Let’s Get Personal: Talking About Natural Cycles

Good Morning!

Almost all of my readers are female, so hopefully, you all find this post pretty interesting and helpful. I’m partnering up with Natural Cycles today to talk about their effective method of birth control, combining the Nobel Prize-winning founders knowledge of mathematics and data analysis to detect and predict ovulation and fertility accurately. I’ve been using it for the past month, and It’s been super informative and fascinating to observe and monitor my body changes. Before you continue reading, know that Natural Cycles is for preventing pregnancies, or for extra help getting pregnant.

Now, for me, this app is all about preventing pregnancy. Feel free to download the Natural Cycles App (for free.) You will need to order their basal thermometer to start measuring, but you can play around with the app while reading this post.

Even though Natural Cycles is so effective that it’s a certified method of birth control in the EU, I have been using it on top of my regular birth control routine. I currently have an IUD, and my cycles are very regular. They come around the same day each month, but my cycles bring a lot of unwanted side-effects. I was diagnosed with endometriosis about four years ago. I went to the doctor with pain so excruciating that it caused me to pass out. I had a massive cyst burst. The crazy thing is that I experience it about twice a year now. Some cycles are easy, and some are so bad that I have to cancel my entire agenda. With endometriosis, I suffer from extreme cramps during my cycles. What I love about this app and method of birth control is that I can monitor my body’s hormones, take notes, and plan for the arrival of the cycle. My doctor has given me many suggestions on what to do before and after. It’s nice to keep track and have notifications to remind me. One day (in 7-8 years), when I’m ready to have kids, this app could be a big help, especially with endometriosis.
It’s important to have options when it comes to birth control. Natural Cycles encourages you to talk to your doctor about different choices. There are so many methods of birth control out there, but we all have different needs as women. I know I do! Birth control is NOT a one size fits all, so you need to find what works best for you! Many women love to use a natural form of birth control, and this one is very accurate for that approach.

And note *like most birth controls* this does not prevent or protect you from STD’s, so again…be safe, be careful, be aware!

I have been learning a lot about my hormones and how the body works this past month using Natural Cycles. I have been taking note of how my skin looks, energy levels, bloating, and mood each day after taking my temperature. You get to learn more about your body and correlating symptoms around your ovulation and cycle.

As I was taking my temperature each morning, I noticed something. My constant low body temperatures. If you look at the scale, 96.23 is on the lower end. I now have a follow-up doctors appointment to have my thyroid checked. I have a lot of the symptoms, and a lower body temperature is a significant indicator. I hope to have all the answers January. This app isn’t only convenient for cycles; it can help you improve your overall health. I love Natural Cycles quote “Knowledge is Power.” Understanding your body is so important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.
If you’ve downloaded the app, great! I’ll walk you through how it works.

You’ll want to get a thermometer to track your temperatures (when purchasing a one-year subscription, you’ll get a basal thermometer.) Do this every morning when you wake up, enter it into the app, and the app will tell you whether you’re having a RED day or GREEN day. For me, I’m extra careful on red days. That means you’re fertile and can get pregnant. Hello, abstinence.

If you have a green day, it means you are not fertile! You can have (which I do not) unprotected sex without the risk of pregnancy. I use green days as a green light + my regular birth control. I use red says as a red light and avoid intercourse altogether. Even though you can still have intercourse on red days with protection and birth control, I am just too far from being ready to be a parent, and that is OK! See where this can also be helpful for someone trying to conceive? They’ll be able to know when they are fertile, which will help the process! Over 600,000 women are already using the Natural Cycles app in over 161 countries!
Because I live with some complications when it comes to my cycle, I like to plan ahead. To avoid severe cramps, I have to take medicine three days prior. I want to know when I should pack women products, cut back on caffeine, drink more water, cut back on junk food, eat more iron (I’m also anemic), avoid oceans with sharks (jk), when to get more active, and how to pack for a trip. It’s good to know when your cycle is arriving so you can plan for it. I have been pretty regular, which is fortunate! But your days do shift as the months go by, so it’s good to keep your cycles tracked. If you are feeling pain, you’ll be able to look at your calendar and know if it’s a cramp or something else that should be checked out. You’ll be able to detect spotting and know right away why it’s there, or understand why your pants aren’t fitting 😉 I recommend keeping the thermometer by your bedside so you can do it first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, to ensure you have the most accurate measurements.

Taking an LH test allows you to get more green days and help you monitor and record more information about cycles and ovulation. Again, this works best for people trying to prevent pregnancy or trying to get pregnant. You can purchase the LH test and the thermometer on the webshop.

