Back when I was still a tween, I used to think I’d get my period on the same date each month or maybe the same date as my friends (if we hang out a lot, we sync our body rhythms) – Crazy, I know!
I don’t even know where I got that notion. Probably from the lack of understanding of how periods work or some hearsays I heard from other girls my age (sorry, I was naïve and gullible!).
As an adult, I wanted to stay on top of things, especially when it comes to my body. Luckily, we live in a modern world where there’s an app to keep track of almost everything from weight loss, habits, tasks, drinking water and yes, even your period!
Period tracking shows your average cycle length, period days and so much more. But before I tell you why knowing your average cycle length is important, let’s have a basic understanding of its concept.
What is a cycle length? How do you calculate for your own cycle? Grab some tea and read on!
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- What Is a Cycle Length: What is The Meaning of Cycle Length?
- Is Cycle Length The Same As Period Length?
- What Is My Cycle Length: How To Calculate Menstrual Cycle Length
- Why Is Cycle Length Tracking Important?
- Is It Normal For A Cycle Length To Vary?
- How Period Tracker Apps Can Help?
- Putting It All Together
What Is a Cycle Length: What is The Meaning of Cycle Length?
A cycle is considered as the start of your regular bleeding until Day 1 of your next period. What do I mean with regular bleeding? As spotting is not counted, we consider the day when you first have a more regular flow (or heavy for some) as Day 1.
For example, you had spotting today and nothing else, the next day you experienced full on bleeding – that will be considered as the first day of your cycle.
Is Cycle Length The Same As Period Length?
It’s quite common to be confused between the two.
Cycle length refers to the period between Day 1 of your current cycle and Day 1 of your next cycle while period length refers to the number of days you experienced bleeding.
What is a normal cycle length? The average menstrual cycle length for women is 28 days with 3-5 days period length.
What Is My Cycle Length: How To Calculate Menstrual Cycle Length
Calculating the menstrual cycle is pretty easy (no crazy mathematical equations involved!)!
Just count between Day 1 of your previous cycle and Day 1 of your existing cycle (or Day 1 of your existing cycle to Day 1 of your next cycle).
It is best to track your cycle days in a notebook or better yet download an app that will do all the counting for you, all you’ll need to do is to mark Day 1 of your period (more on this later!)
Why Is Cycle Length Tracking Important?
More than knowing approximately when you’ll have your next period, tracking your cycle length (via manual tracking or an app) offers the following benefits:
- Provide you hints that there may be an underlying condition that needs to be checked (for example, when there’s a sudden change in menstrual cycle length or when experiencing irregular menstrual cycle)
- It serves as valuable data for your doctor. Tracking makes the information accurate (no guesswork nor approximates) and easily available when needed.
- Data can be used for contraception or when trying to conceive.
Is It Normal For A Cycle Length To Vary?
I’ve had the following questions asked:
- “What causes changes in menstrual cycle length?”,
- “What to do when your menstrual cycle is shorter than usual?”,
- “Is it normal to have a cycle of 40 days?”,
- “Why do periods delay?”.
Relax girls! There’s no such thing as an uberly perfect period or cycle.
Certain factors can totally throw off your cycle length (could make it shorter or longer) such as stress, sickness, taking medications, switching to a new contraception method, etc.
While some variations (to a certain degree) are considered to be safe, some may actually signal medical attention that needs to be checked as soon as possible.
So, how much delay in periods is normal?
One to two cycles that vary from what you consider normal, may not raise the alarm just yet. Should you notice that your pattern is becoming more and more irregular (with 3-6 months of data), then it is time to go get yourself checked.
A lot of women have an undiagnosed PCOS and endometriosis (painful menstruation). If you suspect that you have one, go visit your doctor. For more info, you may read April’s intel on PCOS right here on Miss Coty.
How Period Tracker Apps Can Help?
Period tracker apps make charting easy. With just a touch of a button, it can track when you had your period and based on previous data, can predict when the next one is.
Not only that, it can show you your cycle trends, so you can easily pinpoint the time when it seems that your cycle went off the chart.
My fave one is the Period Tracker, Ovulation Calendar & Fertility app by Leap Fitness Group (available in Google Play).
It tracks everything related to my reproductive system. From period prediction, cycle history, tracking my ovulation, reminding me when I’m fertile, shows my chance to get pregnant daily, tracking my PMS symptoms, even tracking my sex life!
This is definitely my fave. It’s doctor approved too (my doctor did)!
Q: I Have Irregular Periods, Can You Tell Me How To Calculate Cycle Lengths With Irregular Periods?
A: Calculating cycle lengths for women with irregular periods may be tricky. But the key here is to CHART it!
Keeping track of your cycle (and getting your average cycle length) can help you monitor your ovulation and period and can be valuable info that you can share with your doctor.
Alongside charting, you may also take note of your cervical mucus (which tends to get plenty during ovulation, basal body temperature and ovulation predictor kits.
Q: How Do I Calculate Menstrual Cycle To Avoid Pregnancy?
A: If you already know your menstrual cycle length, it’ll be easy to calculate which days you are most fertile in order to avoid pregnancy.
If you’re wondering how many days after your period are you the most fertile, then the answer is this:
Your most fertile days are 3 days prior to ovulation (when an egg gets released from the ovary) which starts 14 days prior to your period.
Q: Is It Ok To Have Period For 2 Days?
A: Although the average period days for women is 3-5 days, having a 2-day period is still considered normal especially if it has been that way ever since you had your period.
Putting It All Together
Menstrual cycle tracking is a habit that women of childbearing age should adapt to. It can show vital information about your body and can help you and the doctors easily pinpoint conditions that you may not be aware of.
It’s like a grown-up version of the diary you keep as a kid, just more focused on health and wellbeing!
Knowing your cycle also plays an important role in family planning whether you’re trying to avoid pregnancy or trying to conceive, you would most likely refer to your cycle.
What’s your fave period and cycle tracker apps? What makes it the best? Share your comment down below!
As always, I’d love to hear from Y’all! Ciao!