This is the first post of our four part series Her Body.
For a teen girl, menstrual cycle health can have an effect on her overall health physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A girl’s cycles can impact her energy levels, moods, and body figure throughout most of the month. Conversely, her cycles can be affected by impacts such as stress, sleep, and body weight. Increasing her awareness of all aspects of her cycles by charting them can help a girl improve her total wellbeing.
Charting a girl’s cycles goes beyond circling the start date of her period on a calendar and counting the number of days until the start of her next period. God gave each girl specific signs unique to her body on any given day of her cycle. When a girl is informed about these signs, she can learn to notice them as she goes about her day. Jotting them down on a chart specifically designed for teens can help her detect trends from cycle to cycle, predict when her period will start (even if her cycles are irregular!), and develop strategies for reducing cycle symptoms. Cycles & Spirituality: Charting the Natural Signs God Gave Each Teen Girl & Young Woman to Understand Her Unique Cycles is a book designed to teach girls to chart their cycles in an age-appropriate manner consistent with Catholic values.
By observing specific bodily signs, a girl can know where she is in her cycle on any given day and which symptoms she typically experiences during that time of her cycle. Understanding her own cycles can show her the effects of eating healthy foods, developing consistent sleep patterns, exercising, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Natural care based on her own cycle signs and symptoms may help reduce cramps, make her periods shorter and lighter, reduce breast tenderness, reduce bloating, and increase energy. A girl’s chart can also help identify certain medical issues that could potentially affect her ability to have children later in life, allowing her to seek early treatment. In all of these ways, cycle charting can help a teen girl improve her physical health.
Some girls have standard cycles each exactly 28 days apart. For the other 86% of girls with “irregular” cycles, predicting their period can sometimes be a guessing game. For some girls, not knowing when to expect a period can lead to anxiety. By charting cycle signs unique to each girl on each day, even girls with extremely irregular cycles can have high confidence in predicting when each period will start. Being prepared for a period can improve self-confidence and self-esteem. Understanding where she is in her own cycle may also help girls who experience the emotional swings of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Whether she becomes more sad and tearful or more jumpy and irritable, a girl may not realize (or want to admit) that her emotional state is hormonally charged until after her period arrives and she looks back in retrospect. Noticing trends on her chart may help a girl better recognize when her emotions may be related to hormonal fluctuations. Increased awareness can help her better handle what comes her way.
Many girls who have learned to chart their natural cycles say it has given them a greater appreciation for God’s design of their body. When a girl learns to see beauty in her own biology, it can remind her to observe and appreciate God’s intricate designs in nature as she walks through the park on a fall day, in astronomy as she looks up at the stars at night, in her relationships as she comforts a friend, and in many other aspects of her life.
Understanding and predicting her natural cycles may also help a girl in her commitment to remain chaste. Understanding God’s design for her cycles may remind a girl that sex is intimately connected (as God designed it to be) with the possibility of conceiving new life. A girl may find that awareness of her natural cycles increases her spiritual resolve to save sex for marriage when she can truly give herself in love to her spouse. Appreciating God’s creations and increasing a commitment to abstinence can help a teen girl grow spiritually and resolve to walk with Christ in her young adulthood.
A teen girl who observes and charts her own unique cycle signs can accurately predict even irregular periods, better manage cycle symptoms from cramps and bloating to stress and moodiness, and value God’s plan for her body. To help your teen daughter have healthier cycles physically, emotionally, and spiritually, please consider sharing the book Cycles & Spirituality.
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