and we can’t feel it?

Having sex during ovulation will give the highest chance of conception occurring (although far from a guarantee!). It’s also important to remember that sperm can live for up to 6 days!! So, it is definitely possible to get pregnant outside of the ovulation window. For people that are trying to conceive, knowing when you are ovulating will help give the best possible chance of getting pregnant – this is also known as fertility tracking!

As the app tells you when your period is expected, it will let you know when your period is running late and by how many days (remember fluctuations are normal!!) However, if you have been sexually active and it’s 5 days after the expected due date of your period and it has still not arrived, it could be an early sign of pregnancy. This is obviously useful information for anyone that’s sexually active, whether they are trying to conceive or not.

How is my menstrual cycle affecting my SEX DRIVE?

A lot of people don’t realise that our libido levels are closely linked with our cycle. It tends to hit its peak in what I refer to as the middle of the cycle (about a couple weeks after your period), around ovulation, and then starts to dip as it gets closer to your period again. You can also track your sex drive in your period tracker, and this way you’ll have a better understanding of how you normally feel and particular points in your cycle – which will help you have greater kindness and understanding towards your body! For me personally, it was so handy to know that I will almost never be ‘feeling into it’ right before my period. Being able to open my app and see it on my tracker really takes the pressure off.

How does my menstrual cycle affect my MOOD?

Period trackers aren’t always going to help you explain why you cried over that 1 minute cat compilation on Tiktok but they do help you explain a range of emotions. Often people feel more energetic around the time of ovulation and more, well, emotional leading up to their period, often called premenstrual syndrome (or PMS). When it’s close to my period and  I find myself getting ridiculously irritated or, yep, start crying over the smallest thing… and look over to my period app to see that my period is due tomorrow, it does give me some peace of mind.

Do you already use a period tracker? Or are planning to?

I hope this article was helpful either way. Let me know what you think of your period tracker below and which one is your fav!

I couldn’t live without mine!

Alex Wegner x

October 13, 2021 — Jessica Ross

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