Keeping track of your cycle (well, if you are a woman! But if you are a man you would be well advised to familiarise yourself with the cycle of your significant other!) is an incredible way to engage actively with your journey to wellness. Your health is intricately connected to the monthly rhythm of the female reproductive cycle and becoming familiar with these inner tides opens up a deep bodily connection. It opens you up to the monthly ebb and flow which includes body, mind and spirit. We are integrated wholes and as you keep track of your cycle you will notice the changes which accompany this ebb and flow.
A period tracker app is a great way to do this and it really makes your ever present mobile phone work for you. Alex, regardless of his incredible interest in women’s health, has never successfully had a period (I don’t believe he even tries), so as part of the Carberry Clinic team I, Tijana Šarac, am writing a review of two easy to use apps that I actually utilise myself.
Most period tracking apps have the same features such as a “my period just started/ended”-button, looking up when you are ovulating, listing your symptoms, feelings and activities for each day or whenever you feel like something is worth putting in the diary, and scientific information about and tips on women’s health and periods in particular. Choosing the right one for you has a lot to do with the design of the app. Some can be quite girly, with cute animations and lots and lots of pink being used. Others, while still in the pink spectrum, have simpler and more pragmatic designs.
The first app I would like to present is called “Clue”. There is a free and a paid version available (9,99€ per year). It has a section for the scientific background of each recommendation that they give you, for instance why good sleep is vital, why checking your stool can help you find out about what is wrong with your health, what your hair has to do with your physical and psychological condition or why tracking your body temperature can be important for you.
Each section is referenced so that you can learn more about any of the specific topics if you like, or if you simply want to check where the info is coming from. It is an excellent introduction to women’s health for those who want to study it for themselves. Alongside its tracking-options it simply is a learning tool.
The other app I use is called “My Flo Period Tracker” by Alisa Vitti. She has solved her own hormonal issues naturally, which inspired her to share her method with others. The app complements her book “Woman Code” which I recommend for everyone looking to deepen her knowledge about the blessing that is the female body, mind and spirit.
After putting in your information in the app, you can easily see which one of the four phases of your cycle you are in at the moment. For each of these you get the scientific explanations as to what is going on with your hormones, what you should focus on right now, what kind of exercise you should be doing, what kinds of food you should eat and which you should avoid, and how your love life will be affected. It is an incredibly easy yet insightful way to really learn how your whole being as a woman is changing throughout the month and how each phase has its own patterns.
The wonderful thing is, once you learn about these patterns and put the tips into use, you see how pain decreases, emotional meltdowns or constant irritation just before or during the period are not as “normal” as you are being told and that without the use of medication you can get your period to be painless and even start to enjoy it!
Both apps offer the possibility to add others to view your cycle. This can be useful for parents and daughters who want to deal with their daughter’s health issues together. It can also help couples to better connect with each other. Her partner can see what her symptoms look like and why she is the way she is during certain phases of her cycle. This can certainly help men to better understand what she is going through and just learn about women’s health, as many don’t even know how the period actually works.
Since no one app has everything the individual woman wishes for, I find it useful to combine two apps which then provide the most useful functions and information so that every period-tracking-need is fulfilled.