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Benefits of using a period tracker

Benefits of using a period tracker

Do you know how long your menstrual cycle is? When your period shows up every month, is it a surprise or do you know it’s coming? When you go to the doctor and they ask for the first date of your last period, are you prepared or do you give them a blank stare? Have you ever been on vacation and been completely caught off guard by Aunt Flo?

Pixie Cup period tracker

Tracking your period can help in all of these situations! Whether you use an app, write everything down on a paper period tracker, or do something completely unique and creative in a bullet journal, keeping track of different symptoms throughout the month can provide you with a wealth of information about your body. Not only will you know when to expect your period, you’ll also know when you’re about to ovulate and be able to identify any unusual symptoms that could indicate a health problem. And, arming yourself with all of this in-depth information about your own body will ultimately make you more comfortable with your cycle and help you feel more in control around “that time of the month.”

So how do you track your cycle? Let’s dive in!

What is a period tracker?

A period tracker is a tool for tracking various symptoms related to your menstrual cycle. Depending on your individual needs, this could include keeping track of information such as:

  • Your period start and end dates
  • Your basal body temperature
  • Your flow volume
  • PMS symptoms such as cramps or bloating
  • Your mood
  • Irregularities or any areas of concern

Why should you track your period?

There are countless reasons to track your period! At a very basic level, it can help you understand essential information about your menstrual cycle, such as how long your cycle typically lasts. One of the most common reasons to track your period is so that you can predict when your period will start. No more wearing pantiliners for days “just in case” or wondering if it’s okay to plan that weekend camping trip!

Knowing what’s normal for your body will allow you to monitor your health more closely. If you notice any unusual symptoms emerge, you can share these with your doctor. A change in your menstrual cycle is often the first symptom of a health problem — even those that may not seem related to the reproductive system, such as a thyroid issue or diabetes.

Other benefits of tracking your cycle:

  • Plan important events around your period. You probably don’t want to worry about your period if you have an important event coming up, like a beach vacation or a wedding! Getting intimate with your cycle allows you to plan ahead.
  • Know when you’re ovulating. You can use this information to your advantage whether your goal is to conceive or avoid conception!
  • Plan around serious symptoms. Are you prone to anxiety, menstrual migraines, or severe cramps? You can look ahead and plan accordingly. Don’t make plans to go to a party if you know you’re going to want to binge watch your favorite show with a pint of ice cream!
  • Know right away if your period is later than expected.

How do you track your menstrual cycle?

The symptoms you choose to track are totally up to you! You can keep track of just the length of your cycle, or you can track everything on the list — even add your own information! Our downloadable period tracker includes spaces to track your flow, basal body temperature, cervical fluid, common PMS symptoms, and mood, along with blank lines so you can add any additional information you want to keep track of.

Let’s take a closer look at how to track and use some of this information.

Your flow

This one is fairly self explanatory: keep track of when your period starts and how long it lasts. The first day of your period is Day One of your cycle, so start a new sheet on that day. Fill in the appropriate box for each day of your cycle according to how heavy your flow is. You may even want to use different colors to make it easy to spot changes over time.

If you like, you can include additional data such as blood color or flow volume.

Basal body temperature

What is basal body temperature (BBT)? Your BBT is the lowest body temperature reached during rest. As you sleep, your body temperature drops slightly. The average BBT range is between 97.0 and 97.7 during the first part of your cycle, and it increases slightly after ovulation.

If you’re interested in keeping track of when you ovulate, your basal body temperature can tell you! Start taking your temperature first thing every morning when you wake up, before you get out of bed. You can use a regular digital thermometer, or if you want to get super exact, use a basal body temperature thermometer specially designed for tracking ovulation.

Hormones released during ovulation make your BBT increase slightly. Midway through your cycle (typically around day 14), you should notice a sudden spike in your BBT. This means you have ovulated! If you’re trying to conceive, now is the perfect time to have intercourse. On the other hand, if you’re not trying to get pregnant, this is NOT a good time to have unprotected sex.

Cervical mucus

Have you ever noticed a white or off-white discharge in your underwear or on the toilet paper? This cervical mucus, or cervical fluid, is another indication that ovulation is approaching. Cervical fluid is produced by the cervix, and it changes in appearance and consistency as estrogen levels rise and your body prepares for ovulation.

