Period tracking apps are used to track periods and often predict when the next one is due. Read more about how to use period tracking apps safely.
On this page, you can find the following information:
- What are period tracking apps?
- The importance of using period tracking apps with caution
- Reviews of period tracking apps
What are period tracking apps?
The main feature of period tracking apps is that they enable users to record their menstrual cycle. Some period tracking apps include other features like:
- symptom tracking such as amount of bleeding, pain, mood, etc
- predictions of ovulation timing and the ‘fertile window’ (therefore claiming to assist fertility and conception)
- screening and clinical advice for endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and menopause.
The importance of using period tracking apps with caution
Not all period tracking apps are the same. Some are more reliable and accurate than others. Period tracking apps should be used with caution. The following have been identified as areas of concern.
Most apps have algorithms that produce predictions and suggestions for users. This process is not transparent, as algorithms are treated as commercially sensitive and so they're not revealed. There appear to be 2 types of predictive algorithm used by apps:
- Period tracking algorithms, which take user-input dates of menstruation along with standardised information about menstrual cycles and ovulation timing.
- Fertility algorithms, which incorporate user-input menstruation dates along with one or more user input physiological indicators of ovulation (eg, temperature, urine test, cervical fluid).
Both types of predictive algorithms offer estimates of the date of your next menstruation and your date of ovulation, although the accuracy of these estimate is open to question.
Use of the information collected
To perform their functions, period tracking apps require users to input information at signup (eg, typical menstrual cycle length) and users are requested to input ongoing information about dates of menstruation. Many apps are not transparent about how the sensitive data collected is used for example whether the information is sold or shared to marketers.
Lack of New Zealand specific apps
Currently there are no Aotearoa New Zealand specific period tracking apps, which offer guidance based on New Zealand guidelines. Most are overseas apps that include generic or mostly American information.
Reviews of period tracking apps
|Period Tracker Flo
|Period Tracker Clue
- Evaluation of Smartphone Menstrual Cycle Tracking Applications Using an Adapted APPLICATIONS Scoring System. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jun
- Examining Menstrual Tracking to Inform the Design of Personal Informatics Tools. Proc SIGCHI Conf Hum Factor Comput Syst. 2017 May
- Hohmann-Marriott BE, Williams T, Girling JE. The role of menstrual apps in healthcare – provider and patient perspectives NZMJ 2023;136(1570)
Disclaimer: Health Navigator’s app library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.