menstrual cycle

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    Community Voices

    Every 28 days #PMDD takes 18 days.

    40% of the year is spent being me.
    Don't be fooled into thinking that being me is filled happily dancing around, singing, holding hands, filled with the joys of spring, drinking in those good moments.

    Being me means spending time picking up the destruction left behind after each episode, trying to piece my life back together, trying to hold my family together once again from the damage thats been caused.

    It means the exhausting cycle of putting old plans in place & figuring out new plans to try and minimise the damage that the impending next episode is going to cause closest to me.

    It means forever living with crippling guilt, shame, embarrassment because of things I've said, ways I've acted & a gut wrenching fear that one day I won't ever be able to claw myself out of that hole of continous thoughts and feelings of wanting to be unalive that each #PremenstrualDysphoricDisorder episode brings.

    It means plastering in on a smile for my family while really I'm still crying inside for the days, hours, minutes, I missed with them, whilst a rising anxiety lurks inside me as I know what is coming.

    The rest of my time is spent living as my alter ego, in #PMDDhell .
    Angry, depressed, withdrawn, fatigued, in pain, disassociated from the world around me, in a constant state of self loathing & planning my own demise.

    Even when PMDD is not present, it makes its presence known.

    If you know someone with PMDD, please don't ever tell them it's just #PMS .

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    Deleting Your Menstrual Cycle Tracking App? Try These Printables

    When I was younger, I used my wall calendar to track my menstrual cycles. And then my planner. Then eventually, I moved into a digital calendar, and so I also moved into a cycle-tracking app. On the long list of health diagnoses that impact my daily life, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) ranks pretty high. Among other things, this means my cycles can be extremely irregular. Sometimes I’ll bleed for weeks, and other times I won’t see a cycle for months. Using a digital tracker felt like a weight off of my shoulders. It handled the math for me, calculating and recalculating my cycles, letting me know when a cycle might be coming, tracking how “overdue” I was (helpful for showing doctors), and was a light in the dark moments when my premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) kicked in and my brain told me awful things. I could open the app and say, “oh, I’m probably two days out.” But given the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the new six-week “heartbeat” law in my state (with a statewide ban being debated), and the writing that’s been on the wall – it’s time for me to delete the apps. Past time, really. When the draft leaked, I looked for alternatives. I tried a few, including one that marketed itself really well ahead of the Roe ruling. T he idea of losing all of this historic data from the app I’ve been using for the last (almost) decade infuriates me, and the idea of transferring it to paper feels overwhelming. Ultimately, the best choice for me at this moment is to go back to pen and paper, but the idea of losing all of this historic data from the app I’ve been using for the last (almost) decade infuriates me, and the idea of transferring it to paper feels overwhelming. So, I made a list of what I needed to track, how I wanted to track it, and my process for making this data transfer happen. I know I’m not the only person feeling this way, which is why I’m sharing. Worth noting: cycle-tracking apps are not the only way your data can be tracked and used against you. Taking the step to delete cycle-tracking apps is only one step , and does not fully protect your information from hostile state governments. I made a printable menstrual cycle tracker – it’s minimal but functional – and you can download it below. You don’t have to give us your email or tell us any information about yourself, and we won’t track who clicks into or downloads it. Just click the link below and download. Share it with your friends if you want. It’s a PDF so you can use it in GoodNotes, or print it off and tuck it away. DOWNLOAD THE FREE MIGHTY CYCLE-TRACKING PRINTABLE How to Transfer and Delete Your Cycle-Tracking Data Print off (or duplicate in GoodNotes) one page for every year of historic data you want to save. Record the data from your app(s) to the printable. Probably double-check your work. Tuck the pages away somewhere. Delete your data from the app. Delete any backups in the app. Depending on the app you’ve been using and its terms, email and ask for all your data to be deleted from their servers, mailing lists, sales lists, etc. Delete the app itself. Other Options for Purchase From Small Businesses There are also lots of beautiful cycle trackers available for purchase on Etsy. There are single page trackers, packets, and even some full books. Some have gendered language, but many are neutral. Here are just a handful of options: Menstrual Period Tracker — 3.75” x 6.75” Personal Planner inserts by SimpleandTrendyCo Single-Page Annual Tracker by LiveMinimalPlanners Monthly Single-Page Tracker by WriteIdeaDesign Monthly & Yearly Pages by RunawayShea Menstrual Calendar Journal by TheKapuShop ‘Moonblood’ Tracker: Track With the Lunar Cycles by TheWanderingMoonCo And if you’re into stickers and other journaling supplies, you might like these mini blood drop stickers, these stickers to indicate flow, or maybe these stickers that have symptoms too. You can also use one of those pretty notebooks you’ve saved for the “perfect” time. Oh, just me?

