Get to grips with your lady bits.
Whether you’re looking to plan a pregnancy, avoid one, or simply keep track of your monthly cycles, period tracker apps are a good go-to. The feminine care industry exploded early last year after the Natural Cycles app got the green light from European regulators and the US Food and Drug Administration for use as a medical contraceptive (boasting a 93% success rate at preventing unwanted pregnancies). Although there’s been some controversy as to whether it should be used solely for that purpose, with no other contraception, it has sparked an interest in tracking your body’s personal changes.
Of course the apps are no substitute for seeing your local doctor, but they are useful for keeping tabs on your menstrual health, your body’s rhythm and symptoms and for mapping changes throughout the month. Now that’s data your doctor will be happy to have on your next health check.
Even if you’re as regular as clockwork, these apps are still useful for monitoring other things, like pregnancy-related planning (by measuring body temperature and cervical mucus for possible ovulation days), or even when is the most optimal time for you to workout. Plus, within a month’s use of some trackers, you might discover that craving for cheesy pasta and bread is cycle-related and not down to willpower failure after all! With hundreds of apps on offer, read on to discover five options that can help make you period-savvy in no time.
Rating: 4.8 from 44.9k reviews / #15 in Health and Fitness Apps on iOS
How much: Free iOS, Android (basic version) or $11 per month for the advanced version
Install if: You want an in-depth report about your cycle
Clue is one of the best period trackers in the fem-tech app landscape. It has more than 10 million users in 200 countries and runs scientific collaborations with the University of Oxford, Stanford University, the University of Washington and Columbia University. We particularly loved the clean, less girly, no-nonsense user interface. It gets extra points for gender-neutral iconography, and the fast and smooth set up (all you have to do is enter the first date of your last period, period cycle, length and type of flow).
Clue lets users track seemingly unimportant things like the condition of your hair, discharge and stools. Data can also be synced with an Apple Watch or FitBit and shared with your friends or partner.
Rating: 4.8 from 375.5k reviews / #3 in Health and Fitness Apps on iOS
How much: Free basic version on iOS and Android, or $9.99 USD per month for the premium version
Install if: You have irregular cycles and want the lowdown on your menstrual health
Flo’s USP is that it uses artificial intelligence to predict period cycles. The neural network behind the app claims to be 54% more accurate in predicting periods than the other apps on your phone. Now, that’s a huge plus if your cycle is not so precise.
The app claims to be the “most downloaded health app worldwide”, and is easy to use and pretty discreet if you don’t want prying partners and friends to know any details about your cycle. It is password protected, appears as a “tracker” in your phone and keeps a tab on your moods, sleep routine, water consumption, exercise levels, basal temperature and ovulation window. It can sync all this data with your Apple Health app. You can also set reminders about when to pop your pill or when your next period is due.
Rating: 4.7 from 57.4k reviews / #61 in Health and Fitness Apps on iOS
How much: Free iOS/Android, or $47.99 USD per annum for the premium version
Install if: You want an app to fill the high school sex-ed gaps with spicy emojis and ask intimate questions about baby making without judgement
Eve by Glow doubles up not only as a period tracker but as a sex app as well. Expect a daily sex quiz, fun tips about sex (think “30+ sex positions he is craving for now”). You’ll also be advised to wear “sexy underwear” if you’re ovulating, and if your partner is connected on the app then it will tell him to buy flowers on the way home.
It’s the least fertility oriented app we tried out, is unabashedly quirky and also gives access to a community of users that will empathise about your nasty stomach cramps. The website provides useful information about your next date with Aunt Flo, IVF, egg freezing and everything you want to learn about getting pregnant.
Rating: 4.7 from 7 reviews / #89 in Health and Fitness Apps on iOS
How much: Free iOS, Android
Install if: You train really hard and want to take the guesswork out of when and how is best (based on your cycle)
Periods make you sluggish, so if you workout it will inevitably affect performance. High estrogen levels mean greater ligament laxity which can spike up your chances of injury, especially in team sports like football and rugby. In fact, a better understanding of the monthly cycle can mean the difference between success and failure for an athlete.
Designed in hues of blue (a welcome change from the overdose of pink), FitrWoman is a no-nonsense app which takes detailed information about your period and uses it to explain your next flow, tells you what kind of food you should eat for ovulation nutrition and helps you train with your menstrual cycle. For example, on day 15 it will tell you that your performance will most likely peak with endurance exercises, and to enhance it you must eat healthy fats for a slow release of energy.
Rating: 4.8 from 20.8k reviews / #22 in Health and Fitness Apps on iOS
How much: The basic version is free on iOS and Android basic version, or $9.99 USD per annum for the advanced version
Install if: You want an easy way to track your periods. The name says it all
Apparently, Cameron Diaz is a fan. Want more motivation to jump on the pink wagon? This cutesy app is a breeze to use and tackles a ton of period-related symptoms like bloating, acne, food cravings, cramps, fatigue etc. If you upgrade to the full Period Tracker version you’ll get access to interesting charts, which are great if you’re choosing to track ovulation. Based on stats (including cervical mucus and basal body temperature or BBT), a chart will pinpoint exactly when the app believes you’ve ovulated, making it easy to know when to have sex if you’re trying to conceive (or when not to have sex if you’re not!).
The best part is if you do get pregnant, you can easily switch to the pregnancy tracking version, which is full of goofy visuals. It details your baby’s growth, along with body changes and symptoms to expect along the way.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of Clue via iOS App Store, image 2 courtesy of Flo Health, image 3 courtesy of Eve via iOS App Store, image 4 courtesy of FitrWoman, image 5 courtesy of Period Tracker via iOS App Store.
Review and ratings from the iOS App Store as of Monday, 25 February, 2019.