For a few days after your period, you likely won’t see any fluid. During this time, a follicle in your ovary starts producing estrogen as it prepares to release an egg. As estrogen levels increase, more cervical fluid is released. It may change from a creamy, white fluid to a clear, stretchy fluid that is often compared to egg whites.

The purpose of cervical fluid is to help your body get pregnant. The fluid gives sperm a substance to swim in; otherwise, the sperm wouldn’t be able to reach the egg after it’s released. You can use your period tracker to keep track of cervical fluid so that you know when you’re about to ovulate.

PMS symptoms

Keep track of any other symptoms you experience, such as bloating, cramps, headaches, fatigue, or acne. After a few months of tracking, you may start to see some patterns emerge. This will help you predict when these symptoms are likely to occur during your next cycle so you can be prepared.

How do you calculate when your next period will be?

After ovulation, your cycle enters a stage known as the luteal phase, which lasts until menstruation. This is when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. Levels of the hormone progesterone begin to rise, triggering the body to thicken the lining of the uterus. If you get pregnant, the fertilized egg has a nice, soft spot to implant and grow. If you don’t get pregnant, that lining is shed during your period.

Here’s the cool thing about the luteal phase: it’s very consistent. So if you know from tracking your cycle that your luteal phase is around 14 days, and if you also chart when you ovulate, you can get a really good idea of when your period will start.

What if your period is late?

Tracking your period will allow you to see right away if your period is late. After you’ve tracked for a few months and have a good idea of the length of your luteal phase, you should know within a couple of days if it’s time to go to the store for a pregnancy test!

You’ve probably heard that stress can delay menstruation. This is true — sort of. Stress can delay ovulation, but it won’t affect the luteal cycle. That means that stress during the first half of your cycle can delay your period, but stress that occurs after ovulation won’t have any effect on the length of your cycle. So if your period is late and you think worrying about it will just delay it further, it won’t! But, if you have severe or unusual stress around the middle of your cycle, it might be a good idea to note that on your tracker.

The end of your cycle

When your period starts again, it’s Day One of a new cycle. Make a note on your tracker of how long your cycle lasted. Unless you have a condition that affects menstruation, like PCOS, you’ll likely start to see a pattern emerge. If you know that your cycle is usually 28 days, you can plan around your period for months in advance!

Your period doesn’t have to be a mystery. Start tracking your cycle and you may be amazed at what you can learn about your own body! This is a lot of information, so don’t worry if it takes several cycles to get the hang of it! If you want to learn more about all of your menstrual symptoms and what they mean, check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

As always, if you have any questions, we’re here to help! We’d love to know how tracking your cycle has helped you. Drop a comment below to let us know!

Ready to start tracking? Download our handy period tracker and start getting to know your cycle!

How to break it to your guy that you use a menstrual cup

How to break it to your guy that you use a menstrual cup

So, you bought a Pixie Cup and decided that you’re sold FOR LIFE! Ain’t nobody gonna take that period freedom away from you! {ohhhh snap} ????‍♀️

So now that you’ve made that life-changing decision, the time has come to break it to your dreamy, perfect, and totally oblivious guy that you use a menstrual cup.

menstrual cup boyfriend

You have two options:

Option A: Let him find the cup on his own, give a quick explanation and awkwardly launch into a conversation about periods.

Option B: Tell it to him straight.

If you chose Option A, we wish you good luck and would love to laugh at the story with you later! But if you chose Option B… we are here to help!

Without further ado… here are some tips to help you break it to your guy that you use a menstrual cup.

Choose the time wisely

You’re probably going to have a moment where your period is in full power, and your emotions are running high. This is probably the worst time to tell your man that you use a menstrual cup! If you’re like me, when you’re on your period any well-meant words can be taken the wrong way. Set aside some time to talk to your guy when he is feeling really comfortable in your relationship. Chances are, he will be thrilled to see you embracing new ideas and living in freedom!

Be confident!