    Community Voices

    PMDD and why we need to talk about it

    I have PMDD. I have been suffering with this since I was a young teenager and I believe even before that. PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and it is considered a mood disorder that is caused by hormones and the neurotransmitters not taking these hormones well during your luteal phase. Basically my brain freaks out when certain hormones are going through my body during this time of my menstrual cycle. Most people experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, rage, bloating or inflammation, muscle pain, intense food cravings, increased sensitivity to rejection, self-critical thoughts, and sometimes suicidal ideation.

    I got my menstrual cycle when I was 10 years old and I remember being really scared. I was told that they were so painful but I was not sure what that would look like. My mom did her best to make sure I understood the foundation of menstrual cycles and what I would need each month but nothing could have prepared her for the years to come where each month I would be filled with rage, depression, suicidal ideation, and all of the other challenges that came with it and no clear diagnosis.

    I did not get a clear diagnosis until about a year ago when I started to do research on menstrual cycles and found out about PMDD. My mom told me how she mentioned it to my pediatrician because she could see that I had issues when I was about to start menstruating but nothing ever came of it and he said to take Advil 3 days before I started to menstruate. She thought back to when she was in her early 20’s and would always be filled with rage and anger before getting her period but didn’t realize this was not a normal reaction. Even before I got a clear diagnosis she was always able to help me realize that it was my ‘PMS’ that was causing me to feel this way. We did not realize this was something other women experienced and that it was in no way PMS and it was a completely different issue causing me to feel this way. It was isolating, lonely, and frustrating not knowing exactly what was going on with my body and mind. I would go to therapy for anxiety and depression and try to track everything but we weren’t solely focusing on one mental health condition because we did not know that’s what it was. I went to the doctor multiple times to get my hormones and thyroid checked and everything always came back normal. It wasn’t until I did research on PMDD and found that no blood test will be able to tell you if you have PMDD because it is not a hormone imbalance it is a mental health condition caused by hormones.

    When I found out about PMDD it only brought a small amount of relief for me because I started to think about the journey that would be ahead trying to learn how to manage it. I was in undergrad, living on my own, and working full time on top of having these symptoms. I was stuck in survival mode until I graduated recently and now I have been left with no choice but to face this. I started to experience more intense suicidal thoughts during my luteal phase and would have intense emotions where I would tell myself I was not good enough. All of the stress I had experienced throughout school and life in general finally caught up and making itself known it was there and it needed to be dealt with. PMDD causes so much emotional and physical turmoil each month that I had to accept I needed to heal from all of the trauma my body had been going through. I have been dealing with anxiety and depression since I was 14 years old and suicidal thoughts were not a new occurrence for me but this level of mental imbalance was new and I needed to learn how to manage it.

    I currently am going back to therapy and I have found a lot of support through the IAPMD (International Association for PMDD and PME) Facebook page and support groups. They offer a wide range or resources and information if you are needing help with guidance. 1 in 20 people are impacted by PMDD and it is not just cis-gendered women. It’s important to stay aware that there are non-binary, gender fluid, trans, and others who don’t always identify as a cis woman but they still get a menstrual cycle. This inclusivity is important to stay aware of because it can help researchers find how this can impact specific populations too. There is help and support out there and talking more about your experience is the first step to educating not just other peers but professionals who may not be aware of this condition.

