May 19, 2024

VITALITY LIFE

LIVING HEALTHY VITALITY LIFE

A Health Coach Shares the 6 Best Apps to Track Your Cycle

13 min read

Ready to say sayonara to Aunt Flo’s surprise arrival (and her accomplice, PMS)? Or—seamlessly align your schedule for optimal family planning? In an era of millions of software apps, we’re deep diving into a niche market: period tracker apps. Whether your goal is to gain health insights, understand your unique cycle, or nail the bull’s eye for conception, a period tracker app is worth the storage space. Trust. Ultimately, finding the best period tracker app—for your needs and lifestyle—is a game-changer.

With your 2023 wellness intentions in mind, there’s no better time to keep tabs on your body’s natural rhythms. Fortunately, period tracker apps make it a breeze. I’m a Nutrition Consultant and these are my top period tracker picks.

Featured image from our interview with Remi Ishizuka by Michelle Nash.

In this article

  • Get To Know Your Flo
  • Why consider a period tracking app?
  • Should I worry about data privacy?
  • How accurate are period tracker apps?
  • Can you use a period tracker if you have an irregular cycle?
  • How to Choose the Right Period Tracker App
  • The Best Period Tracker Apps Of 2023
  • 1. Natural Cycles Period & Cycle Tracker
  • 2. Glow App
  • 3. Clue Period Tracker And Calendar
  • 4. Cycles
  • 5. WomanLog
  • 6. Spot On
  • Period Tracking Apps: A Powerful Tool
Edie Horstman

  • Double-certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant
  • Instagram

Edie is the founder of nutrition coaching business, Wellness with Edie. With her background and expertise, she specializes in women’s health, including fertility, hormone balance, and postpartum wellness.

Get To Know Your Flo

Without overstating the obvious, there are plenty of reasons to keep tabs on your menstrual health. Mere curiosity aside, getting to know your cycle is a journey toward better health, sleep, body image, and more. It’s an opportunity to harness your body’s hormonal fluctuations in your favor. Hello, cycle syncing!

In many ways, your menstrual cycle isn’t confined to a monthly event. Rather, it’s a dynamic symphony of hormonal shifts. And these shifts influence energy, mood, and overall well-being. By tuning in, you can achieve balance, decode patterns, and optimize various aspects of your life. Inevitably, this intimate knowledge becomes your guiding light.

Image by Michelle Nash

Why consider a period tracking app?

From predicting for your period—to tracing cycle patterns and symptoms—a period tracker takes out the guesswork. Plus, it’s a straightforward way to understand your specific menstrual cycle. A win-win. Additionally, period tracker apps often incorporate fertility tracking features, making them valuable tools for family planning or conception purposes. Moreover, these apps can foster a sense of community, providing a supportive platform for you to share experiences and seek advice. Last but not least, a period tracking app takes the burden off your memory—a portion of your daily mental load, removed.

Should I worry about data privacy?

If you’re concerned about data privacy, you’re not alone. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, you might be wondering how data—from period-tracking apps, specifically—could potentially be used to penalize abortion rights. After all, these apps house very intimate (read: sensitive) personal data. And, it’s not uncommon for apps to cooperate with law enforcement during criminal investigations.

Therefore, experts say period-tracking data could become a target for investigators. Fortunately, you can enjoy the benefits of period tracker apps while safeguarding your privacy rights! When in doubt, choose an app that prioritizes robust privacy measures, transparent data handling practices, and secure encryption methods.

Image by Belathée Photography

How accurate are period tracker apps?

No matter the quality of the algorithm, no app can predict—with 100% certainty—when (and how long) your period will occur. However, there are ways to increase your app’s accuracy! Here’s a breakdown of influential factors:

