What every menstruator looks for in a period tracking app
Whether it’s a love or hate relationship, you have to admit, life does get slightly easier when you use a period tracking app. Yes, wrong predictions and cheesy ‘mood swing alerts’ can be highly annoying, but ultimately, they give us hope (or a sigh of relief) that the fifth vital sign – the period – is on track, signalling that our body is doing mostly okay.
Period tracking apps have become part of our daily routines, part of our broader lifestyle goals. Together with tracking calories, clocking periods, making sure to input any ‘weird symptoms’ and for some, tracking ovulation days have become mainstream – giving us a sense of knowledge and power over our menstrual cycles.
What do menstruators hope to achieve?
Choosing the right tracker is a very personal decision, but one that is mostly driven by the goal the menstruator is seeking to achieve at the time of their choice. We asked menstruators what they hoped to achieve by using a tracking app, and there were a few unanimous categories:
a) Fertility: they wanted to know when ovulation is occurring – with the aim of either getting or avoiding getting pregnant.
b) Period regularity: they wanted to track their period dates to keep track of slightly irregular periods.
c) Symptom management: they wanted to be able to prepare for menstrual symptoms – mood swings, headaches, exhaustion or other period related issues.
d) Answers and information: they were seeking guidance on period issues disrupting their lives and understanding the cause of their suffering.
e) Community and support: they wanted to connect to similar sufferers to seek comfort, connection and understanding.
Because tracking goals vary from user to user, there is no one-size-fits-all app. That’s why there are so many period tracking apps currently on the market today – and yet there is still room in the market for more!
How do popular period trackers fare?
We evaluated the most popular period trackers in our market (India) as well as globally on the popular user goals above and this is how we thought they fared:
Comparison table of Period Tracking Apps
|Period Tracker||Inclusivity||Fertility/ Period||Expensive||Privacy / Data Security||Features||Knowledge/ Solution||Smart|
Is there a clear winner?
Spoiler alert – No.
Most Inclusive: Clue
We loved the completely non-gendered support for menstruation, and the specific Clue Plus content section addressing LGBTQIA queries and topics of interest.
Most Targeted to User Goals: Glow
Glow caters to the complete journey of the menstrual cycle in detail, from tracking period, trying to conceive, tracking pregnancy and caring for newborn, through a suite of dedicated, beautiful apps.
Most Pocket Friendly: Maya
Maya’s premium plan comes in at just $6.98 annually – it offers additional reporting and “themes” to tailor the design of the app according to user preference, as well as a community feature.
Most Data Secure / Private: Clue
Clue offers a clear and explicit promise that data is not sold or shared with third parties except for research – and is incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation. No other app mentions data privacy explicitly. (Conversely, some of them have actually been under recent scrutiny for data security concerns!)
Most Features: Flo
Flo offers a whole host of features all packed into one app – from tracking to analytics to knowledge courses to secret, anonymous communities – it has it all. While it can be a bit crowded for some users, it is quite intuitive to use despite the densely packed functionality!
Smartest: Natural Cycles
Using one of the most accurate methods available for the everyday user to track fertility (basal body temperature), Natural Cycles is the smartest at pinpointing hormonal rhythms and ovulation windows.
Best knowledge / solution: Femcy
While most other period trackers offer knowledge or analytics about menstrual cycles and symptoms, they don’t offer concrete action plans or guidance to resolve their symptoms. Femcy offers personalised, evidence-based diet and exercise guidance to reduce specific symptoms and manage conditions.
How does the future look?
The category winners reinforce the verdict – there is no one-size-fits-all. As a menstruator, we all have our specific requirements dependent on our specific goals. While the categories are universal, the priorities assigned to them vary according to the menstruator’s needs.
All apps out there cater to specific categories and it’s very seldom that they are able to cover all of them without compromising on user experience. Regardless of the specifics, an app offers the user values “doing it well” over “doing it all”. And at the end of the day, menstruators choose period tracking apps with the goal of improving menstrual health – apps that can deliver on this more effectively are valued over plain vanilla tracking calendars. As artificial intelligence is applied to more problems in the FemTech space, the user will benefit from more tailored solutions and personalised recommendations for menstrual health.
However, periods have been laden with stigma throughout history and remain a deeply personal health function, and so trust, data security and privacy of health data will remain a hurdle for many period tracking apps to overcome as technology advances in this space.
Femcy offers personalised, comprehensive lifestyle management guidance for menstruators, based on their symptoms and menstrual phase, as well as on-demand teleconsultation with menstrual health experts.
The Femcy app helps improve the monthly menstrual issues that 70-80% of women experience, such as PMS, cramps and bloating, and can aid in boosting fertility for women planning a pregnancy. Even more, Femcy can help with flagging concerning symptoms sooner, and facilitate earlier diagnosis of menstrual conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis that may lead to infertility due to delayed diagnosis.
About the author:
Jacqueline Kressner is the co-founder and CEO of Femcy. She is a trained integrative nutrition coach and ayurvedic practitioner and has consulted in the FemTech space for over half a decade. Before her FemTech career, Jacqueline hailed from the finance sector and led the Health & Wellness vertical at Sports Illustrated Philippines.
Feature Image by Vulvani – www.vulvani.com