How Cycle Tracking Can Better Help You Understand Your Body
Hormone fluctuation is a natural part of every female’s menstrual cycle. When you feel changes in your mood, energy, food cravings, and more, it’s often your body communicating the shifts it’s experiencing. When you begin to track your cycle, you can better understand how hormonal changes impact your body and take proactive measures to keep yourself in tip-top shape.
While period and ovulation tracking is a common routine for people who are trying to get pregnant, women are increasingly implementing it in their everyday lives to improve their health and wellness. As it becomes easier, thanks to the growing availability of cycle tracking apps, you should consider doing so, too.
Here’s how cycle tracking can help you understand your body and give it the celebration and care it deserves.
Nourish Your Body
PMS cravings are just as common as pregnancy cravings. Just before your next menstrual cycle begins, you’ll probably experience a spike in your desire for carbs, starches, and sweets — all the foods that offer a quick spike in serotonin. After all, when you’re experiencing irritating hormone shifts, a dose of serotonin (the happy hormone) can feel great.
During your period, you may continue experiencing a desire for sweets due to your loss of blood and iron. However, increasing your carb and sweets intake can have negative effects. While you might feel a spike of energy, it can fade quickly and leave you feeling groggier and more bloated than ever.
Tracking your cycle can help you make better sense of your cravings and help you nourish your body with the right ingredients. If cravings spike at the end of your cycle, you can eat more healthful alternatives like sugar-free treats and fruit. Or, if your sweet tooth hits during your period, you can reach for iron-rich foods like sweet potatoes, dates, meats, or dark, leafy greens to feed your body what it’s really asking for.
Stabilize Your Mood
Mood swings are a common PMS symptom that can lead to serious mental health effects like anxiety attacks, depression, and high irritability. Cycle tracking allows you to take proactive measures before your PMS hits so you can stabilize your body to stabilize your mood.
One step you can take is cutting out caffeine and alcohol ahead of your period. This will help you avoid exacerbating your anxiousness or low energy levels, as well as avoid sudden shifts in your internal state.
If you’re prone to feeling on edge when PMS hits, making relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation parts of your routine can help you stay calm. Pairing relaxation with exercise is a great way to not only relieve stress but also keep your mood lifted when your body needs it the most.
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Protect Your Skin
When hormones shift, you can expect your skin to react. Even people with dry skin may start to experience oiliness, which is why breakouts commonly occur at the end of your menstrual cycle. As your skin changes, you might notice your skincare products not performing as well as they normally do.
Consider adding, removing, or replacing products in your skincare routine two weeks before your period starts. For example, you can use a salicylic acid serum to decongest your skin. If you’re using makeup that’s designed for dry skin, you can replace it with makeup for oily or combination skin as your testosterone levels rise.
A hormone shift can make you feel like something is “off” about your body. For instance, you may feel a sudden decrease in energy or unexplained pain in your lower back. However, when you start period tracking, you’ll start to notice that the symptoms you’re experiencing are normal and well-aligned with the phases of your cycle. For example, close to ovulation, you may notice yourself feeling sicker due to a lowered immune system or experiencing more vaginal discharge, which is perfectly healthy when it’s white or clear and relatively odorless.
When you know what symptoms are actually normal, you can better identify when something’s wrong. Or, when everything’s fine, you can save yourself a visit to the doctor’s office and reduce your reliance on strong medications by appropriately nourishing yourself.
Better Understand Your Body
Every body is different. When you start cycle tracking, you can better understand how hormone changes personally affect you. This way, you can take proactive measures to ease your negative symptoms — and you can ease your health concerns when the changes you’re experiencing are normal parts of your hormone shifts.
Cycle tracking empowers you to listen to your body in its times of need. For example, instead of eating unhealthy foods to calm your PMS or period cravings for a short period of time, you can nourish them with the nutrients your body is actually calling for. You can also use your knowledge of your cycle to stabilize your mood and your skin with the right activities and products, well before issues arise.
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Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including health and wellness. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the author of this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.