I struggled with the title for this post. I wanted to call it “You Need This App!” but I imagined people would then start reading and be discouraged by the surprise theme of menstruation on a diabetes blog. However, I am certainly talking about a mood and period tracker app and it really is my favorite app. It has improved my well-being. It has helped my relationship with my husband. It’s got an alienating and cheesy name-are you ready for it? “Hormonescope”. Look beyond that and let me explain.
We women know all too well that in the days leading up to our period, our hormone levels change. What I have learned is that they fluctuate all month long and these fluctuations are legitimate motivators to our changing moods and behavior. I got this app last year and quickly realized that each day, when I read what was going on with my body and why, I could easily be more in control of my day(s).
This app tracks you from the starting date of your last period and then gives you a daily “hormonescope” that is not ridiculous at all but based on science. I decided to test it out by writing down how I was feeling each day and then reading my information for the day. What I found was that when I was feeling more sensitive to pain, the app knew about it. When I was feeling like a homebody, the app knew about it. When I was feeling like dressing up and wearing lipstick, the app knew about it. When I was about to become almost irrational with my emotions, the app knew about it. In other words, the science was well researched to generally describe what our hormones do throughout the month and when they would do it and how that translates into typical behavior.
What about those people with irregular schedules? Well, usually, that would be me. For the last few years, I have normally been between 3-10 days late each month. This app helped me with this by keeping me aware of my irregular cycle. Combined with information about how to increase overall health, I used this awareness to motivate me to eat healthier, exercise more consistently, reduce sugar, stay away from soy, keep my blood sugars consistent, and to constantly work on stress management. I have always had pretty terrible menstrual cramps that have diminished with better eating and exercise. I spent the last three months working hard at my healthy habits and just had a cycle that included none of my typical cramps, nor ovarian and breast cyst swelling and pain, smoother moods, and an on time predictable schedule. It was heaven. I’ve heard of women having this kind of cycle and I thought it would never happen to me. I feel very much supported by this admittedly simple app and the daily dose of information it shares.
I also struggle with depression and anxiety and this app has helped me with that, too. When estrogen and progesterone start to drop about a week before our period, gloominess and worry can set in. But what if you got a hint each day of what to expect with your hormones and behavior? In the days leading up to menstruation, I used to get into a terrible depressed mood and be lost in my weary haze, always slightly unsure if I would ever crawl out. Now, because I have a heads up and a reassurance that nature will help reverse the mood in a few days, I work through this hard time of the month much better than ever before. I drink herbal teas, wear loose clothing, and cut myself slack when it comes to chores and things that have to get done.
This app has also helped my relationship with my husband. It has been hard on him to lose a generally happy and loving wife for about 10 days every month to extreme mood changes. This app hasn’t just increased my understanding of what is going on with me, it has increased his understanding of what goes on with me. “Oh, you aren’t crazy, it’s your hormones!” Just kidding, he has never said that. It also helps give him insight into how he can support me during that time. I appreciate when he plans an outing out with the kids on one of the days I really need it, for example. And I think he appreciates not having to freak out over my sudden crying at sappy animal commercials. It’s also a bonus to be aware and take advantage of “sexy days”, days when hormones support the mood being just right.
There have been days when I feel like I can tackle a big project and the app knew about it. I have felt like “a genius!” and the app knew about that, too. (Too bad that doesn’t last more than a day or two) I no longer guilt myself on the few days I eat more than normal or the feelings of wanting to stay at home and chill with a book. I jump up and embrace social outings on the days my body and brain are feeling more friendly and chatty and outgoing. I deep clean the house when energy is up and cook simple and easy foods, otherwise known as microwave meals when it’s really low.
I never thought I’d rave about this kind of app but, it has brought me tremendous value and I recommend it to any woman who menstruates or any human who wants to better understand and support a woman who menstruates. Just now I read my “hormonescope” for the day and it mentions that with progesterone and estrogen on a gentle rise after a previous dip, I’m supposedly feeling more creative flow and introspection but am physically jumbling my words so writing is a perfect thing to do today. Voila.