In a society where menstrual stigma has been proven to exist, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being embarrassed about your period. A contributor to this stigma is poor health education, where young people are paradoxically taught that their periods are natural, but also something that should be concealed, or worse, ignored. As a result, many have only a basic understanding of their menstrual cycles. Luckily, technology has paved the way for better period insight when health education may have failed. Cycle tracking apps like Clue, Flo, Eve, Spot On, and many many more have revolutionized people’s relationships with their bodies. Increased predictability is only one of the many benefits of these empowering apps.
It’s fairly common to use the term “menstrual cycle” synonymously with the word period. However, tracking apps show that there’s more to your monthly than just bleeding. In addition to highlighting predicted period days, many apps also show fertile days. These are the days immediately before and after ovulation, the time when an egg is released from your ovary. Because of the position of the egg in the fallopian tube, fertile days are when you’re most likely to get pregnant if you have sex. A great thing about these apps is that if you didn’t know what ovulation was, the knowledge is right at your fingertips. Most apps have places where you can read detailed but understandable information about each part of your cycle, and more.
Cycle tracking apps also make room for the important dimension of mental health. These apps frequently have spaces for you to log your moods and take notes on how you are feeling and why. Tracking your emotions, along with other feelings like high sex drive or anxiety, can have many benefits. If you figure out days in your cycle when you’re more prone to feeling sad, you can plan for self care, or you can schedule a first date when you typically feel more confident.
Finally, if something were to go awry with your health, cycle tracking apps can be your saving grace. Doctors often ask the first day of your last period even for non reproductive issues, and being able to whip out your phone and check eliminates uncertainty. In addition to the uterus related things, most apps offer options to track headaches, sleep and fatigue. Collecting this data makes it easier to show your healthcare provider how and when your health has been acting up. Even if you don’t have a period due to an IUD or an Implant, cycle tracking apps can tell you when you need to schedule your next wellness checkup.
Though reproductive education is still lacking, cycle tracking apps are opening the narrative for talking and learning about periods. They’re an informative and empowering way for people with menstrual cycles to get more in tune with their bodies.
If you’re interested in improving health education in schools, check out Keystone’s mission and current goals!