Yep, I am starting off the week by talking about periods. So, if reproductive health isn’t your cup of tea, check out the workout of the week or perhaps read up on the first monthly recap of Florida livin’.
When it comes to my phone and apps, the simpler the better. I can’t stand clutter (anywhere in my life), and the same goes for my phone. Red app notifications, oh heck no. I like to think that I am clearing up space on my phone when I’m erasing data, and while that is true, I’m simply obsessive about eliminating clutter.
I keep my apps to a minimum. Nearly every day I consider deleting Snapchat (because Instagram is where it’s at), but the one app I won’t negotiate is my period tracker: Clue – Period & Health Tracker.
By the way, this post is not sponsored. I am just that into tracking my cycle.
My personal period story should probably be saved for another post in and of itself, but, in a nutshell, here’s why I am particularly conscious of my cycle. After suffering from amenorrhea as a teen (which involved seeing a pediatric endocrinologist at Stanford Medical Center), ignorantly messing with my hormones by taking spironolactone per the advice of a dermatologist to help hormonal acne in my early twenties, and then taking an oral contraceptive for three years, I have witnessed, firsthand, how both my lifestyle and medications have altered my body’s natural ability to have a regular cycle.
From absent periods in my teens due to low bodyweight (over-exercising and under-eating) to bi-monthly periods (on spironolactone), I am grateful that my cycle is currently “regular.” I say regular lightly because a regular period varies from one woman to the next; but, I celebrate the fact that my body has a period every 25 to 30 days, give or take.
Before I go too far, I realize that this topic can be sensitive, and as explained above with my own cycle complications, I have honest empathy for those who struggle with their monthly cycle. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend visiting Robyn’s website, The Real Life RD, for insightful and valuable information on women’s health and healing your hormones.
For the past couple of years, my cycle seems to be running on its own month after month sans artificial hormones. So why do I use a period app? Well there is so much more to your monthly cycle than just your period. Female hormones are constantly fluctuating throughout the month which contributes to how you feel day to day, and are the blame for pesky PMS.
Did you know that PMS is not actually normal? It’s expected and stereotyped that women get irritable, have “mood swings”, and crave chocolate leading up to their period. And from someone who suffers from premenstrual symptoms, I can attest that these feelings are not “in our head.” What they are, however, are signals that something is off in our body.
After working closing with a naturopathic doctor, I now have a better understanding of how hormonal imbalances can affect not only our cycle, but our health and wellbeing as a whole.
Whether it’s tender breasts the week prior, irritability and high emotions (cue the tears) for a few days, or a headache the day prior to my period arriving, these symptoms that we have classified as “expected PMS” tell me that something needs tweaking. They are uncomfortable reminders that my body is not running optimally, and after all, that is one of my main priorities.
The Clue app allows me to not only track when my period arrives, but my mood, energy, skin (i.e. breakouts, hydration), as well as pain such as cramps, headaches, etc. It also has the option to track your cravings and digestion, body temperature, sleep, and more.
All in all, I track for personal awareness. It’s also helpful to have in your pocket when your doctor asks you when your last period was and anything else related to your cycle. For those who are truly gung-ho about their cycle, Clue automatically sends you an analysis of your cycle each month and has the ability to generate custom reports, too.
If you’re at all interested in your health (which I’m safely assuming you are because you’re here), don’t forget about your period, friends. If you haven’t given it much attention, aside from its monthly visit, think again. Using an app such as Clue may shed some light on patterns and symptoms of your cycle and overall health.
Now please excuse me, my PMS chocolate cravings are calling…