I love this app so much, and I so excited to be using this. It’s so important to know what your body is doing, why your body is doing it, and when it’s going to do it! I look forward to using this app to better my health in the future!

Questions for you!

  1. Have you ever heard of Natural Cycles?
  2. Do you face any complications during your cycles?
  3. Do you have any questions about this method of contraception?

This blog was sponsored by Natural Cycles but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own! 

Comments

  • C. Kreugs

    I love this! Thank you for sharing your personal journey with endo. I have suffered from extreme pelvic pain and uterine bleeding (gross, I know!) for years now, and I’ve gone through 6 doctors in two years. Big sigh. But, my new Dr is the bomb! She saw me twice, reviewed my records, ran some tests, and gave me the diagnosis that I have suspected for years now: endometriosis. But it’s honestly 100,000% better to have this diagnosis than it is to suffer through pain and symptoms every day without knowing what’s going on! I felt sooooo crazy for years, when doctor after doctor told me that I was fine, or dramatic, or experiencing normal pain.

    Reply to C. Kreugs
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is exactly how I felt! I had been to numerous doctors as well and finally had the diagnosis and it was scary at first, but I’ve learned to deal and if it doesnt get better overtime I may opt for the surgery. Have you thought about that at all? I’m a little nervous, but sometimes I can’t even stand because of the pain.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • C. Kreugs

        Because one of my close friends was diagnosed with endo 6 years before me, she was really helpful in walking me though what life with endo can look like, day-to-day. And because I had a hunch (aka I was 99% sure I either had endo or ovarian cancer) my diagnosis didn’t seem so scary- it felt like an answered prayer and a breath of relief. The pain is killer, and I’m a student, so I’ve had to have some awkward conversations with my professors about missing class bc some mornings I wake up, take pain meds, and just can’t even stand up. But, my new dr recommend we try an IUD before we do the surgery- so we are giving that 10 months before we reassess. Surgery itself doesn’t scare me, but I definitely want to try as many holistic and less-invasive methods before we try the surgery! Anything for less pain! I’ll be praying that you get some answers and some solid steps towards less pain soon!

        Reply to C. Kreugs
  • Jo

    Your temperature can be on the low side if your caloric intake is lower than it should be, too. Make sure you’re balancing your activity levels and your food intake. A low intake can give you abnormal thyroid results not actually indicative of a thyroid condition, but those that can simply be corrected by eating more. Just something to consider! Take care of yourself. 🙂

    Reply to Jo
  • Stacie

    I’ve had amazing results using NC! I can’t use hormonal BC because it makes me break out and feel “off.”

    Reply to Stacie
  • Jordan

    Great post Taralynn!

    I have never heard of Natural Cycles but I love hearing about different options for us as women.

    I do have some PMS/cramping issues during my cycle — I also have a thyroid disorder and feel like when my levels are “off”, my cycle is also “off”. Meaning heavier, longer, more cramping and just all around no fun 🙁

    I hope that you get some answers with your tests coming up in January – thyroid issues are frustrating and sometimes the struggle to get a true diagnosis takes WAY too long.

    Thanks again for the info!

    Reply to Jordan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jordan!

      Thank you for sharing all of that. Makes me more eager to get all my thyroid levels checked if that’s the case. I’m currently having my “visit” now and I feel like it’s the end of the world because the pain is so bad, but could just be endo as well. Hope to get some more answers soon.

      xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    I’ve never heard of Natural Cycles but I’m SO glad you did this post! I’ve been on the pill for a while, and I’m wanting to go off of it because Ben and I know we want to start thinking of a family in the next few years AND I’m just not as comfortable taking extra hormones anymore! I’d love to give this a try! Plus, I think it’s fascinating to just know more about your body and what’s going on throughout our cycles!
    Knowledge is power!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Susie!

      That sounds like a great plan! 😀 Definitely talk with our doctor before stopping the pill! To be safe. It’s a great way to monitor your body and clear it from all the hormones. It is fun to know more about your body!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Traci

    I’ve never heqrd of this particular one but I like the looks of the app! We struggled to get pregnant with both of our boys and had to track ovulation and temps for quite awhile. We would like to have one more in a year or two so I will make note of this one 😊

    Reply to Traci
  • Nika

    But I love to get to know my body like this and be able to tell, when my ovulation is over. Nevertheless, I am still afraid to use no additional protection, so I’m looking into getting an IUD myself. Did you have any complications with it, Tara?

