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Wellness

The Benefits of Tracking Your Period

Have you ever had anxiety because your period is a few days late? Or have you had an irregular period for months at a time? Have you found it difficult to figure out when Aunt Flo will be knocking on your door every month? Well, if you’ve experienced any of these issues, just know you’re not alone. Period irregularities can cause a lot of anxiety for people with a menstrual cycle. It’s easy to feel out of control while menstruating. It’s your own body, so why can’t you figure out when your cycle will be grazing your schedule? I first got my period when I was 14-years-old. I’ll never forget my period story. I got it right before a dance class. I wasn’t prepared, no tampon, no pad, nothing. So I did what any girl in a rush would do. Grabbed some tissue paper and ran into class. Do you remember your period story? Was it traumatic or pretty normal? I noticed when I was around 16 that my period was very unpredictable. I’d never be able to estimate when my period would decide to show up. It would just be there without any preparation or warning. I talked to my doctor and her suggestion was to put me on birth control, because not only would it help regulate my menstrual cycle but also support my fight against acne. 

The period app I’ve been using for a little over two years is Flo. Flo is an app available on Google Play and iTunes. Insider.com names Flo the best period tracking app to medically track your cycle. I first started using Flo when my doctor put me on birth control in order to help my intense struggles with acne. I wasn’t just using acne problems in order to be put on birth control, I promise. My acne was actually painful and causing many problems, physical and mental. My period was also incredibly irregular. So my doctor put me on birth control, which at first was really scary for that 5’0”, 16-year-old. Taking birth control just felt so… grown up and I didn’t like it. I didn’t know how to track something that never arrived at the same time every month. Because I was a bit scared of the adjustment to birth control, my doctor suggested 

downloading Flo. She said she used the app to track her cycle, which provided reassurance for me, proving the app was reliable enough because my doctor herself used it. Flo helps struggling menstruating people, people on IVF, people having a family, anyone who finds themselves in a tricky cycle situation, which could very well be all of us, right? “By logging your period's start and end dates, PMS symptoms, flow intensity, birth control usage, changes in vaginal discharge, water intake and hours slept, among others, you're essentially feeding the apps AI technology the data it needs to accurately predict your next cycle,” says Julia Guerra at Insider.com. By tracking every specific piece of data included in your cycle, Flo also helps predict how long your fertile window will last and how that will affect your sexual health. Every day you input how you’re feeling that day, including how heavy your flow is, what your mood is, if you’ve had any special activity that could affect your cycle, and any symptoms you’re having, like cramps, a headache, acne flare-ups, nausea, fatigue, etc. The app also tells you how long your cycle is and if it’s at a normal or irregular length as well as how long each period is and how that affects your everyday way of life. One of the most attractive features of the app for users is the Secret Chats feature that allows you to talk to a medical professional about your symptoms or experiences without judgment or opinions getting in the way. It allows you to express how your cycle is affecting your wellbeing as well as any events or situations that might have affected the breakdown of your cycle. Flo worked hard in development to create a safe, understanding space for the menstruating adults of the world, a space open for anyone and everyone. 

For $10 a month, you’ll be given an inside look into the world of your menstrual cycle, helping you to understand mental health, sexual health, physical health and your overall wellbeing as a menstruating human. A lot of users register for Flo because of its accurate ovulation prediction times. Ovulation is when a woman is most likely to get pregnant. Flo informs its user of this time and suggests low sexual activity. Flo is one of the most respected and used apps for sexually active people. Having a place to track their sexual activity is so rare and appreciated. If you are sexually active and looking to find regularity in your menstrual cycle while remaining sexually active, invest in Flo. You’ll be able to track your sexual experiences without feeling tied down or judged by outsiders. Flo is a transaction between you and the app. No one else. 

Georgina Pink, dancer, performer, college student currently living in Milwaukee, WI has had quite an exhausting history with her menstrual cycle. “My period started when I was 11. It started right before a ballet class, it was horrible. I tried to track my period but for the first three or four years, it was so irregular, I just couldn’t,” said Pink. Georgie went on birth control at a very young age in order to try to regulate her cycle, however, that didn’t prove to help. Her doctors thought she was anemic, because of how inconsistent and painful her periods were. Georgie has pretty much tried everything when it comes to her period, birth control pills, a healthier diet, working out consistently, an IUD, nothing would consistently prove to be helpful. “After getting an IUD, I had my period for like eight months straight and I had to go to the ER because I lost so much blood,” said Georgie. This past year, on her 18th birthday, she went back on birth control pills. “Straightaway my period became regular again and I could track it with an app.” Georgie used a super simple period tracker called Pill Reminder. Pill Reminder is just that, a reminder to take your pill. About a month ago, Georgie stopped taking her birth control pill. She wanted to be more environmentally conscious and her way of doing that was by stopping her birth control. Many people after being on birth control notice it’s affecting their wellbeing, physically and emotionally, so they choose to stop the pill. Her period was somewhat normal at that point so it took her cycle time to adjust after being off birth control. She got her period again two days after stopping the pill. Now it’s a month later, she’s fully adjusted to being off the pill. Her period has spurts of irregularity, but nothing she can’t handle. 

Now you as an individual have the opportunity to figure out what kind of period tracker app works best for you and your lifestyle. For Georgie that period tracker was just a reminder to take her birth control pill, for me it’s an in-depth, medically-based, opinion available period tracker that explicitly depicts every portion of my cycle. You just need to figure out what works for you! People who menstruate are some of the strongest in the world in my opinion. Bleeding for seven days straight is something that most people wouldn’t be able to handle. Remember that when Aunt Flo comes crawling back this month. You’re strong, you’re not alone, and don’t be so hard on yourself. Make mental health a huge priority in your mental cycle. Rely on an app to ease your anxieties and stresses surrounding your menstrual cycle. And remember, the first app isn’t always going to be the one for you. Try different programs, see if your cycle requires a rigorous app that checks in on you every day or one like Georgie’s program, just a simple reminder to take your pill!

Meguire Hennes is a Her Campus Editorial Intern and a senior at Montclair State University. She is majoring in Fashion Studies. Meguire is excited to share her knowledge of pop culture, music, today's fashion and beauty trends, self love/mental health, astrology, and musical theatre. When not writing or in class, Meguire can be found living her best Carrie Bradshaw life in NYC, singing 70s/80s classic rock a little too loud in the shower, or watching her favorite rom-coms over and over again. Coming from a small town in Wisconsin, she's excited to see what adventures await her in the big city!
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