What I Have Learned From Tracking My Menstrual Cycles

What I Have Learned From Tracking My Menstrual Cycles

Find my planner here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KJGW4ZR

A few months ago now, I decided to start tracking how I feel each during my menstrual cycle. This was due to me wanting to figure out if there is a pattern to my moderate to severe physical issues I go through each month.

This tracking has given me more insight into what may be the problem. In this post, I wanted to sum up what I have learned and talk about my next steps in treating it.

What I experience during my menstrual cycles

I seem to experience a lot during my cycles! The following will be a break down of what my cycle days look like:

Physical and Mental symptoms

Days 1-9: These are the days during our cycles when estrogen begins to rise after having been low for a while. During this time I experience GI issues, sadness, irritability, happiness, headaches and usually some post-COVID symptoms (chest aches, tickly throat at night, post-nasal drip and itchy nose).

It seems like if I only have bad GI issues, I experience the sadness and irritability. If I only have really mild GI issues with the post-COVID issues, I feel happy. Weird!

Days 10-17: This is when estrogen and testosterone are rising up (days 10-14). Then on days 15-17, the estrogen and testosterone drop while progesterone rises. On these days I am happy, motivated, energetic, creative, confident, clear minded, sexual and deal with bleeding gums. I also have cravings for certain things on days 15-17.

Days 18-22: On these days, progesterone is pretty high and estrogen is rising up a little. These days are the worst for me. I experience severe GI issues, no sex drive, sometimes spotting (days 20-21), decrease in physical/mental energy, sadness, irritability, post-COVID stuff (chest aches and air hunger), lightheadedness and headaches.

Days 23-27: On these days, progesterone and estrogen get low. I experience cravings, appetite increase, nervous energy, bloating, aches/pains, itchiness, easy to tears over dumb things, laziness, insomnia, happiness at times, air hunger (day 26), chest aches (days 25-26), tingly left foot (days 25-26) and feeling ugly.

I also get pink eye at least once during my cycle and for the past 25 days have had stomach pains that do not go away that much with Tylenol. My belief is that these are only due to my post-viral condition and not hormonally related.

What I take from all of this

After looking over all of this, I think that I am very sensitive to my estrogen level rising. This is due to the fact that my horrible symptoms seem to happen when this hormone is starting to rise.

Symptoms of high estrogen or a sensitivity to it are said to be as follows:

  1. Bleeding and spotting
  2. Headaches/migraines
  3. Breast tenderness
  4. Mood swings
  5. Low sex drive
  6. Insomnia
  7. Brain fog
  8. Bloating
  9. Anxiety
  10. Fatigue during the day
  11. Terrible PMS symptoms

The above list is basically what I experience when the estrogen is rising. I can not find anything about rising estrogen causing GI issues though. Maybe it is just something that happens to me.

This past cycle was pretty bad with bleeding at days 20-21 and a scary, hard black clot falling out of me. This current cycle is also bad so far. I am on day nine so hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow so I can have a break from this awfulness.

What I am going to do

I am not 100% sure on what will help me. My symptoms have been bad for years and I have yet to figure out things that reduce them.

The following is a list of ideas I came up with:

  1. Keep watching my carbs and doing IF- I plan to keep on doing this type of eating even though it really does not seem to be helping with my hormone issues. I still think it has benefits though.
  2. Keep taking anti-nausea stuff as needed (and I will need it for the foreseeable future!).
  3. Try breathing exercises- I read that these can help with mental distress so I am going to try and find some to do.
  4. Possible progesterone cream during my worst moments- On the most recent day where I was in horrible physical/mental distress, my husband put a tiny bit of progesterone cream on me as an experiment. This really calmed me down. I might apply some on other days that are like that.
  5. Take an antihistamine and avoid foods that are high in histamines- The Period Repair Manual book and ladies at the PMDD sub-reddit, mention hormonal issues as being a histamine intolerance problem. I may try to reduce the amount of histamines I take in and take something like Claritin to see if that helps any.

In conclusion: I still have a ways to go

It may take a while longer for me to fix or reduce these hormonal related issues I have. I am going to keep up the faith that I will find some relief some day.

Tracking how I am feeling each day has been really helpful and I highly recommend it for everyone. The is especially true if they are dealing with health issues that they are trying to figure out.