  1. Algorithm sophistication. The best period tracker apps utilize advanced algorithms that consider various data points. Think: cycle length, previous menstrual data, and potential fluctuations in cycle irregularities. Apps with well-designed algorithms are generally more accurate in predicting future menstrual cycles.
  2. Consistent data entry. Your app’s accuracy heavily relies on consistently inputting accurate and detailed data—including the start and end dates of your periods. Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to less reliable predictions.
  3. Cycle regularity. Period tracker apps tend to be more accurate for those with relatively regular menstrual cycles. If you have irregular periods or underlying health conditions affecting your cycle, the app’s accuracy may be diminished.
  4. External factors. Stress, illness, changes in lifestyle, and travel can influence the timing and length of menstrual cycles, potentially affecting the accuracy of predictions.
  5. User reviews and feedback. Consider reading reviews and feedback. Online forums can provide insights into the accuracy of a specific app based on real user experiences.
  6. Updates and improvements. Developers often update and refine their apps to improve accuracy based on feedback and tech advancements. In other words, your app should improve its accuracy over time.

Disclaimer: period tracker apps are not a substitute for professional medical advice, especially if you have concerns about your menstrual health, fertility, or underlying health conditions. If you’re using an app for family planning or medical purposes, consider consulting a healthcare provider for personalized guidance and support.

Image by Suruchi Avasthi

Can you use a period tracker if you have an irregular cycle?

Yes! Even if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, these apps are beneficial. Ultimately, using a period tracker can improve your health—thanks to the ability to input your general health aspects: mood fluctuations, symptoms, and overall well-being. Given that these apps collect data over time, the more information is logged, the more the app can identify patterns or trends. As you log your symptoms, moods, and other menstrual indicators, hopefully the tracker can help you recognize underlying issues. In fact, MyFLO is specifically designed for irregular cycles.

How to Choose the Right Period Tracker App

Decisions, decisions. How do you choose the right period tracker app for you? Here are a few things to consider:

Function

Get clear on how (or why) you want to use a period tracker. For example, if pregnancy is your goal, choose one that focuses on family planning. However, if you simply want to track your period, symptoms, and sexual activity to better understand your body, opt for an app with those features instead.

Budget

Although all of these apps have free versions, it’s important to gauge what you’re willing to spend on the features you want. Weigh out the most sustainable options.

Privacy

If you live in a state where abortion is currently banned (or partially banned) and fear your data could be compromising in some way, it’s best to choose an app that has an anonymous use option or promises data security.

Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Period Tracker Apps Of 2023

Without further ado, these are the six leading period trackers this year.

1. Natural Cycles Period & Cycle Tracker

The reviews speak for themselves! Natural Cycles is truly fantastic when it comes to fertility awareness. You’ll learn more about your body in a few months than you thought possible. Plus, this app has the FDA’s stamp of approval. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Pros

  1. Clinically proven. Natural Cycles claims to be the first (and only) FDA-cleared birth control app. It utilizes a unique algorithm to track and predict your fertility, based on basal body temperature measurements.
  2. Fertility tracking. The app is designed for both family planning and contraception. It identifies the fertile and non-fertile phases of your menstrual cycle, helping you plan or avoid pregnancy.
  3. Personalized insights. Natural Cycles provides personalized insights into your menstrual cycle, including predictions for ovulation and menstruation.
  4. Scientific approach. The app’s algorithm is based on extensive research and scientific principles, making it a suitable option if you prefer evidence-based methods.
  5. Data-Driven education. Natural Cycles encourages you to learn about your body and menstrual cycle, promoting a deeper understanding of reproductive health and fertility.
  6. Oura Ring compatibility. Wear an Oura Ring? Natural Cycles and your smart ring go hand-in-hand.

Cons

  1. Strict adherence required. To achieve accurate results, you’ll need to consistently and accurately measure your basal body temperature every morning at the same time. For some, this can be a challenge!
  2. Limited for irregular cycles. The app may be less effective if your cycle is irregular (or you have health conditions that impact basal body temperature readings).
  3. Initial learning curve. Using the app effectively requires a learning curve, as you’ll need to become familiar with measuring BBT and understanding the app’s interface.
  4. Paid subscription. Natural Cycles offers a free trial period, but ongoing use requires a subscription fee.

