How to Track Menstrual Cycle Symptoms with Natural Cycles

Over 90% of women say they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness.* Many women find they can learn a lot about their body by tracking their symptoms each month and now Natural Cycles is making it easier for all users - whether you’re preventing pregnancy, planning pregnancy, or following pregnancy - to track menstrual cycle symptoms, pain, cervical mucus and more. Read on to find out exactly what’s available and how tracking can teach you more about your body.

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Period symptoms

A new menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. As well as bleeding, you might experience a few other symptoms during these days, these may include period cramps, bloating, diarrhea and food cravings. Due to a dip in progesterone levels, some women find that their sex drive increases during menstruation. In fact, period sex can actually relieve painful cramps and may even shorten menstruation. You might notice dry skin during your period, this is because hormone levels are low at this point, choose gentle period skincare that suits your routine. 

Symptoms after period

As the level of estrogen begins to rise again, skin may soften and become less sensitive. In the days leading up to ovulation, our pain threshold is often higher and we experience less soreness and tenderness. This means it’s a good time to do a self-breast exam, or carry out hair removal, if that’s part of your routine. You may also notice an increase in cervical mucus as you near peak fertility. 

Ovulation symptoms

We tend to feel at our best around ovulation. At this point, at the end of the fertile window, we may find we have more energy than at other points in the cycle. Sex drive is also often high, while skin becomes a little oilier due to the presence of progesterone. For some this may result in a glowing complexion, others might be more prone to pimples. Some women may experience spotting as an ovulation symptom and one-sided ovulation pain is also common.

PMS symptoms

Towards the end of the menstrual cycle we might experience PMS symptoms. Of course this varies from woman to woman, but many of us will get PMS (or premenstrual syndrome) at some point in our fertile lifetime. PMS is a collection of symptoms including mood swings, irritability, cravings, cramps, tender breasts, tiredness and headaches. If you find PMS symptoms are getting in the way of your everyday life, it’s worth consulting with a healthcare professional. There is a severe form of PMS, called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). PMS symptoms usually subside when you get your period and a new cycle begins. 

Pregnancy symptoms

As well as experiencing a change in menstrual cycle symptoms, we can also experience a host of symptoms during pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms include cravings, sore breasts, back pain, high/low sex drive and heavy cervical mucus. As with tracking menstrual cycle symptoms, tracking pregnancy symptoms can teach you a lot about the patterns of your body and help you manage and anticipate pain and other symptoms.

Tracking symptoms with Natural Cycles

Keeping track of menstrual cycle or pregnancy symptoms has never been easier than it is now with Natural Cycles. Our latest update of the app includes emotion, pain and cervical mucus tracking. Read on to discover just exactly what we’ve included in the latest updates and how monitoring your unique symptoms can help you learn more about your body. 

Tracking period flow and sex options

Since we’re all different, we all experience different bleeding on our periods. You can track the heaviness (or lightness) of your flow, which can help you notice patterns in your bleeding throughout your period. On top of adding period amount, we also include ‘sex options’. Now you can log whether you used a condom or another type of protection when you log intercourse in the app. 

Tracking cervical mucus amount and consistency

A long-awaited feature we’ve included in the latest releases is the ability to track cervical mucus. Now you can track both the amount and consistency of this fertility indicator. By observing the changes in cervical fluid, you can learn more about how your body changes over the course of your cycle. We’ve also included vaginal discharge tracking for our pregnant users. 

It’s worth noting that we don’t use cervical mucus to find ovulation, that is done by our algorithm in combination with the basal body temperature method. Cervical mucus changes from person to person and the interpretation of the fluid can vary. However, many women find it useful to track cervical mucus for their own reference. 

Tracking menstrual cycle pain and emotions

As well as cervical mucus tracking, period flow tracking and the ability to log more sex options, you can now track pain and emotions on a daily basis. Logging specific symptoms like breast tenderness, feeling excited or cravings is a really great way to get in touch with your body and can also help you prepare for the future. 

Natural Cycles has long been able to warn you about upcoming PMS symptoms, but now you will have a better idea of exactly what to expect and can plan accordingly. On the flip side, you’ll also know which days you’ll feel high energy, excitable or when you can expect a high sex drive. Both pain and emotion tracking is available in all modes, whether you’re using the app to prevent, plan or follow a pregnancy. 

Testing, testing, 1,2,3…

We care about our community of users and want everyone to have the best experience possible when using Natural Cycles. With that in mind, we’re carrying out some testing with the new releases. If you’ve updated the app and haven’t yet got one of the features mentioned above, it might be because you’re in a testing group. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got questions about our testing or have thoughts more generally about the new features in the app. 

Get to know your body even better

All our new trackers are customizable, so you can decide exactly what you want to track. There are many benefits to using Natural Cycles, from going hormone-free to joining our community of Cyclers, but one advantage we often hear about is the empowerment that comes with learning about your body. Our new trackers build on this and give you even more ways to get to know the changes and patterns that are unique to you. 

*https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome

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Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

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Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

With 10 years of experience working in the field of fertility, Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house expert. As Medical Affairs Manager, he dedicates his time to conducting groundbreaking research and educating healthcare professionals.