Period tracking is an essential part of ensuring that your cycle is healthy and regular, and is also important if you are trying to conceive. With advancing technology, gone are the days of keeping a written diary or circling the start of your period on the calendar. There are countless apps available on the market that allows you to not only track the start date of your period, but also your symptoms and feelings leading up to your menstruation. Most apps will also allow you to know exactly where you are in your cycle throughout the month, based on your past logs and cycles, and most tend to cater to your own personal experience as well.
I started to track my periods using apps back when I realised that they were becoming irregular. Once I started it to track them in the apps, it became a lot easier to inform my doctor just how far apart my periods actually were. Over the last 5 years, I’ve tried and tested two of the most popular apps on the market to find out which is the best, Clue or Flo. Check out my in depth, honest review below
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Clue is an app that I have used for a number of years. It’s very easy to operate and find your way around. It’s great at showing you where you are in your cycle and you can choose your tracking categories and remove the ones that aren’t so relevant to you. You can also input any medication, including the pill, and set push notifications to remind you to take your medication. This was a very useful tool when I was taking the pill, but now that I am not taking any medication, I use it to remind me to take my vitamins. The calendar feature also allows you to view past cycles so it can became quite easy to view any reoccurring patterns.
As mentioned, you can track various categories on the app including; mood, pain, symptoms, flow, discharge, activities, exercise and even how clear or unclear your skin has been, it’s really quite flexible! The only thing I would say is that the status options within these categories were minimal and quite broad, for example the category ‘mood’ only had 4 options; sad, angry, happy or PMS. You can tick multiple options, but still I found it difficult to choose out of these 4 moods.
I did try the premium version of the app which was only around 70p per month.This membership promised to offer predictions on my cycle based on my past logins but to be honest, I forgot I had the premium version as I failed to notice any difference from the free version, so I cancelled it after a few months. Even though the membership was inexpensive, I just didn’t feel it was worthwhile despite the low price.
I soon became slightly bored of the app due to it’s minimal tracking options, but I was determine to keep it up in order to keep on track of my cycle. Also, the thought of trying a new app was quite daunting; I had 2-3 years worth of tracking information on the app, could I really be bothered to start this again on a new app? But eventually Clue left me with no choice but to delete my account as the app just crashed completely. For two weeks I couldn’t even open the app. That was the final push I needed to see what other apps were available on the App Store.
I decided to download Flo, which is in fact is very similar to Clue. The app offers a calendar feature, daily tracking, medication reminders, insights into your cycle, and plenty of tracking categories. One thing I noticed instantly was that there were a lot more status options compared to Clue, and was so much more flexible and in depth! Not only could you input things such as your weight, water intake and how much sleep you’ve had, there were more specific options available. For example, let’s look at the ‘mood’ category again; unlike the Clue app with it’s 4 options, Flo has 14 including irritated, apathetic, and frisky, meaning the app allowed me to keep on top of my many moods throughout the day! It even tracks your daily step total using the Health app on your iPhone.
The app goes beyond just tracking , and actually plays host to a community of women with conversations areas labelled Secret Chats, where users can post anonymously and join conversations about menstruation, sexual health and just general womanhood topics, honestly anything goes but it is a very inclusive, monitored environment, so it’s completely safe. Another great feature of the app is the amount of articles on offer and the Flo chat bot, named the Flo Assistant, which is amazing at helping you depict if your recently tracked symptoms are normal. The app also clearly states when you’re ovulating and suggests dates which will be your best chance at conceiving.
I haven’t tried the premium version yet, so I can’t comment on if it’s worthwhile or not, but from what I can see you will be given access to more in depth articles and you will even be able to participate in various courses on the app such as ‘Acne-free living’ ‘Mindful Pregnancy Through Meditation’ and ‘Your Fertility Journey’ which is worthwhile if you are interested in finding out more about these topics.
Both these apps are absolutely fantastic at helping you keep on track of your cycle, and are brilliant if you wish to see how regular your periods are. As mentioned, both are somewhat similar, but what I would say is that if you’re new to period tracking apps, it may be best to start with Clue to get the hang of concept, as I feel that I would have found Flo a little overwhelming at first if I didn’t already have the knowledge I learned from Clue. However, now that I am a Flo user I am a lot more satisfied at what the app can offer me, there’s simply more going on and appears to be updated more regularly, so therefore Flo is my winner.
I really can’t stress enough just how worthwhile tracking apps really are. It literally takes a minute out of your day to track your symptoms, regardless of which of the two apps I’ve mentioned above you use. By tracking daily, it helps to build up such a picture of how healthy your cycle really is. Without these tracking options, I wouldn’t know that I can expect to feel bloated a week before I’m due my period, or why I get a bit anxious mid way through my cycle. Honestly the science behind these apps is immense, and the best part about them is that they’re completely free! Let me know if you’ve tried these apps and how easy you found them to use. Or, if you use a different app let me know how it compares.