I recently read an article in the New York Times about the rising popularity of period tracker apps, and how they are easing the taboo around menstrual cycles for younger women.
I love news like this.
I myself have used a tracker app for years, and while I don't think they are the be-all-end-all in terms of changing the national dialogue on periods, I think they are step in the right direction. If we can learn to talk comfortably about something common and normal like (gasp!) periods, it builds a foundation for discussing things that are not normal, like v pain.
Why do I not think they are the be-all-end-all? Because there is still a lot of negativity around periods that tracking doesn't necessarily dissipate. For instance, in my own life I've overheard comments along the lines of "I love my period tracker because I know when I'm going to be a crazy b****," or "Ugh, it warns me of the dark times so I can plan around it."
In these scenarios the app is used as a coping mechanism to deal with an unavoidable evil rather than a tool to build a better relationship with your body so your periods can be easy, consistent, and comfortable - the way they are meant to be.
I would like to see tracker apps go one step further and include some education about how periods do not need to be hellish, and if they are, how that means something is awry. I really wish that there was more education in our society in general on this topic - there is a lot of unnecessary suffering going on.
Side note: if you have troublesome periods and it's news to you that healthy periods are possible, check out "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" by Christine Northrup for a nice introduction to living well with your cycle. If you want a lot more details on specific nutritional and lifestyle changes to support hormonal health, a great resource is Alisa Vitti's book "Woman Code" and her website www.floliving.com. The Red School focuses on the menstrual cycle as a route to psychospiritual and personal growth and leadership - a total 180 from how most people in our culture view them. If those don't resonate with you, there are plenty of additional resources, such as treatments and resources through the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine and other alternative and complementary care modalities. No need to suffer endlessly!
At any rate, taking menstrual cycles off of the "taboo" list is a great start to healing our cultural issues around periods and v health.