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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

We spoke to three Irish women who absolutely swear by their period tracking apps

Unsurprisingly, they all agreed it’s a positive way to keep tabs on your mental health.

shutterstock_1022379469 Source: Shutterstock/Tatyana Ratova

IF YOU CURRENTLY use an app to track your periods, you probably wonder what the hell people did before they were able to log every single symptom to their mobile phones.

If you don’t use an app to track your periods, you should probably consider trying one. We reached out to three Irish people using period apps in very different ways to get an idea of the major benefits of making notes on your period.

A number of people got in touch with us to talk about their favourite period apps and Clue seems to be the most popular one, which people prefer because of the layout and tasteful design. (It’s not pink and covered in flowers, like some of the others.)

tumblr_inline_oq39ya4MTU1sst5on_1280.0 Source: Clue

First we spoke to Martina, who told us she uses an app called Period Diary. 

Martina checks in with Period Diary every time she notices something’s a bit off. 

I’ll check it based on how my body feels. I check it every couple of days for sure. I originally started using the app because of issues I was having with my period – so I’d track if I was vomiting or had heavy periods and clots, etc. You can also track your skin an ovulation too, which I never would have done. 

Martina finds her period tracking app really useful for doctor’s visits.

It comes in handy when I’m sick, I can see how that affects my period or if I go to the doctor, I legit have all the info on hand to check and cross reference. And to be honest, it saves me guessing when it will come, haha. I figured I was too old to be shocked by its arrival. I have friends who are older and now trying to get pregnant, who initially went to the doctors with no clue what was going on and then they used period tracking apps and doctors have given them more direct advice based on their cycles.

It’s not just useful for reproductive health, either:

I find the mood trackers really good too, because different parts of your cycle affect you differently so if I’m feeling extra anxious or sad or angry (you get the picture), I can check it and I’m like “Ahh that explains it,” or “Ahh, I’m just a moody bitch.” 

shutterstock_1110559016 Source: Shutterstock/photopixel

Another women we spoke to called Amy said:

As a teenager I always had really irregular periods. When I went to the doctor and they asked how many days were in each cycle, I’d be taking a serious stab in the dark, guessing 50 days to three months. I tried to keep a physical diary when I was younger (apps didn’t exist back then), but I’d always forget to fill it in. When I began using period tracking apps, I used P Tracker (I think it had a “discreet” name in case boys looked at your phone or something?).
It wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as Clue (which I use now), but it did the job. It helped me realise just how irregular my periods were and I think that being able to give doctors exact figures made them more confident in eventually diagnosing me with Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome.

Because Amy’s cycle can still be all over the place, she’s not in the habit of checking in daily on the app.

Yeah, realistically there was nothing going on for two months at a time because I hardly ever got my period, so I only really use it to take note of when I actually get my period. That said, if I’m feeling anxious or depressed, I’ll mark that in on Clue, so I can go back later and decide if it was hormones or actually just anxiety. It’s a very useful way to keep track of how long bouts of anxiety can last, too. I don’t know if there’s a mental health equivalent of Clue but I suppose it might be useful for people who don’t get periods too, just to use as a calendar.

shutterstock_1149864647 Source: Shutterstock/YM studio

In contrast, Maria told us that she uses Clue every single day. 

 Maria worked her period tracking app into her morning routine, and dedicates five minutes of her commute to it every single day.

I’ll update each category of “symptom”, or whatever you want to call them. I also have a custom tag for anxiety that I’ve been using to see if any particular time in my cycle impacts it. So far, it seems correlated to ovulation which I thought was super interesting. 

Maria also added that it has helped her predict and prepare for headaches – which she suffers with after each cycle, but had not noticed until she downloaded Clue. Clue also helped Maria to keep track of how long her cycle was (25-50 days), and like Amy, she found that having it “written down in black and white” convinced her to go check it out. Everything was fine though, the doctor just said that’s how her body works. 

I think the main benefit for me is seeing that PMS is coming up. I get pretty odd PMS in so far as I get very elated and very down in swings when my period is coming, but I also feel a lot more creative, so correlating these emotions and dispositions is something that reassures me that I’m not, for lack of a better term, going spare. 

And it seems that everyone’s using their period tracking app to keep an eye on their anxiety too. Maria said:

With the anxiety tag I use on Clue, I also look back and see how many days I’ve felt particularly anxious and use that as a reassurance that I’m getting a better handle on it – I did about a year and half of CBT and part of my parting exercises was to reassure myself about how far I’ve come when my anxiety was worst, so Clue definitely helps with that. 

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Kelly Earley

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