Periods! The guest of honour in every woman's life doesn't always have to unexpected. Thanks to smartphones and high-speed internet, you can now effectively track your periods. Aunt flow hits you once a week and can last anywhere between 3-5 days, sometimes even an entire week! A menstrual cycle ideally lasts 28 days, which is the time between your flow, approximately a month. However, this is just the most common scenario, some women do have menstrual cycles lasting anywhere between 21 days to 40 days. Every uterus is unique and functions in its own special way. Which is why it is so important to have a period tracker that will help you keep a track of these functions.
I am tired of losing beautiful new lacy underwear to the horrors of my periods. From the impromptu start to the exhausting spotting that takes place after the heavy flow days, nothing about it is fun. But ever since I've started using a period tracker, I get notifications when my PMS has begun, when to expect cramps and a notification 2 days before the start of my cycle, so I can wear black underwear and carry around an extra sanitary pad.
A period tracker will help you track your periods, it is a complete calendar of what your menstrual cycle will look like until your next period. It helps you plan for special events and work your everyday routine around your cycle. It will give you details about your ovulation, your fertility and when you are most likely to get pregnant. Using a period tracker has many benefits as listed below. In today's age, there are many apps available that will make the monthly visit smoother.
Surprises are exciting only when it's a Zara gift card. My period on the other hand, better announces its arrival. Getting notified about your period beforehand is a blessing in disguise. You will also get notifications about the beginning of your PMS and when to expect the end of your period. Gulabo, POPxo's very own period tracker that's inbuilt in the POPxo app is my favourite. Easy to use and bringing a smile on my face, despite the hormones, with its sassy sense of humour.
Using a period tracking app will give you a clear understanding of when you are ovulating, fertile, not fertile and when you are at the peak of your cycle. For women who are trying to get pregnant, this helps them understand when it is the best time to have sex so as to conceive.
Most women who suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) have irregular periods and are recommended by doctors to keep a track of their cycle. Using a period tracker like Gulabo does that for you with a simple click of a button.
Using a period tracker will help you understand the working of your period better. The beginning and the ending of the ovulation cycle, and the fertile phases of your period will also be traceable with a period tracker every month. You can also add technicalities like if your flow was heavy, medium or just spotting, so in case a red flag comes up, you can immediately consult a doctor.
You're well prepared for your next visit to your gynecologist. Your period tracker will provide your doctor with all the information necessary to check if you are on a healthy cycle and if you are suffering from any unnecessary cramps or health issues.
Period trackers have an option to select the days that you have had sex, this helps you keep a track of your sex life as well. If you are planning on having a baby or not have one, this is a simple way to have all the answers for your gynaecologist.
If you are on the pill, you can make regular notes of it on your period tracker. Some trackers even help you set an alarm for your pill, so you don't miss having it.
I tend to get bad cramps, headaches and mood swings during my periods. So it helps that I can add my moods and health issues to a section on the period tracker and know what to expect next month. This way, I can keep my necessary medicines on hand. I also tend to add little notes if I had panic attacks or bouts of depression during or just before my period, so I can discuss it with my therapist and find a solution.
Not just during your periods but even when you are PMSing, you can make a note of how you are feeling and reacting through the day. This will help you understand your mood swings and health issues like dizziness and nausea. You will also be able to track the days when your cramps and mood swings are the worst and prepare accordingly, so will medication or mental support from family and friends.
You can add details about bloating, water retention and other such common problems that occur just before your periods hit you. This way, you will pay attention to wearing comfortable clothes and eating healthier to keep your body in check.
Before you sign up for your first experience with a period tracker, there are a few things you should keep in mind. So here are a few tips to help you use your period tracker efficiently.
Everything you feed into the app should be accurate, from the beginning date to the end of your cycle. Especially if you are keeping a track of the days you've had sex and the intake of your birth control pills, you shouldn't ignore any tiny detail.
Never skip a month, because that causes all the information to go for a toss. Regular inputs are what helps your app give the details about your next cycle. Especially if you have PCOS and PCOD, your information is unpredictable in most cases, so regularity in feeding information to the database is important.
Small changes like your sleep cycle, eating unhealthy, exercising, travelling or falling sick can affect the regularity of your period. So no period tracking app is a 100% accurate, changes in your lifestyle can invariably result in changes in your menstrual cycle as well. You can add these changes in the notes section of your period tracking app and discuss them with your gynecologist later in case any problems arise.
Do not under any circumstances replace your daily methods of contraception with your period tracker app. Yes, the app may show you the days when you are the most fertile and when you are ovulating and when you aren't. However, do not use this as an excuse to have unprotected sex unless you are okay with the idea of an unplanned pregnancy and both you and your partner are tested for STDs.
- You can click on the Gulabo widget to get started. Login the necessary details once you download the POPxo app. The app will then ask you to log in with your email id or Facebook.
- Gulabo will ask you the date of your previous period to mark on the calendar.
- You will be asked to put in details about how long your previous cycle was. A normal cycle for any woman averages at 28 days.
- All your details can be edited in the settings. You can also add past cycles, it is recommended to add up to three months worth of details for Gulabo to accurately predict your next period.
- Turn on your notification so Gulabo can remind you when your red lover is visiting you next!
- POPxo's period tracker, Gulabo also has a 'feel better' section, on which you can click and read some informative articles about your menstrual cycle that will help you deal with it better.
As I mentioned before, no period tracker can replace contraception and save you from STDs. Do not depend on what your period tracker says about your fertile and non-fertile phase to have unprotected sex. Unless you are completely okay with an unplanned pregnancy and both you and your partner are tested for STDs.
Most period trackers are accurate enough but you cannot discount human error. Your period tracker is only as good as the information you feed it. So the more dedicated you are to your period tracker, the more accurate and helpful it is.
Period trackers work on a set database which predicts your cycle based on the information that you have added to the app. It is a convenient way to track your everyday flow, emotions and fertility. However, you cannot rely a 100% on any app as there is still space for error. If you are trying to get pregnant, then visiting a gynecologist is still your best option.
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Featured Image - Shutterstock
This story was updated in January 2019.
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