There’s no denying that tracking your period is more fun than ever these days. I mean, really, 50 years ago you had to sneak to the store to buy a pad or tampon and now you can bleed into a menstrual cup while you take “What’s your period IQ?” quizzes on your smartphone. But logging when you start your period and when it (finally) ends is only the beginning. From tracking your sex life to how many donuts you (really) ate to sharing your discharge log with your doctor, using all the features in your period tracking app can help you take more control over your reproductive health.
1. Use it every day
You use Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat every day. Why not track your period every day, too? Using your period tracking app consistently will allow it to collect enough data to be more than just a glorified calendar with little red dots. Log something at the same time you take your birth control or every day during lunch. This can be a quick daily habit that will pay off in the long run - like when you totally forgot that your period was about to start and your phone buzzes with an alert reminding you to grab your menstrual cup. Whew! Saved by the app!
2. Track more than just your flow
Ok, so you don’t bleed every day. Lucky for you, period tracking apps are about way more than your monthly flow. The good ones allow you to track everything from your mood to your discharge to your sex life. Talk about helpful! When you log things like “feeling a bit stabby today” or “had mind-blowing sex with bae - sans condom”, you’re doing yourself (and your body) a huge favor. All those little bits of information can provide pretty big clues into why you’re feeling so blue - or why your period could be two weeks late. The more info you track, the better your period app can do its job.
3. Browse the community section
Look, we all have questions about periods, sex, and body stuff. And sometimes Google just doesn’t deliver. The glorious thing about period tracking apps (besides giving us a heads up that Aunt Flo is coming to town) is that they contain answers to real questions from people who have #beentheredonethat.
Want to know why you get big clots during your period? Curious about the embarrassing sex situations other people have been in? Freaked out about why your mood suddenly went haywire when you got an IUD? Other people are, too. Use the community section in your period tracking app to help you understand your body better. Nothing says solidarity like a whole group of people saying “Omg! That happened to me, too!”.
4. Invite your friends to track with you
You don’t have to sync your cycles up (turns out that this is a myth, anyway) to share deets about your period with your crew. Sharing your period tracking app with your friends can open up the menstruation conversation and make you feel less alone in your period struggles. It’s time we stopped hiding under our covers with Nutella and a spoon and opened up about our periods with our friends. It’s a small step towards busting down the stigma that surrounds periods and making everyone with a uterus feel a bit more at home in the world.
5. Share it with your doctor
Going to the gynecologist is about as much fun as having your wisdom teeth pulled. As in, not even a little bit enjoyable. You can make it less painful, though. Share your period app logs with your doctor so they can be more aware of your overall reproductive health and habits. If you logged discharge and a funky smell, your doctor will know to be on the lookout for other signs of bacterial vaginosis. Did you log that you didn’t have sex for the last 3 months? You can rule pregnancy out and your doctor can explore other reasons that your period could be late. You’ll be out of their office faster than you can say “vagina”.
6. Period Tracking Apps We Love
Not all period tracking apps are created equal. Look for apps that offer more than just your basic calendar view. They are more helpful and, real talk, way more fun to use. Our favorites? Glow (perfect if you want to track your fertility, too) and Eve.