    #PMDD #Anxiety #Depression #BansOffOurBodies #RoeVWade #Period #MenstrualCycle #MentalHealth

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    Monika Sudakov

    The 5 Best Period Tracking Apps for People With Endometriosis

    Full disclosure: I haven’t had a period in 10 years since I had a hysterectomy. Back then I tracked my period and symptoms the old-fashioned way, with a calendar and a pen. Obviously, technology has monumentally shifted the ways in which we can do things like track our periods and this has some plusses and minuses. I was curious to see what was out there and to find out which apps were worth investigating if you are trying to track your period. I discovered some fascinating things. First, almost all the period tracking apps in existence are geared toward fertility and pregnancy. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, my focus was on finding apps that were uniquely well suited to tracking the symptoms and irregularity of periods that are common with those who have endometriosis. It is through this lens that I took a deep dive into the world of period tracking apps. My methodology was meticulous. I downloaded the top 10 apps available and then established accounts on every single one. For the ones that had both paid and free options, I explored both to assess what you could get with the free versions versus the paid versions. For paid apps, I set up free trials so that I could investigate every aspect of the app. After spending hours going through the usability, efficacy, reviews, and cost/benefit analysis of each app, I have narrowed things down to the top five apps that I think offer the best features for someone using them with the intent of managing their endometriosis. 1) Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker This app scores 4.8 Stars with 826K ratings. Developers are very responsive to both positive and negative feedback which makes it a dynamic and more reliable app. It is used by 230M women and co-created with 100+ leading health and medical experts and acclaimed medical institutions. The app is a partner of the United Nations Population Fund in the area of reproductive health and it was voted Best Fertility App in 2020 by Healthline. When you log in it immediately asks if you have irregular periods, whether you have a history of reproductive disorders including endometriosis, whether you have trouble sleeping, whether you have any mental health concerns, sexual activity concerns, fitness goals, or skin condition concerns. Daily information logged includes: sex and sex drive, mood, symptoms including common digestive issues with endometriosis, vaginal discharge, other (travel, stress, disease or injury, alcohol), and a section for personalized notes. Based on your entries, it suggests daily insights with articles that are reviewed by medical professionals, including leaders in the field of sex education like Dr. Emily Nagoski, author of “Come As You Are.” Each insight includes educational information, recommendations for how to address any issues, workout suggestions, dietary advice, and more. While the participation of high-profile educators and medical professionals isn’t in and of itself a guarantee of quality, in this case, it does provide a level of heightened legitimacy that I personally appreciated. It has a reports section offering various analyses including cycle length, period length and intensity, patterns of your body, and a graph of events. It also has the option to create a report for your doctor, which would be very handy for sharing information relevant to the diagnosis of endometriosis. My favorite feature is the “Secret Chats” section. You can search by topics, cater your feed based on interests you have selected including “Endometriosis Support,” and follow individual users based on your preferences. It is a multi-faceted platform that includes information on a wide range of topics relevant not just to reproductive health, but mental health and lifestyle as well. The cost for this app is $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year if you pay in full. The cost was the most common complaint in the reviews, particularly from long-time users who began using the app when it was free. If I were to pay for an app, however, this would be it. I found it to be extremely user-friendly and thorough and it had a lot of added content that would make the cost worth the investment. I’d give this app an A. 2) Eve by Glow — Period Tracker This app scores 4.7 stars with 103K ratings. The biggest complaints about the app were that the free version is very limited, it constantly prompts you to upgrade to premium, and some of the sex information was too graphic. There were also several comments suggesting that the app says it is “inclusive” but that it seems geared toward a very cisgender population in language and content. The app advertises itself as a period tracker and sex app. It offers daily sex quizzes to become a sexpert. This seems to be its unique gimmick. It has a log-in button that says “Get It, Girl” which immediately makes it seem not very gender-inclusive. There are extensive options of data to enter daily including: Did you take your pill? Did you get some? mood, sex drive, symptoms, flow, discharge, anything off down there? exercise, and did you indulge? Each section has a fairly comprehensive list of options, which again makes it not just a good nuanced symptom tracker for reproductive health issues like endometriosis, but actually a comprehensive lifestyle tracker. It has a daily offering of articles to peruse, many of which have topics that seem like they came out of Cosmopolitan magazine like “Blow Job Moves” and “Hotter Sex.” It also has a very active community that you can customize by topic, group, and followers. This section is pretty cool and I could see it being very useful. Anecdotally the Endometriosis Support group has 33,753 members, so that’s encouraging. It also has a section called “Wishlist” where you can request and send gifts to other members: for example, baby supplies for someone who has recently gotten pregnant after infertility issues due to endometriosis. One note of caution: If you have a history of sexual violence and are still actively in trauma recovery, some of the content on this app might be triggering. Additionally, it is not suitable for younger users due to the graphic nature of its sexual content. The basic app is free. Premium membership unlocks comparative insights, premium content, private messaging, custom profile, and premium support. The cost is $29.99 for 3 months, $59.99 per year or $79.99 for lifetime. Considering what you actually get access to with the free version, this app is pretty comprehensive. It’s a little busy, but I could see using the free version of this app personally; therefore, I’d give it a B+. 