As I'm sure you may know, our menstrual (or 'moon') cycle and the female body as a whole is incredible!! There are so many mechanisms, messages and information moving throughout our body during the month, it truly is amazing.
When it comes to tuning in to our bodies basically anything that comes OUT; tears, sweat, saliva, urine, stool and in particular *blood*, tells us what’s happening INSIDE and how our 11 body systems are functioning and interacting.
Learning to listen and read this information is directly communicating with our beautiful vessel that carries us through life and can help us understand what our body wants and needs in order to feel balanced and work at optimal capacity. Often when we bring our period back in sync the rest of our body naturally follows - as we are one whole package. Our period can give us so many answers and below I show you the information to take note of to help you feel empowered and get on track.
There's a lot of information I'm excited to share with you but for now we'll focus on the things I suggest to note while you are menstruating, each and every month, and why.
THE 6 THINGS TO RECORD FOR YOUR BLEED + OVULATION
Date of period starting
This is day 1 of bleeding – when any blood is being released till the next time when bleeding begins again, this is a full cycle.
Number of days bleeding
Record each of the days you bleed including the days of spotting too.
Colour of your blood
record each days colour
rust, brown, bright red, deep red, dark red, purple, black / very dark
Consistency of your blood
It’s easier to tell the consistency when showering or going to the toilet and letting the blood flow then.
clean : no bits just smooth flowing blood
thick and tacky
very thin and watery
mucusy blood : looks pinky and not really a blood consistency
gritty : like coffee grinds
clots : these are coagulated blood blobs (when pressed between your fingers these cannot be squished), note the size of the clots : rice grain, pea, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent etc and note how many clots if they are larger
fibrous tissue : these look like little spider veins or little pieces of stringy bits of tissue
This can be tricky to gauge if you're not using a menstrual cup and it also varies for each person and their individual circumstances. If possible don’t use tampons at all or only for the first 2 days then continue with pads, menstrual cups or menstrual underwear. If using tampons note how often the tampon is 'soaked' and the absorbancy used (regular, super etc) (always use the lowest absorbency, change every few hours, definately choose organic and never use a tampon at night). If using pads note the number used per day etc. From this you’ll be able to guage if it is heavy, medium, light or scant (very light – barely anything) flow for you and just be able to write that for future cycle notes.
Take note of anything you experience in the lead up, during your bleed and afterwards.
Cramps or pain
If so where : low back, one side / ovary, low belly,
If so what type: full feeling, heavy or bearing down sensation, ache, sharp, stabby, intense – needing painkillers
If you head straight for painkillers tune in to see if you really need them or if it is habit. Taking note of the actual discomfort can tell you so much so try not to mask it unless absolutely necessary. Experiencing anything other than a light dull sensation or very mild cramp is related to an imbalanced flow and can be helped and improved.
Breast tenderness or fullness
Skin flare ups
Note where (chin and jaw line, forehead, cheeks, upper back)
Not feeling in control, sad, angry, irritated / aggitated, short fused, feeling dark, depressive and low, stressed, uneasy, overwhelmed, crying easily or teary
Do you feel exhausted before your flow or after?
Do you feel better with the flow starting?
good, low, very good, wiped / exhausted, dizzy
Change in bowel movements (looser or constipation, skipping days), bloating, cravings, appetite
If so where (whole body, feet, belly, face)
Changes to sleep, dreams, restless (body or mind or both), night sweats, temperature changes
If so where on the head (forehead, base of skull (occiput), neck tension, temples, brows, behind the eye, top of head (vertex), whole head, fuzzy, foggy, lack of focus or clarityfloaters (white dots in your vision)
Ovulation is the time when it's baby (or potential baby) making. Regardless if we are hoping to conceive (get pregnant), or not, we still want a balanced cycle, which includes happy ovulation. Ideally we want this to occur in the middle of our cycle - so day 1 is the 1st day of bleeding we would want it around the half way mark to the next day 1. When we are ovulating an egg has been released from a follicle within one of our ovaries and is on it's way down one of our fallopian tubes, hoping to meet with a confident and healthy sperm. What we are looking for during this very small time frame is a different sort of discharge. We have vaginal discharge all month, a light mucus from the vagina ensuring it stays moist (yes, this is the most appropriate word to use haha) and we have cervical mucus - being released during ovulation. This cervical mucus is much thicker and a raw egg white consistency. When you touch it, and I strongly encourage you to do so whenever it occurs to get a clear reading, it is stringy and pully. Take note of the date when you see this and add it to your period tracking notes. Add any other information like physical symptoms (breast tenderness, bloating, spot of blood, crampy) or any emotional changes as well.
