5 Best Period Apps and How to Track Your Menstrual Cycle

Did you know that the average woman gets a period roughly 450 times during their life?

Getting one’s period isn’t usually a whole lot of fun, especially if you don’t expect it. Period apps can help you predict your period and figure out when you’re most fertile. 

But these aren’t the only benefits of tracking your period. Tracking your monthly hormone flow can be very interesting. It can foster a beautiful mental/emotional connection to your body and a deeper understanding of yourself. 

Some women’s cycles even sync to the moon! Does yours?

Although they aren’t always easy, menstrual cycles are an incredible thing. There’s no reason to feel any stigma around it. Seeing as it happens every month, why not talk about it, track it, and even plan your schedule around it? 

Keep reading to find out about some of the best period apps, as well as some of the basics of cycle tracking. 

The Basics of How to Track Your Cycle

Before we get into some of the best period apps to try, let’s talk about some cycle tracking basics. 

Whether you track your period using menstrual tracking apps, pen and paper, or intuition, here are a couple of age-old methods for getting in tune with your cycle.  

Take Your Temperature

One of the most common ways to track your cycle is by taking your basal body temperature first thing every morning. This is widely known as the Natural Family Planning (NFO) method. 

During ovulation, your basal temp will usually drop, and then sharply rise. After ovulation, your basal temp will drop down to typical levels. 

If your cycle is regular, you can count the days from the temperature fluctuation to predict which day your period will arrive. You may also get some warning signs that your period is about to start, such as cramping, lower back pain, etc. 

However, this is not across the board. Although 60% of women experience PMS, many don’t get much forewarning of their periods.  

Check Your Cervical Mucus

Another way you can track ovulation and periods is by checking your cervical mucous. Like temperature tracking, this method isn’t 100% reliable, but it can give you valuable insights into your cycle. 

If you aren’t on hormonal birth control, you should be able to notice a change in your cervical mucous throughout the month. In the days leading up to ovulation (after your period has ended) cervical mucous tends to be white, dry, and thick.

Just before ovulation, it becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy, often resembling egg whites. Once ovulation is over, the cervical mucus becomes drier and thicker once more. 

Period Apps to Try

Although you can track your cycle the old-fashioned way, period apps can make the process easy and fun.

Some apps leverage data to increase cycle tracking accuracy. This can be especially helpful if you have somewhat irregular cycles

Some apps also send you notifications and provide extra features like educational information and message boards. 

Here is a list of the 5 best period apps to try. 

1. Flo

If you want the power of AI on your side to predict your menstrual cycle, the Flo tracker app is a good choice. It is one of the most comprehensive period apps.

Besides allowing you to easily track your temperature to predict ovulation and menstruation, you can also input other symptoms, including:

  • Cervical mucus
  • Menstrual flow
  • Sex drive
  • Mood
  • PMS symptoms
  • Water intake
  • Hours of sleep
  • Birth control usage

The more data you input, the more the app’s AI technology will have to work with. 

With the premium version of Flo, you also receive access to extra resources and classes around hormonal health, as well as customized fertility assistance. 

However, the free version allows access to all the core features, as well as the Secret Chats feature. 

Overall, Flo ranks as one of the best free period tracking apps that also offers premium paid features. 

2. Clue

Are you looking for an inclusive app? Clue is one of the few menstrual cycle tracking apps that use inclusive languaging for both age and gender. 

Clue also offers one of the largest range of trackers. Besides tracking your cycle, you can also track and log your moods, energy levels, exercise, food cravings, and digestive health symptoms. 

What you track is also highly customizable.  

The one downside to Clue is it doesn’t offer medication tracking. But besides this one drawback, Clue is one of the most comprehensive period tracking apps.

The free version includes all of the tracking features. For roughly $5 per month, you can opt to gain access to a monthly review email with a cycle summary. The paid version also grants you access to education content. 

3. Lite

If you need to easily identify fertile windows during your cycle, the period tracker Lite is a free app with a focus on helping you figure out when you’re most fertile. 

The free version allows you to press a button when your period starts, and input menstrual symptom severity. You can also input data on your mood, weight, and temperature. 

4. MagicGirl

MagicGirl is an entirely free app that’s specifically designed for “tweens and teens”. The interface and resources are tailored to young menstruators who are busy learning about their reproductive system and hormones

Besides period tracking, users also gain access to a wealth of educational videos on things like hormonal health, fertility, birth control, and sanitary products and options. 

5. Natural Cycles

If you’re tracking your period to naturally avoid pregnancy, Natural Cycles is another option to look into. Currently, it is the only FDA-approved app for birth control using the NFP method. 

However, besides this stamp of approval from the FDA, Natural Cycles doesn’t stand out from the other apps on this list. It only allows you to input temperature readings and period data, and doesn’t offer any other kind of tracking features. 

There also isn’t a free version, and the monthly cost is $10.

Are You Trying to Heal Your Hormones?

Tracking your cycle is a wonderful way to get in tune with your body. It can also be a very useful tool for helping you address any hormonal issues. 

Some doctors will tell you there isn’t much you can do for hormone problems. This isn’t true.

There is specialized care for all types of hormonal imbalances and hormonal changes. The key is to find a specialist who looks at your body as a whole and seeks to help it heal and rebalance itself. 

Dr. Karen Threlkel specializes in naturopathic hormone treatment, including bio-identical hormone therapy, and providing a gentle, natural approach to many common health concerns affecting women.

You can see Dr. Karen Threlkel either in person or through a virtual visit or phone call. No matter where you are, she can help.

Take a holistic approach and contact us today to book an appointment.

Levine, Hallie and Lauriello, Samantha. “10 Facts About Periods Everyone Should Know.”

Health, 30th of August 2018, https://www.health.com/condition/menstruation/period-facts

Northrup, Christiane M.D. “Premenstrual Syndrome.” Christiane Northrup M.D. 26th of February 2007, https://www.drnorthrup.com/premenstrual-syndrome/

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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