Menstrual Cycle Length Calculation: How To Do It Correctly
Menstrual cycle length calculation is an easy task. You can get to know lots of things about your body by calculating your cycle length. The length of your cycle simply refers to how many days separate the 1st day of one period to day 1 of the next. To start with, it would give you a good idea of your most fertile days, as well as your general reproductive health. More so, tracking your menstrual flow and your symptoms, as well as any form of cycle irregularities might help you understand your body better. It will also give you warnings about any possible complications.
Don’t be bothered about how scientific this may seem. It’s so simple and very easy too. You can even use a simple app on your phone or a calendar to do it. Making notes in your journal is another way to make the calculations. The major things you must track are the first days of subsequent cycles, as well as your feeling. With time, you’ll get to understand your cycle better, as well as the way it may affect you. Being aware of your cycle would help you identify your points of strength, as well as points of weakness in your cycle. With this understanding, you may stand a better chance of getting pregnant. You may also be able to approach your self-care, relationships, or work better.
Menstrual Cycle Length Calculation
Here’s how to accurately calculate cycle length
1. Start from day 1 of your menses
If you want a correct picture of your cycle, you should start the count from day 1 of your menses. Note the date on a calendar. You could also use apps for menstrual cycles. These apps are designed for monitoring not only your cycle but also your ovulation.
Some examples of a smartphone app that you can download include:
- Period Tracker
2. The cycle ends the day that immediately precedes another menstrual flow
A new count should begin when another flow starts. This means you would have to reset your count once another flow begins. As such, your count for a cycle ends the day the proceeds a new flow.
Make sure not to include the day that a new flow begins. The starting date of the next period is another day 1 for a new cycle. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it starts.
So if your menstrual flow begins on May 19, for instance, that would be day 1. And it means the last cycle ended on May 18. It doesn’t matter if the period starts at 11 pm on May 19.
3. Keep tracking for 3 months, at least
Every month may not have equal lengths. The length might vary from one month to another. So to get a correct depiction, you may need to calculate the average length for 3 months, at least. The longer you’re able to monitor, the better you would represent your average.
4. Calculate the average length
Find your average cycle length with the numbers that you calculated in the months you monitored. Add the numbers and divide by the number of months you calculated for.
5. Continue to track your cycle
Continue to monitor and track your cycle even after you have an average figure. You would be able to pick it when anything goes wrong. More so, medical experts will usually ask for your day 1 LMP (last menstrual period) during routine checkups.
Should You Even Calculate Your Cycle Length?
If you aren’t on birth control, you may use your cycle length to indicate ovulation, as well as any hormonal imbalance. You will also be able to establish any regular patterns in how you feel.
Hormonal imbalances may affect when you ovulate. And if you don’t ovulate, you cannot get pregnant. And you would also know your cycle length and how it may impact ovulation.
1. Normal cycle length
A normal cycle length lasts for 21-35 days. If your cycle is regular, it means you can perfectly calculate when you ovulate. It means that your ovulation is also regular. More so, it means there is a balance in all of your sex hormones and that natural conception should be easy.
2. Short cycle length
If your cycle length is short, it means your cycle is shorter than 21 days. This indicates that you might ovulate quite earlier than what should be. It may also mean that your ovaries contain not as many eggs. Menopause might be approaching.
On the other hand, if your cycle is short, you may not be ovulating at all. You would need a blood test to confirm this. If it is confirmed, natural conception might not be so easy.
3. Long/irregular cycle length
If your cycle length is long, it means each cycle lasts an average of over 35 days. It may indicate that you’re either not ovulating or your ovulation is irregular. It would make conception quite difficult.
Some Heads Up on Abnormal Cycles
As you grow older, your cycle would shorten. This is because as the available eggs in your ovaries decrease, your brain would release more FSH (one of your sex hormones) to stimulate follicle development in your ovaries.
With more FSH, follicles may develop earlier and you may ovulate earlier too. This would cause shortened cycles. But then, your period can sometimes begin without ovulation occurring. This might also mas as a shortened cycle.
How about long cycles? If you experience longer cycles, it means that your ovulation is not regular. With normal cycles, bleeding occurs because progesterone levels fall. But if no follicle matures and ovulates, progesterone will never be released. As such, your uterine will keep building up. And bleeding will not occur as at when due.
You cannot know all of these if you don’t know your average cycle length. That’s why menstrual cycle length calculation is so important.