Home Culture Women ditches calendar to manage menstruation circle with an app

Women ditches calendar to manage menstruation circle with an app

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This week, Clue announced the results of a global survey of 90,000 women, examining their attitudes to periods. The study – the largest-ever of its kind, conducted in conjunction with the International Women’s Health Coalition – revealed more than 5,000 different euphemisms in 10 different languages. In Sweden, women say “Lingonveckan,” meaning “lingonberry week”, while the French say “les Anglais ont debarqués” – which means “the English have landed” and refers to our historically bloody habit of invading their territory.
Still, while the way women talk about their periods might be dated, the way they keep track of them could not be more modern. In fact, it appears that an entire generation of women are eschewing the traditional red dot on the calendar in favour of period tracking apps (such as Clue) which let them know when to expect their visitor.
Ida Tin, 36, co-founded Clue in 2013 and the app is now used by more than 2.5 million women from nearly 200 different countries. “I think there is a lot of information that women don’t have easy access to,” says Ida. “I wanted it to be a tool to manage that part of life.”
So users are invited to log their details – date of birth, weight, length of cycle and period date – before the app predicts the date of their next bleed, as well as informing them when they’re most fertile and most likely to suffer from the dreaded PMS. Similar apps include Period Tracker, Life, Eve – and Period Log, which language school owner Vicky Payne, 40, says she uses to check her regularity. “I don’t even know what day it is half the time,” she explains. “But this warns you how many days late you are, and also when you are fertile and your exact ovulation date.
“The only thing you have to remember to do is to log the start of each period on the day that it arrives.”
Not too difficult – given how, in recent years, both men and women have started using all kinds of apps to monitor their health. We have a morbid curiosity, it seems, with our own mortality. Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, Strava, FitBit, Sleep Genius and My Diet Coach are just some examples of health and fitness apps that have become popular. No wonder, then, that women have taken to digitally deconstructing their menstrual cycles.
What’s more, period apps also provide peace of mind for women keen to avoid unwanted pregnancies. PhD student Becca Mavin, 24 – who is on a single-hormone contraceptive pill – gets only two or three periods a year and says she uses Period Tracker to monitor her own fertility.
“This is a huge positive for me,” she says. “Periods are an inconvenience and always made me feel dreadful, but the one thing I miss about them is the monthly confirmation that I’m not pregnant.”
She need worry no more. Period Tracker lets her know if she’s in the fertile “danger zone” of her cycle, and thus more likely to conceive.