Community Snapshot: Tracking Periods and Cycle Syncing

In an era of personal health data collection, many of us use period tracking apps to help us predict and regulate aspects of our menstrual cycles. Personally, I use a period tracking app to make sure that I actually have the supplies I need to manage my period when it comes, which of course includes some  LILAS Feminine Pain Relief Patches. However, the information we can record with our period tracking apps can help us explore more nuanced connections between our body's natural hormonal rhythms and our behaviors. In fact, a Stanford study indicates that our menstrual cycles (21-28 days) impact our general state of hormonal balance more than circadian and seasonal rhythms. This impact warrants tracking and analysis. A functional nutritionist named Alisa Vitti coined and trademarked a comprehensive framework called cycle syncing, which encourages us to be intentional in shaping how we eat, how we exercise, and how we engage in sexual activity to meet our wellness needs in relation to each cycle stage. In this month’s Community Snapshot, we wanted to know more about your experiences with tracking periods and cycle syncing. Here’s what you all shared with us: 

67% of survey participants use an app to keep track of their menstrual cycles. 
20% change their diet at different parts of their cycles. 
37% intentionally change their physical activity at different parts of their cycles . 

More thoughts on period tracking or cycle syncing 

“I would love to learn. I just don’t know where to start.” –@eyesmarie

I can definitely relate to @eyesmarie’s sentiment here and I’m sure a lot of you can as well. According to the poll data, there seems to be a high interest in gathering data about our periods but less of an understanding of how to take that information to make certain adjustments to our wellness routines. Admittedly, it’s difficult to think about modifying our behaviors at different parts of our cycles since society pressures us to maintain business as usual as much as possible. Also, thinking about the cycle syncing framework all at once can be overwhelming. With that said, if you’re interested in getting started, here are 3 quick tips to keep in mind: 

Embrace all four cycle stages 

Within the menstrual cycle, there are four phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal. In general discussions, the menstrual and ovulatory phases get the most attention since they feel like complete opposites and are most relevant to conversations about fertility. However, the follicular and luteal phases are just as important to your wellness journey. Try to remember all four phases, especially if you’re noticing shifts in your body that don’t coincide with menstruation itself. 

Start with small adjustments

When trying something new, unless the stakes are very high, taking small manageable steps is key. The cycle syncing framework provides a lot of detailed information and suggestions for behavioral changes for each cycle phase. You don’t have to try to handle all of these changes at once! For example, the cycle syncing framework recommends not having any caffeine or alcohol during menstruation. Though I can hear the collective groan from fellow coffee and wine lovers, start by intentionally minimizing your caffeine and alcohol intake during a few menstrual phases and document how you feel. This is a small shift, but it may help alleviate symptoms like hormonal mood swings. 

Talk to your doctor

Ultimately, you know your body best. Never let anyone, not even a medical professional, dismiss or undermine your experience with symptoms or behavior shifts. However, by being in dialogue with a supportive and knowledgeable doctor, you may feel more comfortable trying certain methods and be more informed in making wellness decisions. It never hurts to receive qualified input from a doctor unless and until it fails to acknowledge and address your needs. 

Thank you all so much for participating in the survey. Of course, we encourage you to pursue managing your period in the way that works best for you and your wellness journey. We’re looking forward to next month’s Community Snapshot! 

If you'd like to learn more about cycle syncing specifically, here are some further resources: 

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