2. Glow App

Applying the power of data science to wellness, Glow contains the largest community for women’s health. Best of all, they offer a family of apps to meet your circumstances: track your fertility, follow your prenatal journey, support your baby’s health, and of course, keep tabs on your period. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Pros

  1. Comprehensive fertility tracking. Glow offers a wide range of features for tracking fertility, including menstrual cycle predictions, ovulation tracking, basal body temperature charting, and cervical mucus analysis. This makes it suitable for couples trying to conceive—or if you’re simply seeking to understand your reproductive health.
  2. Community support. The app has a very supportive community. You can share your experiences, seek advice, and connect with others who are going through similar fertility journeys.
  3. Personalized insights. Glow provides personalized insights into fertility patterns and ovulation predictions, helping you optimize your chances of conception.
  4. Integration with wearable devices. The app can sync with various wearable devices and fitness trackers, allowing you to incorporate additional health data for a more holistic fertility tracking experience.
  5. Cycle health monitoring. With Glow, you can track your menstrual symptoms, mood changes, and other health factors, helping you gain a better understanding of your overall cycle health.

Cons

  1. Learning curve. While Glow offers a wealth of features, it may require some time for you to become familiar with the app’s interface and how to accurately track and interpret fertility indicators.
  2. Data accuracy. As with all fertility tracking apps, the accuracy of predictions depends on consistent and accurate data entry.
  3. Paid premium features. While the basic features of Glow are free, some advanced features and insights are only available through a paid premium subscription.
  4. Overwhelming notifications. You may find the app’s notifications and reminders to be excessive or intrusive, impacting your overall experience.

3. Clue Period Tracker And Calendar

Female-led, this ethics-driven app is beloved by millions of women. From period to pregnancy tracking, Clue has you covered. Best of all, they guarantee your private health data will never be used against you. It’s no surprise this is the #1 doctor-recommended free period tracker app. Plus, it features built-in collaboration with top health researchers! Compatible with iOS and Android.

Pros

  1. Accurate and scientifically grounded. Clue is known for its accurate predictions and reliable tracking, thanks to its evidence-based algorithm.
  2. Comprehensive symptom tracking. The app allows you to track a wide range of menstrual symptoms, including mood swings, cramps, energy levels, and more. This comprehensive tracking can help you anticipate and manage your symptoms effectively.
  3. User-friendly interface. Clue features an intuitive and user-friendly design, making it easy for most to navigate and input data.
  4. Customizable reminders. The app provides customizable reminders for period start dates, ovulation windows, and other important cycle events.
  5. Discreet and private. Clue emphasizes data privacy and allows you to choose whether to share your cycle information with the app’s community—or keep it entirely private.
  6. Inclusive and gender-neutral. Clue is inclusive and gender-neutral! This makes it a welcoming option for a diverse range of users.

Cons

  1. Limited fertility tracking. While Clue offers basic fertility predictions, it may not be as comprehensive if you’re primarily seeking fertility tracking and family planning.
  2. Subscription for advanced features. Some of Clue’s advanced features and insights, such as cycle analysis and personalized health insights, are only available through a paid subscription.
  3. Limited integration. Clue has limited integration with other health or fitness apps and devices (compared to other period tracking apps, like Natural Cycles).
  4. Health data storage. While Clue prioritizes data privacy, be aware that storing personal health information on any digital platform carries inherent privacy and security risks.

4. Cycles

Looking for a simple, reliable, and intuitive app? Cycles is for you. No more feeling in the dark about your own reproductive health. With personalized observations and a unique design, Cycles knows how to make the most out of period tracking. Compatible with iOS.

Pros

  1. Simplicity and ease of use. The Cycles app is known for its straightforward and user-friendly interface. It’s easy for you to quickly input and track menstrual cycle data.
  2. Basic tracking features. If you’re looking for a simple period tracking without additional complexities, Cycles offers core features. Think: period predictions, cycle length tracking, and customizable reminders.
  3. Discreet and private. The app emphasizes privacy, allowing you to keep your menstrual data confidential. You can choose whether to share your information with the app’s community.
  4. No-nonsense design. Cycles app caters to those who prefer a minimalist design and a no-nonsense approach to period tracking.

