We've all been there: The heating pads, the ice cream, and the super-size bottle of painkillers are all signs that our periods have arrived—or will arrive any minute. It may seem that those first-day cramps are the worst thing in the world, but nothing is worse than waking up to a surprise visit from your Aunt Flo (or whatever you decide to call your period). You know, those times you're caught off-guard by your period and slowly realize why you'd been in such a horrible mood the day before or couldn't sleep without fulfilling your craving for peanut butter M&M's.
What if we told you that there is a way your period will never surprise you again—that, in fact, you can prevent those nasty symptoms before they even get a chance to creep up on you? Period-tracking apps are the most convenient way to follow the progression of your cycle throughout the month and can even keep track of your symptoms and emotions so you know when and why you're feeling that way. We've made a list of the top-rated period-tracking apps out there, so if you want to know when to hit your local drugstore for a tampon (and snack!) run, keep reading.
Period Tracker is either free or $2 on iTunes and Google Play, depending on the program you want. This app is a tried-and-true favorite for many, and 22,000 positive reviews don't lie: Says iTunes reviewer Gina3348, "I have been using this app for the past 6 1/2 years and I absolutely love it for many reasons including its insane accuracy and ability to track when you've been intimate, your symptoms, and emotions."
Period Tracker Health Calendar
With an average rating of over four and a half stars on iTunes, Period Tracker Health Calendar remains a user favorite. The beautifully designed app comes complete with features like syncing your tracker to your calendar, creating bar graphs of your moods and fertility, and offering a forum for women to chat about all things feminine hygiene. To top it off, users find this to be incredibly useful information to share with their doctors. "I have begun to see other patterns at the age of 42," says iTunes reviewer Lil'fyre, "that will help me and my gynecologist down to [the] road."
Tracking apps can do so much more than just track periods. With Flo Period & Ovulation Tracking—which boasts nearly 400,000 positive ratings, by the way—the user can track all kinds of things, like sleep, water consumption, and physical activity. "I've got great charts to reference at doctors appointments for both mental and physical health management," says iTunes reviewer Melonlycake about the free app.
This tracking app takes menstrual tracking multiple steps forward. "The predictions and analysis can help you detect irregularities regarding ANY type of info the app collects," says iTunes reviewer Lila, meaning anything pertaining to your birth control, whatever type you may use, along with how your skin and hair have been doing, along with exercise, sleep, and ovulation. It provides the user with average statistics from their period so they can easily understand their cycle, which can be incredibly helpful for women who are looking to conceive.
"This is a very necessary thing for all those who menstruate, no matter how regular, or irregular," according to iTunes user L00la. As the name suggests, this app allows you to track basically everything that happens in a woman's life, from menstruation to nutrition, and even has a diary feature for those who like to keep their own personal notes.
Eve is "so much more than a mood, sex and period tracker; you need this app if you're a woman," according to Google Play reviewer Iesha. Eve is the app for women who want to take control of their menstrual cycle and their sex lives. It comes complete with a community of women who are openly talking about sex, sharing tips, and empowering each other for being amazing women.
Menstrual Period Tracker
"I don't have to worry anymore," says iTunes user Mpa011957. "The app tells me with no more than 1 day of error the day for my period! I use this every month." Menstrual Period Tracker makes tracking super user-friendly. With over 2000 ratings and an average review of four and a half stars, this app also offers unique features such as migraine tracking, which is what makes it so great.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated. Want to learn more about how to take control of your period? Read all about how to manage your hormones while traveling.