3) Period Tracker Period Calendar This app scores 4.9 stars with 114K ratings. The biggest complaint users had was that there are too many ads. The developer states that the ads are how they keep the app affordable, although the pricing structure is comparable to all of the other apps, so this is a slightly dubious claim. The app is used by 240 million women. Goal options for the app include: track my period, try to conceive, and track my pregnancy. Features include compatibility with Apple Health and Apple Watch and it allows you to export reports to your doctor. The extensive symptom list includes head, body, cervix, fluid, abdomen, and mental health categories. It also has a diary feature. The “Self Care” section has “Soundscapes,” menstrual cramp relief ideas, programs like Kegel exercises, workout plans, facial care suggestions, meditations, stretching regimens, and a breast self-exam section. The holistic approach focus of this app makes it unique and appealing to someone who is trying to tackle all aspects of their reproductive health. It also has a forum where users can post comments and questions and interact with one another, but it isn’t as user-friendly as some of the other apps. Additionally, the app has custom profile options allowing you to select a theme and pet, which is cute for younger users. It’s fairly straightforward to use as far as entering data, but there are some language issues. They actually have a section to suggest errors in translation and recommend changes, so they are aware of the issue. The cost for this app is $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year if you pay in full. For the cost and usability, I’d give this app a B-. 4) Clue Period & Cycle Tracker This app scores 4.8 stars with 319K ratings. It has very easy to access support for issues with the app which is appealing considering that the most common user complaints were that the app crashes frequently, it makes you select period tracking or pregnancy tracking, people have lost their data when the app was updated, and many of the features are only available for premium membership. There is also concern over the developer’s privacy policy. This app was named the Best Fertility App of 2022 by Healthline and the Top Free Period Tracker App by Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal (ACOG). The daily symptom tracking has sections for bleeding, pill, sex, skin, emotions, pain, and weight, but the options for each section were limited to four choices, which isn’t nuanced enough to give meaningful information on possible reproductive issues like endometriosis. The best part of the app is the content section, which has extensive information and articles on a myriad of topics including birth control, fertility, sex, menstruation, issues and conditions (including endometriosis), and LGBTQIA+. It also has an “Ask a Scientist” section which has information on gender & sexuality, the science of sex, understanding fertility, mental health, health disparities, and PMS: fact or fiction. The app itself isn’t as user-friendly as others and the charts are a little convoluted to read. I almost wish you could access the content section without the rest of the app. Its biggest plus is how inclusive it is, making a point to state that the app is for “anyone who menstruates.” The cost for this app is $9.99 per month or $39.99 per year if you pay in full. Membership includes science-based articles, monthly emails with cycle statistics, six upcoming cycle predictions, analysis of your cycle patterns, pregnancy, and postpartum tracking. Basic free membership only includes period predictions and symptom tracking. I’m not sure it would be worth the cost for the paid membership so I give it a C+, but it might be a good option for a very basic free period tracker. 5) My Calendar — Period Tracker This app scores 4.8 stars with 29K ratings. The most common comments were that it’s easy to use and accurate. The daily log includes categories for sexual activity, symptoms, moods, birth control, medicine, temperature, and weight with a healthy list of options for each which makes it a good nuanced app for tracking possible symptoms of endometriosis. It also allows you to set reminders for medication, birth control pills, meditation, and cycle. There are customizable themes and reports that can be generated and forwarded to a medical professional, but not a lot of other bells or whistles. It really is a basic period and pregnancy tracking app. It’s fairly easy to use and not very flashy. The app is free with ads. The cost for this app is $23.99 premium for a year or $69.99 for life. I wouldn’t pay for this app because the paid version doesn’t come with a lot of extras, but would consider the free version for basic period tracking, so I give it a C. So what are my biggest takeaways after investigating period tracking apps? That trying to decide on a period tracking app without having any kind of guidance would be a huge crapshoot. There are so many and they are so diverse in their functionality and efficacy that I would be daunted trying to choose one that fits my needs. Hopefully, my research and notes are useful in helping you select one that will enable you to make more educated decisions about your reproductive health and wellness. A couple of final notes. I want to caution anyone utilizing these apps as a means of tracking ovulation for birth control. None of them can accurately predict that kind of information, so I’d recommend more reliable forms of family planning. Secondly, I happen to be the kind of person who will only use an app if it is extremely intuitive to use and doesn’t bombard me with ads. I lose patience quickly if the data entry process for logging symptoms is too tedious. Others might be more apt to take the time to do so, but I’ve deleted a number of health and wellness apps because I wasn’t willing to spend 15 minutes a day using them. That’s a personal bias of mine that is reflected in my assessment of each of these apps.

