Period tracking app shatters stigma surrounding reproductive health


Myrka Moreno / Hilltop Views

Flo has an average four point eight stars out of 498 reviews on the App Store. As of September 2019 Flo has an average 29 million monthly users.

If you are a person that experiences menstruation, you have probably lost count of how many times in your life someone has told you to track your period. It really is a chore to do so when it’s going to come eventually. I was a strong opponent of tracking my cycles as I often had irregular timing and would forget when I had my last one, but then I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause cysts and cyst-like fluid bubbles to develop on ovaries with a variety of symptoms. For me, that was infrequent menstruation and intense period cramps among other things. I was diagnosed in 2017 and had to quickly start tracking my period to be able to act immediately if I did get a cyst.

I tried several period tracker apps, but many had limited features unless I purchased the premium version. Those that were mostly or completely free did not have a user-friendly interface. The only app that stood out from the rest was Flo.

Flo has all the period tracker basics with a full calendar that gives users projected dates for their upcoming periods and even ovulation days. Every app I had tried gave me incorrect projected dates that were way off, so I thought my infrequent cycles were just impossible to track. Flo was quickly able to find my menstruation cycle and even notifies me when my period will be late.

What really made Flo better than the other period tracker apps I tried were its other features. Flo has a “Health Insights” tab that covers an array of topics like relieving cramps, using contraception, pregnancy and menstrual products. It basically gives users the ultimate sex-ed course Texas doesn’t allow in public schools.

The health insights tab has a catered section, where I often get PCOS articles that have helped me learn to live with my symptoms, and a courses section that has in-depth lessons on many period side-effects like insomnia and acne. Most of the courses are only available to premium users that pay for the app, but they often make some of the courses free.

The final noted feature the app offers is a community discussion board called “Secret Chats.” In this section users can openly discuss the taboo-est of taboo subjects and share personal experiences with different health issues like PCOS.

Flo does not compare to any other period tracker app because its features do more than just chart your menstruation cycles – it makes it feel like you’re asking your big sister for advice. The app has built an open community that cares for its users.

Menstruation is typically a taboo subject and even writing this review feels like I’m oversharing, but as someone who long suffered from PCOS, I think it’s important to start conversations about something half of the population experiences.