For many of us, menstrual cycles only surface as priorities when they produce periods, cramps and pre- or post-menstrual issues. However, the body doesn't simply "die down" between periods; the menstrual cycle continues throughout the month, not just when you're bleeding, and all the phases of your cycle can influence fertility, mood and other factors. It's increasingly evident that tracking these individual cycles and cycle-syncing can help you not just understand your body better, but potentially manage symptoms of PMS, PCOS, & more.
If you need your memory refreshed from eighth grade health class, the menstrual cycle has four phases: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. The menstrual phase marks day 1, in which the uterus sheds its lining and is generally unhappy. From day 1 to day 13, the follicular phase occurs, in which the body produces hormones that stimulate egg structures to begin to form inside follicles in the ovaries. On day 14, the eggs are released and emerge into the fallopian tubes, otherwise known as ovulation. From that day to the end of the cycle you enter the luteal phase, in which the egg cells, if they remain unfertilized, disintegrate. Cue the beginning of uterine shedding (and PMS), and the whole process beginning again. The benefits of knowing precisely where you are in this cycle, and how it affects you in each stage, are becoming pretty popular, and may be more important than you think.