Back in ye olden days, before I had a smartphone, I kept track of my period using a small pocket calendar. Or at least, I tried to keep track of it that way. It was so easy to forget to mark the calendar each month. The worst thing was showing up at a gynecologist appointment and not having an answer when the nurse asked me for the date of my last period. However, that’s a problem of the past thanks to the proliferation of period tracking apps.
There’s a bounty of tracking apps available you can use to keep tabs on your monthly cycle. As early as 2016, there were already 200 such apps available. And now, nearly 500 million women use a period tracker app to monitor their cycles.
Many of them are free or offer free versions. Once you’ve downloaded the period tracker of your choice, you enter the start and end dates of your period, and the apps let you know when you’re at your most fertile, when PMS is about to start and, of course, when to expect your next visit from Aunt Flo.
No matter what your preference or need might be, there’s probably an app out there that will meet it. Here are a few of the best:
1. Life – For Women Who Value Their Privacy
As the “Femtech,” or “female technology” sector continues to boom, issues surrounding women’s privacy have come under scrutiny. Many of the more popular apps will sell your information for profit. Even if you were to use the app anonymously, location and network tracking can reveal your identity. The tradeoff? You don’t have to pay for their services.
But Life – available for both Apple and Android users – promises to completely protect your data. All their profits come exclusively from their users’ pockets. Their free version offers all the basics of other period apps: cycle history, symptom tracking, ovulation predictions, and more.
For anything fancier, you’ll have to pay. But the premium version is ad-free and provides perks like sex, weight, and medication trackers.
While Life’s free version may not have all the bells and whistles of more popular apps, it’s perfect for women who believe their privacy is priceless.
Top Life Features
- keeps your private information private
- provides all the basics you need in the free version
2. MyFlo – For Women with Premenopausal or Irregular Cycles
Up to 40% of women experience negative symptoms from PMS that are bad enough to disrupt their daily lives. This, along with other menstrual disorders like polycystic ovary disorder (PCOS) or endometriosis, can make it difficult to track your periods using typical period tracking apps.
But MyFlo claims it can help identify and relieve the severity of at least thirteen menstrual disorders and symptoms. It has a lot of useful tools to help you deal with your irregular periods. Some of those include what foods help with your symptoms or hormonal imbalances, the option to track over thirty symptoms, and exercise regimes that work with your cycle.
In fact, there are too many unique and practical features to list here. The only downside? MyFlo, while affordable, is not a free app.
Top MyFlo Features
- addresses irregularities or negative symptoms of your period
- allows you to track over thirty symptoms
- identifies what foods help with your symptoms or hormonal imbalances
- provides exercise regimes that coordinate with your symptoms and cycle
3. MagicGirl – For Teens and Preteens
MagicGirl is perfect for teens and preteens because it provides an interface and tools that can help young women that are new to the period-tracking game.
While it includes all the basics of other period tracking apps, it also has targeted features for teens. There are tips and advice from medical professionals aimed at young women, advice on what period products to use, and a password-protected diary.
Best of all, it allows teens to connect and chat with other teens about the symptoms, emotions, and new discoveries surrounding their changing bodies.
Top Magic Girl Features
- provides tips and information from medical professionals
- offers advice for what period products to use
- includes a password-protected diary
- connects young women to foster support between users
4. Flo – For Women Who Want to Learn More about Their Cycle
Women may make up half of the population, but many of us still don’t know much about our own bodies or menstrual cycles.
Luckily, apps like Flo make it their mission to not only give you a tool for tracking your cycle, but to also provide you with useful and educational information about women’s health.
They allow you to better understand your cycles through colorful graphs; provide resources like informative articles, quizzes, and surveys; and connect you with an online community to discuss topics on women’s health.
Top Flo Features
- provides graphs to help you better understand your tracked data
- offers resources like informative articles, quizzes, and surveys
- connects you with an online women’s health community
5. Clue – For Women Who Want the Most Trusted
With nearly a million users, Clue is one of the most popular and well-trusted period tracking apps out there.
German-based Clue is a popular choice. It has frequently made “best of” lists and has been around for nearly a decade. As a result, it has set the tone and practice of many of the newer apps.
Clue has three-month forecasts for your cycles, birth control reminders you can set, and it can predict the symptoms you are likely to experience at each point in your cycle.
It also uses the information it compiles to provide informative studies that dispel the mysteries surrounding your cycle. It implements the statistical data of its users to answer a question like: Does your cycle really sync up with that of your best friend?
Though it gathers and shares your information, the strict privacy laws enforced in its home country of Germany means that your data is mostly – if not completely – anonymous.
Top Clue Features
- one of the most trusted period tracking apps on the market
- provides three-month forecasts for your cycles
- lets you set birth control reminders
- predicts negative symptoms you will experience throughout your cycle
- uses your data to answer questions and dispel myths about women’s health
Ffrequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can I track my period?
Smart phone apps are the simplest way to track your period. But if you do not have access to these apps or prefer to track offline, you can do it manually in a journal. The length of your cycle can be tracked by counting the number of days between the first day of bleeding each month. Remember, it will take a few cycles before you will be able to recognize trends or irregularities in your cycle.
How accurate is my period tracker app?
This all depends on how regular your menstrual cycle is. With a regular period, most apps are pretty accurate. But if you have an irregular cycle or medical condition effecting your period, period tracking apps have a harder time predicting your cycle.
Is there an app for irregular periods?
Yes, there are a number of apps if you experience irregular periods. MyFlo, listed above, is one of them. Another option is an app called Ovia Fertility.
Why should I track my period?
Tracking your period isn’t just a way to tell if you’ve become pregnant. It’s also a useful way to gather data that will help you understand the patterns of your cycle and the symptoms that accompany them. You can also give this information to your doctor for more accurate treatment.
How can I track my ovulation?
An easy rule of thumb to remember is that ovulation usually occurs 14 days before your next cycle – or 14 days before the first day of your next period. So, you can track your cycles and calculate their average length. Then, subtract 14 from this number. You will usually ovulate for 2-3 days around this time in your cycle.