Here are some resources to look at regarding hormones:

https://www.composednutrition.com/blog/signs-of-high-estrogen

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16961/a-28day-guide-to-your-reproductive-cycle.html

Do any of you have issues with your menstrual cycles? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#menstrualcycle #periodproblems #pcos #hormones #larabriden #pms #pmdd #symptoms #covid19

HealthMinder Journal + Daily Women’s Health Planner

HealthMinder Journal + Daily Women’s Health Planner

I love using planners/journals and just writing things in general. There are many apps available so I could do planning/recording without writing, but I prefer the tactile experience of using a pen and paper.

I frequently look online for planners and/or journals to buy that might suit my needs better than the one (or ones!) I am using at the time. This means that I go through way too many planners to count.

Recently, I started using a journal called, HealthMinder. This post will provide a review of it as well as show the planner/journal I created.

The HealthMinder

The cover got screwed up….

This is a great journal that allows you to keep track of your health each day. The reason why I bought was because I wanted to stay on top of my symptoms that I get from hormonal changes and being a Post-COVID “Long-Hauler.”

HealthMinder separates out things you can record about how you are feeling each day mentally and physically as well as any other things that you like to take note of (blood pressure, blood sugar, weight etc.). I really like this feature because it makes it easier to look back and see what area problems are happening in.

The symptoms glossary can really help you with putting into words what you may be feeling. It also shows you what part of the body the feelings may fall under.

Although it is a pretty small section, I do like that there is space to put down what you ate each day. This is important if one is trying to figure out if diet is playing a role in the symptoms they are having.

I also love the health recording section in the back of the book. You can put down your medical history, insurance information, test results, contact information for your health care providers and any questions you may have so that you can remember to ask them at your appointments.

The aforementioned section in the back, allows you to have information all in one place. This makes it easier so that you do not have to search around in a bunch of different places to look things up.

In conclusion, the HealthMinder is a wonderful way to keep track and take care of your health. I would highly recommend it.

The following are pictures of the inside of the journal:

The company that makes the HealthMinder also makes other journals. These include the DietMinder (mainly for tracking food but also fitness), BodyMinder (mainly for tracking exercise but also food), CruiseMinder (for planning a cruise ship vacation), MaintenanceMinder (for helping one maintain their weight), DietMinder Junior (for helping children keep track of their food intake and exercise) and CodeMinder (helps you keep track of usernames and passwords).

The HealthMinder on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/HEALTHMINDER-Personal-Wellness-Journal-Symptoms/dp/0963796879/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=HealthMinder&qid=1602196410&sr=8-1

The MemoryMinder site to look at the other journals: http://www.memoryminder.com

My creation

While I really like the HealthMinder, there are some other things I want in a planner/journal. This is what led me to create my own!

I decided to call it the Daily Women’s Health Planner. This is because it is a combination of a health journal (like the HealthMinder) and a daily planner. Its features are as follows:

  1. Goals page- Provides space to write down any goals you want to reach.
  2. Health issues page- Space to write down your current and past health issues
  3. Workout plan pages- There are three of these pages so that you can write down the routine you want to have each week. This is great if you are like me and keep up the same workout routine for about six weeks.
  4. Menstrual cycle information page- This page gives a run down of what our hormones may be doing each day of our cycle and what our vaginal discharge should be like. It is nice to look back on to see what you may be feeling each day.
  5. The daily planner/journal pages- There are 180 days for you to track. Each day includes two pages. The first page for each day allows you to record the date, personal menstrual cycle information, mental/physical symptoms, supplements/medications taken, other health related things you want to track (blood pressure, O2 stats, hours slept etc.) and how your workout for the day went (if you did one). The second page for each day allows you to record a to-do list/schedule, your diet and how you thought your day was overall.
  6. Supplement/medication tracker- This provides spaces for you to write down the supplements/medications you currently take (and how they affect you) and supplements/medications you are interested in taking (and what you think they will do for you).
  7. Resources- This is just a short list of health-related apps, books and sites that may be of value to you.

This planner is perfect for me because everything I want to track is all in one place. I hope it will work out for anyone else who decides to use it too!

I made three different covers for the journal. In the near future, I plan on making the journal ring-bound because it makes it easier to open and use.

Here is my planner and one of the three covers it comes in:

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KJGW4ZR

Planners and journals can be great

Not everyone likes to use them but those of us who do, find them very helpful. There are so many of them to choose from that everyone who likes using them is likely to find one that suits their need.

The one I made is great for women and non-binary people who like to track and plan multiple things each day.

Do you like using journals and planners? Let me know which ones you like!

Thanks for reading!

#journaling #planners #todolists #health #symptoms #menstrualcycles #women #nonbinary