    Community Voices

    Question for girls: depression symptoms and periods #Depression #Bipolar2Disorder

    I think I’m noticing a pattern but it’s really weird so I wanna see what you guys think. I expect to have my worst depression symptoms during my period and the week before. But it seems like I feel better during that time and then back to regular programming (persistent sadness, feeling low, no energy, easily triggered, etc.) the week or so after my period is over. Does anyone else experience that? Is there any way that the hormone changes during your cycle would somehow ease depression? Is it normal to feel bad after your cycle? Any advice is appreciated!

    #Depression #Bipolar2Disorder #BipolarDepression #MenstrualCycle

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    Community Voices

    Does anyone experience anxiety "on schedule"?
    When my anxiety flares up, it seems to be at the same time every day. Mid-afternoon.
    There is no trigger I can identify.
    My days vary but are usually calm and enjoyable. I have a peaceful life (aside from anxiety and depression!).
    It is just so odd.
    Maybe some weird hormonal dip during the day?
    I do recognize pretty intense onset of anxiety within the MONTHLY cycle (fun times!) but daily seems...I don't know...unfair? Stupid?
    Is Mother Nature mad at me for something? Karma?

    7 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Does your period make your POTS worse?

    LADIES: Do you find yourself feeling worse when you’re menstruating? My POTS is pretty manageable as long as I eat right, sleep, and exercise but when I’m on my period I find myself blacking out all the time! My heart rate is high, my blood pressure is low, and my entire body feels weak and useless. Anyone else have this problem and know what causes it? Or even a solution?
    #PosturalOrthostaticTachycardiaSyndrome #MenstrualCycle

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    Community Voices

    For the ladies! Do any of you ladies feel that your mental health suffers dramatically the closer you are to your cycle?

    *possible trigger warning*
    I’ve noticed the closer to my cycle I become more and more depressed to the point I start thinking about taking my own life. It all gets soooo unbearable and then afterwards I slowly start to regain control. I seem to get dragged down so quick where there is no air and then by the end i’m slowly climbing my way out of that pit... #Depression #Anxiety #MenstrualCycle

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    Community Voices

    Question About Stomach Pains #stomachpain

    Okay so I’ve been dealing with pretty bad stomach and menstrual cramps for a few months now, and they really have nothing to do with my menstrual cycle. Yet, it seems to happen around that time. I can’t tell if it’s due to pure #Anxiety or other #MenstrualCycle issues Could someone see what it could possibly mean? Thanks! #menstrualcramps #MenstrualPain

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