Any woman knows that there’s far more to her period than a few days of burdensome bleeding every month. Mood changes, acne, breast tenderness, cramps, water retention, and more all add to the laundry list of symptoms that come alongside a woman’s typical menstrual cycle. To add to that, the exact timing, flow, and host of not-so-exciting extras such as irritability and bloating can vary from month to month — especially when you add factors such as aging, pregnancy, and certain reproductive issues to the mix — making the whole ordeal that much more stressful and unpredictable. (Ladies, in case you’ve forgotten: You and your bodies are amazing. *insert strong-arm emoji*)
The good news? While understanding your menstrual cycle and all its nuances can be a complicated, overwhelming undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. Period tracker apps are in abundance these days, making it that much easier to predict those pesky PMS symptoms and when you can potentially expect your period to hit. (Cycles typically last 28 to 32 days, but some can be as short as 21 and others as long as 40.) Tracking any changes or abnormalities in your cycle — such as irregular or heavy bleeding and severe pain — can also help flag any possible underlying health problems.
We’ve rounded up a few of the more popular tracking apps, most of which are free and available for both Apple and Android. While many of these apps can also be used to track fertility, these apps focus primarily on tracking your menstrual cycle.
One of the more popular apps on the market, Flo allows you to log your period and track over 70 cycle-related symptoms, such as bloating, cramping, libido, mood changes, and sleep. Your data is logged and transformed into helpful graphs that show precisely what your body is doing and when. Bonus: Flo also has a pregnancy tracker feature if and when it’s needed!
Eve by Glow
While the Glow app is a go-to for fertility tracking, Eve by the same developers focuses primarily on period tracking, as well as sexual activity. The app also generates charts to help users identify cycle-related patterns and sends daily reminders to track PMS symptoms. Bonus features include quizzes, daily insights, and information surrounding women’s health.
Clue‘s easy-to-use interface is a popular gender-inclusive app that includes a period tracker, multiple mood trackers, exercise trackers, and health logs, in addition to interesting sexual and reproductive health content. Much like with other apps, it can predict your cycle for up to three months.
MyFLO Period Tracker
For women with irregular periods, those who may be starting menopause, or those with possible hormone imbalances, MyFlo can be especially useful. The app can track a host of random symptoms and use the data to analyze your overall health. MyFLO is also one of the only period-tracking apps that takes into account certain conditions such as PCOS, fibroids, or endometriosis.
Period Tracker Period Calendar
This user-friendly app can be great for beginners or young girls who have just started menstruating (note the cutesy, floral design). It’s simple to track past and current periods, in addition to logging symptoms, which can be helpful for preteens and teens who are just learning what to expect from their cycle.
Cycles is unique in that you can link up and sync with a romantic partner, giving you both insight into your menstrual cycle and reproductive health, while enabling you to plan pregnancy and sexual activity together. In addition to period tracking, the app provides birth control pill reminders, mood tracking, and ovulation tracking.
Get it: Free to download only on Apple.