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For more information about your reproductive health rights and related federal resources, you can visit the US Government’s Reproductive Rights site.

In response to the The United States Supreme Court reverses Roe v. wademany people have taken to social media to encourage users to remove their period tracking appsciting digital privacy risks.

Period tracker apps are a useful way for menstruating people to track their cycles. And they could do it for a number of reasons. People monitor their cycle to get pregnant, to avoid getting pregnant, to keep an eye out for symptoms of medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis, or just so they can tell their doctor the first day of their last rules when asked.

The downside of these apps is that they contain a lot of personal health information that could be used against users of the software. Data Privacy Concerns About Period Tracking Apps are not something new, but now the the consequences of leaking your private rules data are greaterin an already heavily guarded post-Roe world.

If you still want to follow your period but want to avoid apps, what are your options? If you don’t want to give up on apps altogether, there are more privacy-friendly policy-tracking apps, like Euki. The sexual health app states that it does not collect or store any of your data in a cloud.

The other option is to track your menstrual cycle with pen and paper. It may sound old-fashioned, but it’s the safest method. Here’s how to monitor your cycle by hand:

Get a calendar

Any type of calendar will do. You can even buy a blank notebook and draw your own schedule. I prefer a full size notepad planner that is blank, so I can manually fill in the days and months. A larger planner also gives you more space to write down additional notes like symptoms and birth control information.

Hand circling a date on a calendar in red ink

Once you have a calendar, you can save your current cycle or add previous cycle information for a more detailed record.

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If you want to use your phone, your device’s default calendar app offers the most privacy compared to a third-party calendar app. On the other hand, depending on how often you use your phone’s calendar app, adding cycle tracking information can make things a bit cluttered.

Record previous cycles if possible

Before deleting my period tracker app, I took screenshots of as much past data as possible, like cycle trend snapshots and past months that I had recorded. It gave me a more stable starting point when I started tracking by hand.

If you don’t have this information, don’t worry, you can just start logging in at the start of your next period.

What to write in your journal

You can keep your schedule as basic or as detailed as you want, but more information can be useful for learning more about your personal health, as well as providing talking points for you and your doctor during checkups. .

Here are a few things worth noting:

Bleeding
Of course, you’ll want to mark the first day of your period, but you’ll also want to mark each day you bleed. Also, try to note the intensity of your flow each day, the color of the blood and if you notice any clots.

According to the Mayo Clinic, menstrual bleeding lasts between two and seven days on average, so it’s important to know how many days you typically bleed. This extra detail can help you understand what to expect each month, as well as spot any abnormalities that you can share with your doctor. From the first day of a period to the first day of your next period is a menstrual cycle. Cycles can vary from person to person, but on average a cycle can last between 21 and 40 days.

Emotional symptoms
A lot happens to your hormones every cycle, which can impact your mood. According to the UNC School of Medicine, a person can experience irritability, depression, anxiety, and mood swings. These emotional changes can also happen before your period, which can be used as an indicator that the new cycle is about to begin. This is most often called premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Some people experience more severe emotional disturbances known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.

It can be helpful to rank your feelings on a scale of 1 to 10 to more easily spot trends, as well as inconsistencies.

PMS noted on a calendar

If you have premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, write down how you feel and how severe it is in your calendar.

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Physical symptoms
Your cycle also affects your physical well-being in addition to your mood. These events are also important to write down. According to WebMD, hormonal changes can cause physical symptoms such as cramping, breast tenderness, acne breakouts, bloating, lower back pain, constipation or diarrhea, and more.

Again, keeping track of your physical symptoms and ranking the severity on a scale can help you better understand what is normal for you and what is not.

Medication
Whether prescribed, over-the-counter, or contraceptive, it’s helpful to write down all the medications you take in your diary. Medication (or missing a dose of medication) can impact your cycle, as well as your physical and emotional state.

If you are on a contraceptive regimen designed to prevent your period for a period of time, it is still important to monitor bleeding and spotting. If you miss a dose of the contraceptive, it is also worth writing it down. Additionally, the use of medications like Plan B or the abortion pill would also be important to include in your diary.

A stack of ovulation tests

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, knowing when you’re ovulating can make a big difference. Most pharmacies sell ovulation tests to help you find out.

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

Ovulation
In a menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the ovary, travels down the fallopian tube, and remains for up to 24 hours for potential fertilization. According to the Mayo Clinic, in an average 28-day cycle, ovulation can occur 14 days before your next period or six to seven days after your current period ends. However, this may vary.

Ovulation can be marked by a slight increase in basal body temperature, changes in cervical mucus or vaginal discharge, as well as breast tenderness, bloating, mild cramping and more. If you are unsure, you can also buy home ovulation kits from the store. These kits are designed to detect hormonal surges. If you test positive, ovulation should occur approximately 36 hours later. Your ovulation window is usually your greatest chance of conception.

sexual activity
In addition to monitoring your ovulation, tracking your sexual activity can help you plan for pregnancy, or better, avoid one. Additionally, you can note whether intercourse was protected, as well as your latest sexually transmitted disease screening results. Knowing when you are ovulating can also help plan sexual activity.

put it all together

Your calendar or diary will be unique to you: your lifestyle, your eating habits, your stress level, your cycle length, your medications, etc. Remember, it’s about what works best for you.

Here is an example of a calendar based on an average cycle of 28 days:

Example of a cycle tracking chart

This is an example cycle tracker based on a 28 day cycle.

Shelby Brown/CNET

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.