Women's bodies start a hormonal process known as the menstrual cycle when they begin puberty. The hormonal process, known as a menstrual cycle continues until menopause. Each full cycle lasts about a month before starting over again. The cycle is broken into phases starting with menstruation, moving on to ovulation, and ending with the luteal phase. Keeping track of your cycle will allow you to know your body and understand your fertility.
Mark your calendar on the day you start your period. Draw an "S" or just write "started" and list your symptoms for that day. Also indicate how heavy your bleeding is for that day. For example on the date you could write: "Started/Cramps/Heavy."
This is the beginning of the first phase of your menstrual cycle, the follicular phase, which begins with menstruation and ends with ovulation. The phase is the time that it takes for an egg to be produced, matured, and released from your ovary.
Each day that you bleed, write the symptoms and how heavy the flow is for that day. As you notice your flow and symptoms changing, indicate how much they have changed. For example: "Medium flow half as heavy as yesterday/cramps twice as painful as yesterday."
On the last day of your period, note the fact that the period ended, as well as the symptoms for that day. Note what time of day your bleeding stopped, and how severe your symptoms are. If you continue to feel symptoms days after your period, continue to track them. This will help you to know how long your symptoms last, and how severe they may be after your bleeding has stopped.
Mark your calendar for ovulation starting on the fourteenth day after your period started. This is the phase of your cycle where your egg is released. The release takes place after an abundance of lutenizing hormones are created by your body.
Mark your calendar for the day after ovulation, as the beginning of your luteal phase. This phase occurs during the time betwen ovulation, and the first day of your next period. The lutenizing hormones are building up for your next ovulation phase during this time.
In order to know how long your cycles are, you will need to repeat this process the following month. Record your cycles the same way you did before. Typical cycles are 28 days, but every woman is different and cycles can be too.
Once you are aware of your cycle length, mark the phases on your calendar for every month to come. Use the number of days that you counted for your cycle to predict when your cycles will occur. Now you have a good idea of when you should start and end your period each month, when you ovulate, and when you are building lutenizing hormones.
If you notice any changes in symptoms, length, or flow; mark them on your calendar and report them to your gynecologist. You may want to take your calendar in with you to show your doctor how previous months have been.
Reasons for delay in menstrual cycles can range from minor to major. With such a wide range of possible factors, including medication, diet, exercise and your stress level, the reason for a late period can be tough to pin down.
Knowing how to calculate a menstrual cycle can make all the difference between getting pregnant or not, preventing breakouts and just knowing when to curl up with a hot water bottle and a blanket.