Your guy is probably going to be excited about anything that makes you happy and enhances your quality of life! If you are thrilled about your Pixie Cup, let him know! Tell him why you’re excited, and how it can affect your relationship for the better! Guys love to be active and have fun with their favorite person. Your man will be so excited to learn that you can now run, swim, hike, and live in freedom, even on your period.

Be understanding

Guys really get hit hard in our culture these days. Without getting too political here, we want all people, male and female, to feel loved and empowered to live fully. The truth is your husband or boyfriend may really be open-minded and excited to learn about your Pixie Cup. There is a possibility, though, that he will be a little uncomfortable with the topic, and that’s okay! You should never feel like your period is something to be ashamed of at any point, but it’s okay for guys to have time to adjust to the period conversation. Since they don’t have periods, men might feel intimidated by the idea of a cup at first (like maybe you did too), but as you kindly help them to understand what you are going through during menstruation, they will soon learn how to love you better through it.

Have you told your guy that you use a Pixie Cup? Share your story in the comments!

Hey Siri… is my period normal?

Hey Siri… is my period normal?

Yikes! Period talk. How embarrassing!

STOP RIGHT THERE.

Periods happen and they are something we need to talk about! Why? Because they happen, and sometimes there are periods that are not normal. If we don’t talk about periods, we can’t help each other stay balanced and healthy!

So stop bothering Siri and let us talk about them with you today.

First, why do we even have a period?

girl holding pixie menstrual cup pondering

Your period is, believe it or not, only a small part of your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle itself is a beautiful recurring system that ensures your body is healthy and ready for a potential pregnancy. At the start of the menstrual cycle, which begins after your last period’s flow ceases, your uterine lining is rebuilt and an egg is prepared for the middle phase which is ovulation. During ovulation, one of your ovaries releases an egg, and your body changes hormonally, preparing for a potential pregnancy. If the egg is fertilized, the egg will attach itself to the lining of the uterus and begin to grow, a tiny living human. If the egg is not fertilized your hormone levels will decrease and the uterus lining sheds during what we know as our “period week.”

What a beautiful, almost magical, process that our female bodies go through each month! Sometimes we are so accustomed to our cycle that we forget just how incredible and fascinating it is! The description we just gave you is really just a very simplified overview of the menstrual cycle, because we are ready to head into the next question…

What does a normal period look like? ?‍♀️

Get ready to find out! ?

Should I have a period? (Periods are totally normal! yay! ?)

I know sometimes we can lose sight of this fact, but this is important. Your period is a GOOD thing. Periods are just a part of this messy, amazing thing called life! If you don’t have a period… well, that could mean your body is a little unbalanced.

How much flow is too much? ?

According to the NHS, the average flow amount is between 6-8 teaspoons (or 30-40ml). This is normal! Sometimes it could feel like your flow is a lot more than this, but if you measure it you will likely find that there is actually less blood than you think. Measuring your flow is super easy (and extremely accurate) in your handy dandy Pixie Cup) but you can also measure your flow with tampons. A regular tampon holds 5ml of fluid, and a super tampon will hold about 10ml.

Is my period too long? (It feels like it lasts forever. ?)

A normal period lasts between 2-7 days. (Whew, that’s a big range!!) Yes it is! Although the average period is about 5 days long, there’s some flexibility there before you get to an abnormal range! If your period is lasting longer than 8 days, it’s time to set up that appointment with your gynecologist.

What if my cycle is more/less than 28 days? ?

The average cycle is between 21-35 days… another big range! If your menstrual cycle is shorter than 21 days, you have an abnormally short cycle and might want to discuss things with your doctor to get it checked out. If your cycle is longer than 35 days, you still may be in the healthy range because some people do have longer cycles, although this is less common. If you are only having your period once every few months, you will want to visit your doctor to make sure you are at a healthy range for you.

In short… ?

You alone know your body best! As you can see above, there is a huge variety of period types. In fact, our periods are as unique and beautiful as we are! Each person has a different experience, and that’s a good thing! If your period is extremely heavy and leaving you feeling extremely weak or sick, or if you only get a period a few times a year, please schedule an appointment with your doctor and take care of yourself! You are important and your health is valuable.

What is your biggest period question? Let us know in the comments, and let’s talk about it!