    I’ve been following your blog for several years now and I think natural alternatives to hormonal contraception methods is a very important topic for younger (or any ) women, so I had to leave my first reply 🙂

    Greetings from Germany 😉

    Nika

    Reply to Nika
    • Taralynn McNitt

      No complications, but everyone is different and there are so many different IUDs out there! Definitely consult with your doctor on what is best for you!

      THank you for reading!:D

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard of this before but now I’m more eager than ever to try it! Side question: I’ve been considering switching to an IUD recently. Have you had any issues or side effects with it?

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Lauren!

      I’m on a non-hormonal one, so I think it depends on which kind you get. It was a little uncomfortable the first day, but I think that was just a common feeling. No issues at all though!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • j.

    Keep us updated on your tests. Your temps are alarming (as a nurse.)

    Reply to j.
  • Sandra

    Such a great post! I’ve actually been looking for a new BC option so since I’ve been told I can’t take any others with hormones anymore. If I may ask, is your IUD hormone free?

    Reply to Sandra
  • Lindsay

    Hi Taralynn, thanks for sharing this. I am a type 1 diabetic and my cycle affects my sugar levels. I’m definitely going to give the app a try, I think it could help tremendously! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply to Lindsay
  • Anonymous

    Why don’t you work out lately?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Nika

    I´ve been using a similar method observing my cycle for some months now. Combining temperature and the consistency of the cervical mucus to identify when I’m fertile (or not). I track the results in my Bullet Journal creating my curves every month by hand.
    I have pretty short, but regular cycles, but suffer from cysts and severe cramps, too :'( I always take some magnesium supplements some days prior. It helps a lot!
    But I love to get to know my body like this and be able to tell, when my ovulation is over. Nevertheless, I am still afraid to use no additional protection, so I’m looking into getting an IUD myself. Did you have any complications with it, Tara?

    I’ve been following your blog for several years now and I think natural alternatives to hormonal contraception methods is a very important topic for younger (or any ) women, so I had to leave my first reply 🙂

    Greetings from Germany 😉

    Nika

    Reply to Nika
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yes, cysts are so painful during periods for sure. I’ve dealt with the pain for years! Yes, magnesium does help!

      When it comes to an IUD, you should talk to your doctor! I didn’t have complications, but there are many types of IUDs and everyone responds differently, so I can’t suggest which to go for or what is best for you. I highly recommend talking to your doctor.

      This app will definitely help you get to know your body and I love that.

      Thanks for reading, Nika!

      Best of luck!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Shannen

    Thanks for the review! I’ve heard about this before and wondered how/if it worked. Definitely a cool idea. And I love hownit goes beyond just your cycle.
    I’ve typically had normal cycles until recently. I made some big changes to my diet and it has impacted my cycle in huge ways. Which really stinks because I have no idea when it’s coming 😬 oh well, I just can’t wait for the day it settles back into a routine!
    (ps. you should do an updated planner post. I know you did one on the Erin Condron planners awhile back. But it would be cool to see how you use your planner on the day to day!)

    Reply to Shannen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Shannen!

      Yes it’s a very effective method as long as you put in the work to track those cycles! You should definitely start keeping track of your cycles! If they are still out of whack, I’d go see a doctor.

      I may do that next year when I order my new one! 😀

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Nicole

    This looks incredibly user friendly!!

    Reply to Nicole
  • Kim

    I had never heard of this BC before, thank you for sharing! I will definitely look into it when we try for our second!

    I’m fortunate to not have pain with menstrual cycles but have a friend with endometriosis and i know it’s incredibly painful. I am so sorry for what you go through. 🙁

    Reply to Kim
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Awesome, Kim!

      It is painful, but there are some people who have it much worse! I’m pretty proactive about preventing all the pain that I can!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Brooklyn

    This is really cool to read!
    I also have Endometriosis, and PCOS, and have not had a cycle in 4 years so I’m not sure how to use any apps like this in my case.

    For others though this seems awesome!

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

    Reply to Brooklyn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Brooklyn!

      Wow! That is a very long time and I’m so sorry to hear that. :\

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
      • Brooklyn

        Thanks. I’ve gotten used to it. Doctors say that when decide I want to get pregnant to get a gynecologist right away to help out. But other than that it’s fine 🙂 In the end I save loads of money, not having to buy feminine products. So there’s a positive.

        Reply to Brooklyn
  • Anonymous

    I used to use this method, it was great. I also am anemic and had/have endo and fibroids…it was much easier than hirmones changing everything every month.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Sophie

    Have you heard of or read the book Woman Code by Alisa Vitti? It is life changing, especially if you have complications with your cycle like you described. It’s all about balancing your hormones naturally through nutrition and specific types of exercise during the different phases of your cycle. It’s really empowering too. Check it out!

