Menopause symptoms can sometimes be tricky to pin down. Perhaps your symptoms are subtle or come and go. Maybe they seem so odd that you struggle to believe what is happening. This is why symptom tracking can be useful in identifying and understanding the changes related to menopause.
Why should you track your menopause symptoms?
1. Identify patterns and triggers
Tracking allows you and your healthcare provider to spot patterns. You may notice that your hot flashes are much worse when you drink coffee, or that your mood swings are harder to manage during periods of stress. Understanding these patterns helps you to make simple lifestyle changes that can have profound results.
2. Understand how symptoms affect you
Tracking your symptoms allows you to be objective about how they are affecting you. For example, if you notice that your hot flashes are now happening twice as often and making you feel worse, perhaps it’s time to think about getting treatment.
3. See your progress
Another advantage of tracking is that it gives you excellent insight into how well your treatment or lifestyle changes are working. For example, you are likely to see an improvement in your symptoms once you start HT or improve your diet, sleep, activity levels, or stress management. This will hopefully give you some reassurance that your treatment and/or efforts are worthwhile.
On the other hand, perhaps you aren’t seeing any improvement and you can use the information from your tracker to discuss alternate strategies with your healthcare provider.
See what treatments are right for you
Which menopause symptoms can be tracked?
Menopause commonly causes symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. However, these are just a few examples from a long list! Learn more about 34 common menopause symptoms.
Everyone’s experience of menopause is unique, and your symptoms may be very different from those experienced by your friends. For this reason, it’s important to track the symptoms which are affecting you the most.
Whether that means hot flashes or sleepless nights, make sure that you are tracking in the way that serves you the best.
Which is the best way to track menopause symptoms?
Track your symptoms in a way that is convenient and feels natural to you. The most important thing is to be consistent with it.
If you like using paper calendars and journals, stick with this method. You may choose to use a diary, notebook, or wall chart. This can be quite a creative and fun process, especially if you have an artistic streak!
If you prefer to keep it digital, there are several options. These include:
- Online calendars
- Digital notebooks and word processors
- Smartphone apps
The Stella menopause app includes a regular symptom check-in to help you track progress.
How should you track your menopause symptoms?
This varies depending on the method you are using. Many apps will prompt you to enter specific information about the symptoms you are tracking. If you are going it alone, think about the symptom you are tracking and how it affects you before recording any relevant details.
For example, if you are tracking your hot flashes, think about:
- How often do they happen
- How intense they are (on a scale of 1-10)
- How long do they last
- Where they happen
- What time of day do they happen
- Any other possible links (stress, coffee, alcohol, weather, etc.)
- How it impacted your day
Other symptoms can be more difficult to pin down, such as mood swings. The same categories would be useful, but you may also choose to include feedback from others. For example, what is your partner saying about your mood swings? And your co-workers?
The exact method you use to track your symptoms may be a work in progress – and that’s okay! As you learn more about your symptoms, it’s natural to change the way you record them.
When should you start tracking your menopause symptoms?
This is a personal choice. You may decide to start tracking your symptoms as soon as you notice the first signs of menopause. This can be helpful as it allows you to spot patterns and gain insight into your menopause earlier.
This approach isn’t for everyone. Many people want to pay as little attention as possible to their menopause symptoms and may find the act of tracking in itself somewhat stressful. If this is the case for you, it’s absolutely fine to start tracking only if your symptoms become troublesome.
It’s also fine to never track your symptoms! Symptom tracking is simply a tool to be used if you need it.
Symptom tracking is a simple way to gain insight into your menopause. It can help with lifestyle changes, treatments (including HT) and even simply feeling empowered to cope with this period of change.