Five reasons to track your period

Five reasons to track your period

… perhaps using the Poka App!

I wish Mother Nature could send me monthly letters or emails that just said “Guess who’s not pregnant this month?! You!!” (I promise to check the mail!)

But she’s an old lady who probably doesn’t want me to enjoy life, so here we are!

And since we have no choice, let’s make the most of our periods … (or the least?)

African women have always had different ways of tracking their periods. Not much is documented about these different methods that were used, but almost everyone’s great-grandmother, aunt, and mother seemed to have some way of knowing when to expect their periods. And while they have not always been sophisticated ways, the end result was the same.

An African woman tracking her period using menstrual cycle beads.


Period tracking in the modern day is a lot easier because there are apps like the POKA Health app, that simplify tracking one’s period. Period tracking is not limited to just the timing of the period but to the character of the flow – heavy, light, or moderate, as well as associated physical symptoms and mood fluctuations – cramps, acne, etc. Tracking our menstrual periods has multiple benefits. These range from a general awareness of how our bodies may behave around our periods, to suspecting/predicting health concerns, to planning for impending events and planning for a family. 

Have you ever wondered why we track our periods? Why do you track your period? What’s the point? It’s going to come anyway, isn’t it? Let’s get into it.

1. Noting Irregularities

Knowing what's normal for you when it comes to your period can help point out when there’s an abnormality. Period tracking gives women a general awareness of the consistency and character of their menstrual period. This means that women who track their periods are more likely to notice when there’s some deviation from normal. This deviation may not be a problem, as there are times when things such as change in environment or diet habits can cause slight changes in periods. There are also important medical conditions e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disorders, eating disorders, endometriosis, and premenstrual disorders1 to be mindful of. Regular tracking and taking note of irregularities can prompt women to seek medical advice if needed, and help in investigating hormonal imbalances or other health concerns. In investigating these issues, a detailed record of menstrual cycles can provide valuable information for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

2. Planning a Family

For women trying to conceive, or those trying for the opposite – i.e., preventing conception, or seeking contraception, period tracking allows an estimation of the timing of ovulation within their menstrual cycle, during which women are most fertile, and hence pregnancy is most likely to occur. This can inform women to either have or avoid sexual intercourse, depending on their fertility plan. This information is crucial because it allows women to take charge of their reproductive decisions. 

3. Detecting Pregnancy

A “missed period” – i.e. menstruation failing to happen at or close to the expected date, is usually the earliest way that women find out they are pregnant2. The earlier a pregnancy is diagnosed, the earlier prenatal care can begin, leading to more favourable outcomes for both the mother and the child.

4. Monitoring and Managing Symptoms

Many women have symptoms associated with their periods. Mood changes, cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, diarrhoea, and headaches are just a few of the common ones. (If you’re one of the lucky ones with none of these symptoms… how does it feel to be God’s favourite?)

Period tracking allows women to anticipate and monitor their symptoms and can help them manage the associated discomfort. Knowing ahead can help women make certain lifestyle changes and/or seek medical help for symptom management e.g., drinking hibiscus tea ahead of periods can help calm some women or help reduce cramps. Some women also require pain medication for symptom control.

5. Planning for Events

Imagine that you’re headed to a beach resort for the weekend with your bae or to Dubai with the girls. It’s something you’re planning for the month you’re on leave. Personally, I wouldn’t want to plan it for the week of my period! There is no place for cramps, diarrhoea, and menstrual cups in my Dubai dream! 

Basically, period tracking allows women, especially women with unfavourable menstrual or premenstrual symptoms to plan activities around challenging days. It helps us live our lives in a way that favours our lifestyles. It also helps women who use single use menstrual products e.g., pads or tampons to plan the purchase and use of their menstrual products, to ensure they are prepared and thus prevent any chances of unexpected accidents. Using sustainable period products such as cups or discs and period underwear means you can always be prepared - no need to repurchase every period!

Period tracking generally inspires a proactive approach to women’s reproductive health. It empowers women to make informed decisions about their own lives, and improves overall well-being. The Poka Health app which is available on both IOS and Android helps simplify period tracking for you as an African woman, with features such as cycle predictions, symptom logging, and a community of like-cultured African women to share experiences with. Join our community, and let us know why you track your period and how your grandmother tracked hers!





1.        Popat VB, Prodanov T, Calis KA, Nelson LM. The Menstrual Cycle. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1135(1):43-51. doi:10.1196/ANNALS.1429.040

2.        Nobles J, Cannon L, Wilcox AJ. Brief Report: Menstrual irregularity as a biological limit to early pregnancy awareness. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022;119(1). doi:10.1073/PNAS.2113762118

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