Technology is fantastic, useful, and insidiously part of our lives. Period Apps are another arrival that are fast on the rise, but should we, or indeed need we, use an app to track our menstrual cycles? Or are they another piece of tech unnecessarily monitoring our data?
Here’s are our top takeaways:
1. Finding your “normal”
Tracking your period can be extremely useful to help you learn about what is your “normal”. Some of us can time our period to the hour, others are reliably unreliable. Knowing what your body does from month to month is important in order to help you to see when something isn’t quite right, and when you might need to ask for a second opinion.
Apps allow you to keep track of when your period starts, how long it lasts, and even how heavy your period is on different days, as well as other symptoms. A good app to be more in touch with yourself and your cycle is Clue. It’s not as “girly” as many other period apps, so good for people who don’t really like pink, flowers or butterflies. Another app, My Cycles, has many symptoms to choose from and you can keep track on them on a calendar.
I’ve found period trackers really useful, I check where I am in my cycle and can plan whether I need to take stock & look after myself, or be particularly productive & take on challenges!
– Maddy @ natracare
If you are looking to get pregnant, then you should absolutely be noting down when your periods are taking place. The apps will use the data to tell you when you’ll most likely be ovulating, giving you an indicator of your fertile days during the cycle. And, if you become pregnant, then you can accurately tell your doctor or midwife the date of your last period so they can estimate your due date. On apps such as Flutter you can note down a lot of detail useful to track your fertility – including basal temperature!
Remember though, that despite being able to track your cycle, period apps are not a way of contraception. (But they can help you to remember taking your pill, such as Flo.health, which sends you reminders!)
I haven’t used an app for a while, but it was useful to know exactly when my last period was to let the doctor know when I discovered I was pregnant.
– Jess @ natracare
3. Is mood tracking worthwhile?
Another aspect period apps offer is the option to track your mood. Noting down your moods and energy levels can help you to see patterns of how you feel at certain times in your cycle, so you can maximise your schedule around how you might be feeling.
For some, hormones can feel like they dominate the way we live, however just be aware of all the other factors that might be causing your moods to change. Lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet and stress can have a huge impact on your mood and energy levels, so just make sure you don’t blame your period for everything! You might find it more helpful to write a diary instead (or in addition to your period/mood tracker) so it helps you to see the bigger picture of what’s going on in your life.
Period Tracker offers lots of emotions to choose from to ensure you can note down all the emotions you go through in a day. On Eve you can note down your period, sex life and emotions or whether you’ve worked out and other in diary-like moments. It even has the option to share them with your nearest and dearest.
Eve makes it fun for me to just think about how I felt on a specific day (and why) and reflect the day without having to write an extensive diary entry. I now understand better which of my emotions might have been period related
– Anna @ natracare
4. Period apps for… men!?
That’s right, there are now apps for men to help keep a track of their partner’s periods. Offered innocently as a simple way for your partner to understand the emotions you might be feeling at different stages of the month. We feel there can be some sense in this.
However more recent reports have highlighted a complete misuse of these apps, with cases of men tracking their colleagues apps and sharing this information around to office as a guidance for male colleagues to “stay away” from their female co-worker.
Recent news stories have highlighted how some men are abusing apps designed to track the periods of friends/partners/colleagues, leading to workplace sexism. What an outrage!
‘Clue’ app is really clean and easy to use – I appreciate the lack of flowers and butterflies! You can make it at as detailed as you want and track mood/physical symptoms or just the dates you get your period. It predicts the date of your next period based on the average of your previous cycles – really helpful if your periods are not very regular
– Lauren @ natracare
So are period apps are best kept in the hands of those who are menstruating? Or does it help to open the conversation to both sexes? Do you use a tracker for your period, if so which and why?
For an even more comprehensive run-down of some of the best (and the rest) Period trackers and apps available, check out this great roundup from Refinery29.