Cons

  1. Limited fertility tracking. Cycles may not offer the same comprehensive fertility tracking features as other specialized fertility apps. If you’re seeking detailed ovulation predictions—or advanced fertility insights—you may find the app lacking.
  2. Limited symptom tracking. This app doesn’t provide extensive options for symptom tracking (compared to more feature-rich period tracking apps, like Clue).
  3. No integration. Cycles has limited integrations with other health or fitness apps.
  4. Basic features only. The app’s simplicity may be a drawback if you want more advanced features, insights, or community engagement.
  5. Limited support. Some reviewers mention the app lacks comprehensive customer support.

5. WomanLog

With its intuitive interface, you can effortlessly add period dates, symptoms, moods, and other health factors in WomanLog. This app offers predictions for menstrual periods, ovulation, and fertile windows. For visual learners, WomanLog’s charts and graphs are super helpful. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Pros

  1. Comprehensive tracking. As with the aforementioned apps, WomanLog offers a wide range of tracking options—menstrual cycles, fertility, ovulation, weight, symptoms, moods, and more. This comprehensive approach allows you to monitor multiple aspects of your reproductive health.
  2. User-friendly interface. The app features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for you to input and visualize your cycle data. Depending on your technological proficiency, you may find this quite advantageous!
  3. Prediction and reminders. WomanLog provides predictions for menstrual periods, ovulation, and fertile windows, as well as customizable reminders for cycle events and contraceptive methods.
  4. Symptom and mood tracking. You can log and monitor symptoms, moods, and other health factors throughout your cycles.
  5. Charts and graphs. The app generates charts and graphs based on the tracked data, which is great for visualizing changes and trends over time.
  6. Password protection. WomanLog offers password protection for added privacy, ensuring that personal cycle data remains confidential.

Cons

  1. Learning curve. While the app is user-friendly, you may need time to become familiar with all the features and settings, particularly if you wish to take full advantage of its functionalities.
  2. Paid premium version. While a free version is available, some advanced features and insights are only accessible through a paid premium subscription.
  3. Limited fertility features. While WomanLog offers fertility tracking, it may not provide the same level of advanced fertility insights as other apps.

6. Spot On

Powered by Planned Parenthood, Spot On is a user-friendly and comprehensive app designed to help you track and manage your menstrual health. With an intuitive interface, you can easily log your periods, symptoms, moods, and other health data. Plus, the app offers educational resources on sexual and reproductive health topics. Customizable reminders, data visualization, and privacy protection make Spot On a valuable tool for menstruators. Compatible with iOS and Android.

Pros

  1. User-friendly interface. Spot On boasts a user-friendly and intuitive interface that simplifies the process of tracking menstrual cycles and related health data.
  2. Comprehensive tracking. This app offers an array of tracking options, including menstrual cycles, symptoms, moods, sexual activity, birth control methods, and more. Say hello to a holistic overview of your reproductive health.
  3. Educational resources. Spot On provides educational content on sexual and reproductive health topics, empowering you with valuable information about your bodies and cycles.
  4. Customizable Reminders. You can set personalized reminders for various cycle events, helping you stay on top of your tracking and contraceptive routines.
  5. Data Visualization. The app generates easy-to-understand charts and insights based on the tracked data, offering you a visual representation of your cycles and patterns.
  6. Privacy Protection. Spot On emphasizes privacy, ensuring that personal information remains secure.

Cons

  1. Data entry reliance. As with any tracking app, the accuracy of predictions and insights depends on your consistent and accurate data entry.
  2. Limited fertility features. Spot On doesn’t offer the same advanced fertility tracking features as specialized fertility apps.
  3. No STI Protection. Like other period tracking apps, Spot On doesn’t provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), an important consideration for sexual health.
  4. Limited symptom analysis. While the app allows symptom tracking, it isn’t as comprehensive as other tracking apps.
  5. Paid premium version. While a free version is available, advanced features and insights are accessible through a paid premium subscription.
Image by Michelle Nash

Period Tracking Apps: A Powerful Tool

To bring this full circle, a period tracking app is—unequivocally—a powerful tool to support your menstrual cycle, fertility, and general health. By carefully considering the pros and cons, you can select an app that best aligns with your needs and preferences.

When in doubt, prioritize data privacy and the extent of features you want. And remember, while these apps are helpful, they aren’t a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare provider for any specific concerns related to menstrual health or fertility.

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