HOW DO I RECORD THE INFORMATION OF MY CYCLE ?
You don’t need to write a huge amount when recording these details. And remember there is no wrong way to take these notes. If you wish to write a little more or less go for it, just make sure to include the relevant information you experience. It's a beautiful ritual to also tune in. Use this opportunity to also journal about how you are feeling and where you are at in your life during this time.
I suggest either using a physical journal or book OR the notes section of your phone to keep a record of all your period info. After a number of entries I email myself the page on my notes section of my phone to have another copy of it. To help you with note-taking you can opt to use these abbreviations.
· MP = menstrual pattern
· Tummy = digestive symptoms
· BM = bowel movement
· Emo = emotional irrit = irritable
· LBP = low back pain
· Scant = hardly anything
· Wiped = tired / exhausted
· h/a = headache
· pre = before
· post = after
MP start. 29 days
Sad and teary pre MP, better with flow start.
Day 1 good flow, deep rich red. Tummy fine. Some skin flare up on chin. Slight cramps, low belly. Day 2 heavy flow, some clots (pea size), deep rich red. slight tired. Day 3 lighter flow, cleaner blood, red brown. Day 4 scant red brown. Day 5 spotting, brown. Energy good with flow.
* ovulation 11.6.20
Spotting gritty brown for 2 days. Very emo / irrit. Strong cramps and LBP. Bloat, loose stools.
Day 3 flow start, heavy, 1 x 10 cent clot, some fibrous, deep purple. Emo better with flow and no cramps / LBP now. Left temple h/a for few hours. Day 4 lighter flow, deep red, clean blood. Day 5 lighter flow, deep red blood. Day 6 spotting brown, very scant. Feeling very wiped with flow.
WHY SHOULD I RECORD THIS INFORMATION ?
Recording this 'data' is so important to see patterns in our cycle.
This data is so useful to see what our period is trying to tell us, and to track what it is doing, to understand if we might need assistance in re-balancing it, to learn ways we ourselves can re-balance it and to utilise our flow to help us through life.
Tracking and recording our period can help us feel more in tune with ourselves, improve our physical, emotional and mental health, show us how our hormones are functioning, prepares our body for pregnancy and prepares our body for a smooth and comfortable transition into menopause. Our cycle gives us guidance and is a great reminder to make space, to care for self and connect to Us. Recording information throughout our cycle and in particular during our bleed helps us utilise the 4 seasons of our cycle to balance our body, mind and soul (more on this soon) and to be able to use this information to focus and support ourselves with life events or goals we may be working towards.
"The important thing to know is that having our period can be, and should be, a beautiful and enjoyable experience."
The important thing to know is that having our period can be, and should be, a beautiful and enjoyable experience. It is not a burden or something to be intentionally skipped because it is inconvenient. Getting comfortable with our cycle is a true connection to self and our feminine power. Know that pain and strong discomfort, emotional, digestive or skin changes, heavy bleeding / no bleeding / prolonged bleeding / reduced bleeding can all be messages your body would like some attention to help it function better and help you look and feel your best.
I'll be sharing much more on this and what the data means but for now getting into the habit of taking note to tune into your cycle and how you are feeling with your flow is a beautiful and important gift for yourself. You are so worth it.
There are a few other menstrual blogs I’ve written which you can read here.
Also if you are a mama of daughters that are nearing their menarche (start of their period) or they are already menstruating, this is a great opportunity to share this information with them and bring light to this topic to ensure they and our future generations of young women feel supported and nourished during womanhood. Opening communication around this topic through all age groups will help us connect and learn to appreciate, respect, honour and love the beauty of the female body, and all it's amazing functions.