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assuming that users are cisgender women. The image of lacy underwear may not be universal for Eve’s

Time:2019-05-09 21:51Underwear site information Click:

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Apps

Anna Schnell

featured

Series: App-rehension

I’m not ovary-reacting: Menstrual health and the apps to teach you about it ‘It is a part of life and will always be. Everyone should be comfortable with it.’

By Miranda Milton The Daily

32 min ago

3 min to read

Apps

Anna Schnell

I don’t know anyone who enjoys getting their period, the occasional pregnancy scare notwithstanding. Unfortunately for half the planet, periods are a painful, regular, inconvenient truth. There are some forms of birth control that may eliminate periods, but it’s not a guarantee. There’s a long history of adverse male reactions to periods in sitcoms that often parodies real-life experiences. Some sitcoms even go as far as having a male character track their female acquaintances’ periods. But people with periods are still people, and they have decided to flip the script and take power of their own periods. Period tracker apps have been developed to help period-havers stay on top of mood-swings, spotting, or family planning needs.

Clue

With 100,000 ratings and an average score of 4.8 stars, Clue is one of the most popular period and ovulation trackers. The free app comes standard with a period tracker, including different variations of flow, and a mood tracker. Users can choose to track other things like sleep, motivation, and weight. Clue is all about the unique experience of all its users and allows individuals to add their own symptoms, like back pain or increased sexual desire. The app tracks and uses all this data to create cycle patterns, predictions, and reminders.

Clue also recognizes that some individuals may not have as much information about periods as they want. Sex education varies vastly across the country, so some people aren’t quite sure of all the science behind their periods. Clue has a special “science of the cycle” section that gives users more information to better understand their own bodies, something that UW student Erica Clinton thinks is important.

“I believe that everyone needs to be more educated about periods and feminine health since all people with female reproductive systems go through this monthly,” Clinton said in an email. “It is a part of life and will always be. Everyone should be comfortable with it.”

There is, unfortunately, a stigma around periods in our society that is only worsened by media representations. Periods are often portrayed as gross and embarrassing. The period-havers are painted as emotional or erratic while the typically male associates are freaked out by the very natural thing happening to their friends and family.

Flo

Flo is the most downloaded feminine health app worldwide. Eighty million users log on every month to track their periods, ovulation, or symptoms. The thumbnail is a fluffy white feather on a pink background, purposely designed to be discreet on a user’s phone.  

Flo has the standard period and ovulation trackers but also charts user information into graphs, perfect for trips to the doctor. For those wanting to conceive, there is also a pregnancy mode that shows prospective parents what their fetus looks like.

Some other features include optional reminders for birth control pills and a passcode or thumbprint to access the app. While an interesting touch, neither are a necessity for a period tracker app. Any phone with a clock app can act as a birth control reminder.

As for the passcode, I shy away from that in an era that is trying to be more body positive and sex positive. But some users might appreciate the added security, so I can’t disparage Flo for including it.  

Despite its popularity, Flo is a few features short of Clue, including the desirable symptom tracker.

“I would want [to know] the day I can expect to get bloated and food cravings,” student Grace Fletcher said in an email. No one likes getting a surprise period, but getting the symptoms come with their own issues too. Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms can affect many aspects of life, including what people wear, what they eat, their motivation, and how they feel.

Eve by Glow

Despite its biblical name, this app is youthful and engaging. The layout sparks a little joy during a potentially uncomfortable or even painful time of our daily life.

The symptom log is full of bright, fun icons for things like mood and sexual activity.

My personal favorite is the way Eve allows you to rate your sex drive, giving users three different pairs of underwear ranging from the ‘don’t even think about touching me’ granny panties to the ‘bust down’ sexy panties.

While funny, this feature is actually an example of a misstep that many period and ovulation apps make, assuming that users are cisgender women. The image of lacy underwear may not be universal for Eve’s users and could even cause body dysphoria –– not good for nonbinary individuals or transgender men who may still experience periods.

But Eve does offer a community of different chat groups for users to join. The groups offer trusted information and millions of personal experiences and advice from other users, providing a private and supportive place for people to learn about their own health. Any question or embarrassing experiences are no doubt shared by thousands of other individuals.

Vaginal health is not as widely talked about or accepted as it needs to be, and this can leave people in the dark about their own bodies. Period apps offer resources not only to learn more about vaginal health but to help users manage their periods too.

“I use Flo,” an anonymous Gal Palz member said. “The only person that really knows me is my period app.”

Reach writer Miranda Milton at wellness@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @mirandamilton99

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