Teaching Young Women - Menstrual Charting by Sian Randall
… maybe you’ve heard of fertility charting? When women take note of their cycle to pinpoint when they're ovulating to achieve the greatest potential for conception. It’s quite common practice these days.
I’m talking about the same thing but I am coming from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t want to have a child yet but wants to know herself a little better.
This chart is a circle and divided up into 30 sections as it’s a reflection of your menstrual/ovulation cycle (Some woman can have longer or shorter cycles, adjust as you see fit)
The 30-day menstrual chart
I’ve started by making my own chart (because I like to get my creative side flowing) which you can do too, or you can use my one (above). You can start adding a note, a few words or a sentence every day (starting day 1 of your first day of menstruation) and then, charting every day until your next menstruation which you can then repeat on a new cycle sheet.
This chart is for you to make a comment on your mood, energy levels and, sensations in your body. Keeping an eye on how you reacted to people, situations that day and, anything else you would like to note down that would help you navigate where you were at with your hormone levels.
For me, I also write down my energy levels so I can start to understand at which points of the month I have more or less energy, then I can adjust my work and social calendar accordingly. It even helps me choose which exercises to undertake as I find I have more energy after my period is finished, leading up to ovulation and a few middle days between ovulation and menstruation.
I am now starting to notice a pattern of days which I have less energy and that is normally down to a fluctuation in hormones (normally a drop) when my body is going through a different phase of my cycle. When these days come around I practice self-love, take it easy on my body and mind with a walk, yin yoga or some rest in bed with a book.
I think its important to know myself better so I can either use my most productive times to full advantage or not give myself such a hard time when I’m tired and need rest.
Rest is so important and we (this modern western society) have devalued it. I believe women need it more than we (and our culture) are giving ourselves. Just think how much our bodies do without us taking much notice. We develop and mature an egg, create a desirable space for it to grow and then release this potential for life every month (if it is not fertilised). How many animals or more specific mammals have the same monthly cycle of potential for life? How many mammals put this much effort into reproduction every month? Only a handful is the answer and its because it is costly on resources in regards to biology.
So let's give ourselves a break and allow ourselves time to slow down when we feel we need to.
It's time to start charting
Taking note of how you conduct your life and the sensations in your body will help you understand you! Plus you will be able to express to your nearest and dearest where your head is at and, what you are going through on a day to day basis. It provides a pathway for clearer communication.
Also, it helps you understand that all women are cyclic beings, we are all going through ebbs and flows of energy levels, hormonal ups and downs, experiencing emotions on all levels and that we all have our own unique pattern.
It can make life that little bit easier if we track where we are emotionally, physically and, spiritually each day.
Part 2 By Sian Randall 0 Specialist Menstrual Health Educator
One of the first things I will check with a client is their hips to see how tight they are and if they have a hypertonic pelvic floor.
A hypertonic pelvic floor is when the pelvic floor muscles become overly tight and unable to relax.
This can cause pain when we menstruate, especially for women who have a tilted/retrograded uterus – this is when you uterus is angled or positioned slight away from the midline of the body, in a leaning back position. In this position the uterus can rest of the bowels and cause more discomfort in cycles of our period when it is full of body as the extra weigh obstructs the colon making waste elimination slightly more difficult for the body.
Hypertonic pelvic floor can occur from our hips being tight. Tight hips will come from the surrounding muscles especially our Piriformis, Obturator internus, coccygeus and hamstrings.
I suffer with pain regularly when I menstruate and my history is one of tight hamstrings from a childhood of intense football training. This postural habit has given me great legs but pain most months.
Receiving myofascia massage and womb massage has benefitted me greatly as the release of these tight areas allows my pelvic floor to relax and in turn allows my uterus to have space to contract when needed to expel my monthly blood.
My self-care routines of yoga and stretching have never been enough, because this was a postural pattern learnt from excessive exercise at a young age. I needed a release that would change that posture habit for sometime - days, weeks, months. Stretching, yoga, foam rolling was only helping for a short time. Don’t get me wrong I love all of these practices and still do them as part of my self-care routine but I am advising if you still have tight hamstrings that contribute to tight hips look into deeper ways of releasing.
With monthly treatments and self-care routines of yoga and stretching I can now keep my pain to a minimum.
The only thing is I wish I knew this a little earlier on in my life, it would have saved me so much pain. But at least I am equipped with this information now and can pass on the knowledge through my workshops and therapies.
But there is a question I have in my head, should we be looking out for this with children who are training hard at activities and sports they love?
We include this lesson in our KS5 Sixth Form USB pack a lesson on menstrual charting. You can also purchase it
Menstrual Charting Template - PDF Download
Menstrual Charting Template
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