    Reply to Sophie
  • Anonymous

    Can you do a post on your endo?

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Courtney

    Wait, I am so jealous that your can use an iud with endo. No doctors will let me do it!

    Reply to Courtney
  • Eliza

    This looks like a cool app for monitoring!

    Reply to Eliza
  • Kristen

    I keep hearing great things about Natural Cycles! I’m glad it works for you, I think I will give it a try! Thank you for the review 🙂

    Reply to Kristen
  • Lívia

    Excellent post! The hormonal contraceptive have bad side effects for health. Why you cut the caffeine ? Thanks for share!

    Reply to Lívia
  • Carolyn

    Thank you for this!! I have been looking for a good way to prevent pregnancy since my son was born. I tried the pill and it did not work well for me. I can’t wait to try natural cycles!

    Reply to Carolyn
  • Cassie

    I’ve had some friends that have endometriosis and have found that eating less meat and dairy products have helped a ton as it reduces inflammation in their body. Maybe something to consider to help with the pain some! Awesome app, I use clue, which is free and helps me to keep track of my cycle as well. This does look like a very good app too!

    Reply to Cassie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Cassie!

      I unfortunately have to eat meat because of Iron levels and anemia, but I have tremendously cut back on dairy products. I have noticed some changes in the way my skin/cramping is that time of month for sure.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Juliette / Namastay Traveling

    Thank you so, so much for doing a review on this! I’m planning to switch to this in 3 mo (once my pills run out) since I know it’s certified in other countries and want to get off of hormones as we start to family plan. Would you mind sharing the cost of it, per month or per year? Thanks again for an honest review!

    Reply to Juliette / Namastay Traveling
  • Kelli

    I have never heard of this app, but will definitely be downloading! I use FLO right now and it’s pretty good, but my husand and I will be trying to conve in the next few months so this will be super helpful for me (I know nothing about ovulation, etc.)
    I have a history of large ovarian cysts and have had 2 emergency surgeries on cysts that the doctors thought would burst on their own but didn’t (one was the size of a grapefruit! ) and they are SOOOOOOOOOO painful. I’m terrified of my own body at this point in fear that another massive cyst will develop. I was told by the OB/GYN who did my first surgery that the pain associated with cysts that size is similar to labor…something to look forward too I guess…

    Reply to Kelli
  • Linda @ the Fitty

    ! There are lots of apps out there for menstruation, but this seems to be the best, and most detailed one. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
  • Melissa

    This was a really informative post, thanks for sharing! Random question that doesn’t relate to Natural Cycle… but where is your calendar in the photo above from?

    Reply to Melissa
  • Aubrey

    I love this form of birth control!! I am so against the hormones in other kinds of BC so this is such a good option! HOWEVER, I used this method for prevention without a thermometer and only used a calendar and was pregnant in 2 months LOL.

    Reply to Aubrey
    • Jessica

      Yeah, trying to just use the calendar (aka rhythm) method is pretty pointless, since you have no information about when you’re really ovulating. This method plus the app looks like a good start, but people who want even more data (and therefore more accuracy on “green” vs “red” days) should try charting other symptoms of ovulation, like mucus or cervix location. Also, any kind of “basal body thermometer” will be specific enough to use for tracking hormones.
      If you want more information, try searching for “Natural Family Planning” “Couple to Couple League” “Sympto-Thermal Method” “Billings Method” or “Marquette Method.” You’ll have a much better chance of preventing pregnancy without using other forms of birth control as a back-up.

      Reply to Jessica
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Aubrey!

      It’s honestly so great for anyone who cannot use the hormonal birth controls. lol BUT YES, YOU HAVE to use that thermometer!! haha

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • KateBakesCookies

    I love this! I can’t use birth control because of my health condition. I will try this out.

    Kate Bakes Cookies

    Reply to KateBakesCookies
  • Jean

    I love the idea of this! I’ve been looking more into natural birth control lately and this sounds amazing. I currently am on the pill which has been fine for the last 2 years but I’m not a fan of putting things into my body that aren’t natural. I’ve always been lucky in haveing no problems with my cycle so it makes sense for me to look into this. I’ve also recently switched over to using Lunette Cup instead of tampons. I’ve read too much lately on the unknowns that around the process of making tampons and what they contain. It’s been life changing and so much cheaper. Thank you so much for showing me another great option to living a healthy life.

    Reply to Jean
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    It sounds like a great app. Thanks for sharing, Taralynn! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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