Many of us already use fitness trackers, sleep monitoring apps, and even stress management trackers on a daily basis. But do you keep track of your menstrual cycle? ICYMI, your period is not your cycle. It’s part of your cycle.
It just so happens that period tracking can reveal some pretty valuable information about your overall health (and it makes it way easier to avoid that moment of panic when your doctor asks for the exact date of your most recent period).
Whether or not you’re thinking about getting pregnant, period tracking is an underutilized tool for better understanding the ways in which your body responds to factors like stress, exercise, sleep, and birth control. Plus, it only takes a couple of seconds to open up an app and log the information: Most of the apps on this list use cute icons (rather than boring text boxes) for recording PMS symptoms, energy levels, sexual activity, and other relevant details.
Curious? Here are a few things you might learn about yourself by tracking your period:
- How your sex drive fluctuates during different days of each month (relative to the phases of your cycle)
- How your moods and energy levels fluctuate before, during, and after your period
- Whether or not stress levels impact your flow, symptoms like cramps and bloating, or even the appearance of period blood
- The days of the month when you are most fertile (useful information for folx who are trying to get pregnant – and for those who are most definitely not)
For the second part of our 3-part “Re: Your Cycle” series, we put together this shortlist featuring our 5 favorite period tracking apps (most of which are free to download with optional premium upgrades). We hope you’ll check them out. Let us know what you learn in the comments below!
PS: Missed Part 1? Click here to learn all about the four phases of your menstrual cycle.
App Store Rating: 4.8 ✩
Best for: Those who are experiencing irregular periods or severe PMS who want to track their entire cycle in detail and access a wealth of relevant content and resources.
- Loads of insights and features (including over 70 symptoms & activities to track)
- Podcast, video, and written content resources including period FAQs, tips for getting pregnant, stress and wellbeing tips, and more
- One of the most popular cycle tracking apps in the Apple App Store (with over a million reviews)
- Flo’s Medical Board of 50+ doctors & experts work to make the app effective, accurate, and accessible for all
- Transforms into a pregnancy tracker if needed
- The various options can be overwhelming or unnecessary if you prefer a simple tracker
- Flo isn’t free – but the yearly subscription comes out to only $2.50/month
Cost: $5.99/month or $29.99/year (with a free 30-day trial)
App Store Rating: 4.8 ✩
Best for: Those who want a well-designed, sleek, and easy-to-use app who aren’t planning to get pregnant or nearing menopause.
- Sleek, modern, and easy-to-navigate interface with period predictions for your next three cycles, birth control and other calendar reminders, and trend reports
- Track cravings, moods, energy levels, and other “not-so-scientific” data to help you learn how your cycle affects you holistically
- Lots of valuable (yet easily digestible) menstrual cycle science and resources
- Option to add other cycles besides your own (like your partner, child, etc.).
- No way to track menopause symptoms
- No “pregnancy mode” feature
Cost: FREE – with the option to sign up for Clue Plus for $4.99/month, $29.99/year (with a free 7-day trial), or $24.99/6 months to get a monthly Cycle Review email as well as early access to new features.
App Store Rating: 4.8 ✩
Best for: Individuals trying to get pregnant, undergoing fertility treatments, or with a diagnosed medical condition who want to pay closer attention to symptoms as they relate to the menstrual cycle.
- Technically a fertility tracker, Ovia has a simple interface that makes it easy to see when you’re most fertile and which phase of your cycle you’re currently experiencing
- Allows you to log medical conditions (such as endometriosis, PCOS, or uterine fibroids) in order to receive tailored insights
- Period tracking algorithms are developed using cutting-edge medical research to precisely identify ovulation and fertility windows
- Track exercise, sleep, medications, moods, menstrual flow, discharge, cervical position, and more
- Useful articles and other timeline content is occasionally interrupted by ads or sponsored content
- Clunkier and less streamlined in appearance than others on our list
App Store Rating: 4.7 ✩
Best for: Those who are sexually active (but not necessarily trying to get pregnant); those seeking a judgment-free online community to talk about sex and The process of discharging blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one lunar month from puberty until menopause, except during pregnancy..
- Designed by the same developers who created Glow, one of the original fertility tracking apps, Eve helps users learn more about their cycles with fun, useful insights and a user-friendly interface
- Features a digital community of users that encourages supportive, open discussion about periods, sex, and other taboo-but-important topics
- Sex positive, body positive mentality with relatable language throughout
- Predicts the dates of your next three periods
- The free version of the app offers limited features (you have to upgrade to access charts, PMS symptom forecasts, and complete cycle analysis)
- At first glance, the app looks a little bit busy – and without the Premium upgrade, ads tend to get in the way of the higher quality, curated content
Cost: FREE – the optional Premium subscription is $7.99/month for 3 months, $47.99/year (with free 7-day trial), or $59.99 for a lifetime membership. With Premium, get access to Cycle Analysis, CycleScope health readings, Advanced Cycle Chart, Meditations, and Comparative Insights (and no ads).
App Store Rating: 4.6 ✩
Best for: Those who prefer a simple, bare-bones period tracking app with quick insights backed by scientific research.
- The Cycles app is simple, easy to navigate, and straightforward for those who don’t want tons of extra content or features cluttering their screen
- Option to require FaceID or password in order to access the app, maintaining your privacy in the event that your device is stolen
- The free version is robust enough that most users won’t feel the need to upgrade: You can still log information on your flow, mood, sexual activity, basal body temperature, and birth control intake
- Partner Connect feature allows you to share basic cycle information with a partner (while keeping personal logs and insights private)
- Some users may find the Cycles app to be lacking in informational content and bonus features
- Only available for iOS/Apple devices
Cost: FREE – the optional Premium subscription is $29.99/year (with a free 7-day trial) or $4.99/month (also with a free 7-day trial).
Where to download: On the App Store for iOS