Kat de Naoum | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 23 March 2016

How On Earth Did We Know What Was Going On With Our Bodies Before Period Tracker Apps?

How On Earth Did We Know What Was Going On With Our Bodies Before Period Tracker Apps?

The Debrief: What is a period tracker app, what are the best period tracker apps and whats the point in tracking every little detail? All is revealed.

Remember when you used to write a big “P” in your diary (CIA-level coding right there) so you’d know when your period was due? Most of us have now replaced the ole pen and diary method with Period Tracker Apps which do so much more than just let you know when you’re getting the P.

What is a Period Tracker App?

Period Tracker Apps are becoming imperative and for more reasons than just telling you when to not wear white. They can tell you everything you need to know about your cycle, i.e. when your period is coming, when you are pre-menstrual, when you are ovulating and when (if you like it commando (aka sans condom)), you’re not ovulating. If you want a baby, it tells you the exact days you should be at it like jack rabbits. All you have to do is download the Period Tracker App of your choice, put in some basic details i.e. age, length of usual cycle, and the date of your last period, and you’re good to go.

Is there any difference between a Period Calendar, Period Calculator and Period Tracker App?

No, this is not a silly question because we were wondering the same thing. Period calculators and calendars just tell you when to expect the uterus ninjas, whereas tracker apps have evolved to the point that they can track your mood, your temperature, any symptoms you may have and when exactly the egg’s about to drop (ovulation).

Why on earth would someone track their period or their ovulation cycle?

The main reasons we want to track our periods are: (a) to know when our period is coming, and (b) to know when we’re ovulating, but it’s important for a whole lot more than just that. Tracking our menstrual cycle helps us understand our body rhythms. Tracking everything can help give our doctor imperative information should they ever need it for whatever reason. After tracking a few periods, you’ll likely be able to see a pattern and be able to foresee symptoms and be prepared for them. You’ll know when you’re PMS-ing so you can stock up on necessities (tamps, painkillers, chocolate, weaponry). And for those who are ready to have babies (hello, are you sure?) it’s obviously great to know when your body is in baby-making mode.

What are some good period tracker apps?

There are quite a few period tracking apps out there, but here are the best ones we’ve tried and tested.

Clue Period and Ovulation Tracker

We found that Clue is the most extensive of the tracker apps available, giving you the options to input your mood and temperature, how heavy your flow is on each period day, how much sleep you’re getting, how much energy you have, and how much sex you’re having. You can basically be inserting information on it all day, like a diary. It prides itself on being confident, scientific and not pink, and is available on iOS, Android, and even Apple Watch.

Period Tracker Deluxe and Period Tracker Lite

This is pink. And flowery. And slightly condescending, but, for a free app, it does what it says on the tin and tracks your period. The “lite” version has most of the necessary functions needed for tracking every little thing about your “days” and the paid for version (£1.99) focuses more on ovulation and baby-making, giving you the exact days and times you may be ovulating based on your body temperature. Its deluxe version allows auto-syncing of your precious moon data, so in case you lose your phone, your data is still safe in the moon-cloud.

My Cycles Period and Ovulation Tracker

Like Clue, this app doesn’t scream “you’re a girl - act like it!” It’s a fertility calendar and menstrual diary which tracks fertility and ovulation signs to increase your chances of getting pregnant. It has a nice, simple design, giving you the bare necessities of period and ovulation tracking, noting your period, the whole menstrual cycle, symptoms, and any medications you may be taking. And it’s free.

Period Tracker Apps… For Men

Yes, you read that correctly. Men want to know when you are on your period (probably so that they know when to avoid you or just throw all the chocolate at you). And there’s more than one, which proves how badly men want to be in the know about these things. There’s a pretty insensitive (to women) one called Frederik (advising men on how to avoid 'getting grief', not making their girlfriends sneeze, and other such precious trinkets) and another other, more humane, period app for men (who may actually love and respect you) called Shrvrk.

iPhone’s Health App Period Tracker

Apple’s HeathKit, their health app which is a basic app that comes with any updated iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, is pretty thorough when it comes to your health. It has a “Reproductive Health” section in which you can track not only your period, but your basal body temperature, cervical mucus quality, ovulation, sexual activity and track any spotting.

Period tracker online: What if I don’t have a smart phone?

We’re not going to judge you for not having a smartphone. Instead, we’ll give you all the online tools available for tracking your period.

Kotex Period Tracker

This is more of a period calculator, working out when your next period is due. You can even have an email reminder, like, “ay yo, head’s up… you’re expecting a visitor in a couple of days”. It also tells you when you’re ovulating.

Period Calculator Tampax

As well as telling you when you’re due to come on, the official Tampax period calculator and calendar tracker tells you when you are pre-menstrual (grouchy and eating your weight in chocolate), and when your peak ovulation window is. They give you little “atta girl” and information snippets each day too, i.e. on the ‘heaviest flow’ day: “Ok, here we go. This is when your period and your cycle starts. Bleeding begins as your womb lining is shed. Emotionally, you'll start feeling more chilled than you have for days as your hormone levels drop. The good news? No more PMS for 28 days.”

Period Tracker Always

Always and Tampax are owned by the same company so the online Always period tracker is almost identical to the Tampax one, just with a different logo and a slightly different look. It tells you when you’re menstruating and ovulating, and they also provide some information about what is currently happening to your body.

Period Calculator NHS

The NHS’s ovulation calculator is mainly for people interested in fertility. It provides your exact ovulation dates according to your last period and even tells you the baby’s due date if you happen to get pregnant during those ovulation periods.

Do I need a Period Tracker App?

Not particularly. The big “P” in our diaries served us well until now, but the period tracker app somehow weirdly satisfies a narcissistic need in us to know exactly what is going on with our bodies at all times, giving us a false sense of control. And we’re kinda hooked. There’s no turning back now.

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Tags: Periods