I recently put up an instastory on @the__unrefined instagram account chatting about different contraceptive methods. I was overwhelmed with the response from women who had no idea how to track their cycle to determine their ovulatory window.
*Please note, if you are currently taking a contraceptive pill, tracking your cycle will not reveal your ovulatory window. Synthetic hormones from the pill prevent you from ovulating, therefore your fertile window will never be shown.
I have been tracking my cycle for FOUR years (ever since going off the pill). I currently use an app called “CLUE APP”, however there are various other alternatives on the App Store which are just as effective. Some of the women in our program love Kindara, P Tracker, Flo, and Fertility Friend.
Believe it or not, cycle tracking isn’t just for women wanting to fall pregnant! Tracking your cycle is an amazing way to determine your ovulatory window for natural contraceptive purposes. For example, I am currently on no contraceptive pill (due to adverse side-effects), so I use my clue app (to track temperature & cervical mucous) to determine whether I am ovulating and most at risk of falling pregnant. PLEASE NOTE* I also ALWAYS wear condoms throughout my whole cycle and don’t solely rely on the app for contraceptive purposes. I just make sure I am extra cautious during my ovulation window.
Believe it or not, I first started tracking my cycle when I had acne because I wanted to draw a link between my hormones and my cystic breakouts.
Tracking your cycle is a great way to determine whether the symptoms associated with your cycle (such as acne, irregular cycle length or excess hair growth) need further investigation by a health professional.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition characterised by having multiple cysts on an individual’s ovaries. According to RACPG (1), in order for an individual to be diagnosed with PCOS, they must present with 2 out of 3 of the following features:
- Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
- Increased testosterone or other androgen sex hormones (clinically or biochemically - e.g. clinical symptoms would be excess hair (hirtuism), acne or female pattern hair loss. Biochemical symptoms would be tested via a blood test)
- Cysts on the ovaries as demonstrated by an ultrasound
- Exclusion of other potential causes such as thyroid disease, hyperprolactinemia & Nonclassic Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (NCCAH)/
In module 2 of our program we discuss other symptoms associated with different hormonal imbalances. The five main hormonal imbalances that can cause acne (discussed by the health professionals in our program) include:
- Increased Cortisol
- Increased Insulin
- High Oestrogen
- High Testosterone (high androgen)
- Increased Growth Hormones (and IGF-1)
There is one other reason I track my cycle:
It provides peace of mind.
Sounds odd but whenever I receive feedback from women a couple of months into tracking their cycle, they completely relate to this statement. As someone who suffers with PMS symptoms, anxiety and cystic acne, finding a cyclical link between my symptoms and my hormones provides the BEST peace of mind (that I’m not crazy and the massive cyst that has erupted on my chin is because I am five days away from getting my period). It also makes me feel better when I can draw a link between my mood swings and certain days in my cycle. If I can find certain trends between my mood and different phases of my cycle, I can plan for that time of the month. For example, I may not plan a big event when I am in my luteal phase (towards the end of my cycle) as I know I can be sensitive during this period.
Tracking your symptoms to determine if your acne is cyclical and hormone related is a great way to ascertain what is going on in your body. Knowledge is power and the more we become in touch with our body (and the many signs it is throwing our way), the more we can get to the bottom of any type of inflammation or imbalance.
If you are someone who is silently suffering with acne, we encourage you to register for our November ONLINE F.ACNE program (access it anywhere, anytime). Our program is all about empowering you with knowledge to manage your acne LONG-TERM. It’s time to understand the signs and symptoms related to different factors influencing your skin (nutrition, hormones, stress, skincare & treatments). The best component of the program? You can start TODAY. We provide a non-biased approach with information from REAL health professionals (both conventional and natural) to ensure you are receiving EXPERT advice. The program also offers long-term support & a #cystahood of women in the same boat.
To register for the original F.ACNE program CLICK HERE
To register for the original F.ACNE program with EXTRA 1-on-1 weekly support CLICK HERE
RACGP (2012) Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: an update. Accessed from