Period Tracker: How to Choose One and Why Logging Is Important

    Updated 02 February 2023 |
    Published 03 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Do you know when your last menses started or its exact duration? If not, it might be time to start shopping around for a period tracker. Next, Flo covers everything you need to know about choosing the ideal method for period tracking, and much more.

    Great reasons to track your periods

    Your menstrual cycle is a hormonal process that your body undergoes every month to prepare itself for a potential pregnancy. One of your ovaries releases an egg in a process called ovulation. Simultaneously, certain changes will take place inside your uterus.

    Following ovulation, if egg fertilization doesn’t occur, your uterine lining sheds itself from your body. It exits through your vagina in the form of menses.

    Period tracking helps you understand the normal rhythms of your cycle, predicts ovulation, and observes crucial changes. This could include unpredictable bleeding between cycles or missed periods. While menstrual irregularities generally aren’t serious, in some cases, they could point to underlying health issues.

    Benefits of logging periods

    If your menses seem pretty regular, a period tracker tells you when to expect ovulation, or the time of the month you have high chances to conceive. It also reminds you when your next menses will likely begin. Other benefits of period tracking include: 

    Using the rhythm method of family planning

    Also referred to as the calendar rhythm method, it’s an all-natural family planning technique. It involves period tracking for the purposes of predicting ovulation. If you’re trying to conceive, you’ll be able to pinpoint peak days for sexual intercourse. 

    Detecting cycle abnormalities

    If you experience menstrual irregularities, then period tracking may be helpful when seeking a diagnosis from your doctor. They’ll use this information to provide appropriate treatment and to help find out the cause, for example in such cases as the following: 

    • Pregnancy or lactation
    • Excessive exercise or severe weight loss
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
    • Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency
    • Eating disorders
    • Hyperprolactinemia (or high levels of prolactin in your blood)
    • Use of certain medications
    • Stress

    Although these conditions usually affect the regularity and duration of menstruation, some impact the intensity or flow. They might include: 

    • Uterine fibroids
    • Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
    • Uncontrolled diabetes
    • Hyperplasia of the endometrium
    • Endometrial tumors  

    Consequences of not tracking periods

    There are certain disadvantages of failing to use any form of period tracking at all. It’s easy to overlook irregular or missed periods without the aid of a period tracker. 

    The absence of periods for three consecutive months (such as before entering menopause) is known as amenorrhea. Other explanations for missed periods may  include:

    • Pregnancy

    During pregnancy, your body stops menstruating as your ovaries do not release any eggs.

    • Breastfeeding 

    Some women do not have their periods while breastfeeding. For others, menstruation resumes a few months after delivery.

    • Eating disorders (particularly anorexia nervosa)

    Anorexia often triggers severe weight loss, causing your weight to drop to a very low and unhealthy number. Amenorrhea could occur if the fat in your body dips enough to stop ovulation in its tracks.

    • Weight fluctuations

    Gaining or losing an excessive amount of weight may lead to missed periods.

    • Stress

    Severe, long-term stress affects the part of your brain which controls hormone regulation and therefore, ovulation.

    • Hormonal problems

    These include difficulties with hormone regulation and conditions associated with PCOS.

    • Other health issues

    These may include brain tumors, head trauma, or some chronic illness.

    Note that an irregular menstrual cycle is defined either as being longer than 38 days or shorter than 24 days. It’s normal, however, for perimenopausal women and teenagers to experience inconsistent periods. 

    Best ways to track your cycle

    The top two methods for period tracking are:

    Online period tracker

    There are many online period tracker apps available for download on your phone, such as the Flo period tracker. It’s a smart, simple solution to period tracking that features a period calculator. You’ll have access to accurate predictions of your next period, ovulation dates, and fertile days.

    Flo uses artificial intelligence (AI), which is an advanced neural network that analyzes info you’ve entered into the app. 

    Flo even schedules reminders of upcoming periods, notes PMS and mood symptoms, and pays attention to important signs.

    Log as many symptoms as you can, such as activities, mood swings, and physical indicators. Also remember to enter the start and end date of your menses with Flo’s online period tracker. The more data there is to process, the more accurate the period tracker becomes.

    Flo’s online period tracker is a convenient tool not only for recording your menses in a period calendar, but for staying on top of fertility and ovulation. It even schedules reminders of upcoming periods, notes PMS and mood symptoms, and pays attention to important signs.

    Simple calendar tracking

    If you prefer a tech-free alternative, you can track your menstruation cycle by noting the start and end date of your menses on a menstrual calendar. You should be able to detect any patterns after a few months. Consider asking yourself the following questions:

    • What are your PMS symptoms? Notice any cramping, moodiness, headaches, bloating, breast tenderness, or forgetfulness?
    • When did menstrual bleeding begin? Was it later or earlier than usual?
    • Was menstrual flow lighter or heavier than normal? How many tampons or pads did you use this month?
    • Did you experience bleeding or pain that caused you to miss school or work?
    • How many days did your period last? Was it longer or shorter than usual?
    • Record in your menstrual calendar any abnormal bleeding or bleeding that occurred between menses.


    It’s wise to use a period tracker because your menstrual cycle provides a wealth of information about your overall health. Having regular menses during your reproductive years (between puberty and menopause) means your body is functioning the way it’s supposed to. Period tracking helps you identify your own menstrual patterns, ovulation dates, and fertility days, while also highlighting irregularities.

    History of updates

    Current version (02 February 2023)

    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo

    Published (03 February 2020)

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