Patients often ask, “What app should I use to track my period?”

I’ve been asked many times by my patients to recommend a period tracking app. I usually recommend the most popular ones I’ve heard other women mention. The truth is, most menstrual cycle tracking apps are inaccurate, with little or no health professional involvement or citation of the medical literature.

A recent scientific article out of Columbia University (citation below) evaluated these apps, and out of 108 free menstrual tracking apps, only 20 were deemed accurate and are listed by rank as shown below.

I found it interesting that the researchers’ initial search for apps that tracked women’s cycles yielded over 1100 apps, most of which were inaccurate.  Apps were considered accurate based on their ability to predict cycle length and ovulation and whether the app contained misinformation.  Nineteen percent of apps evaluated contained misinformation.  Only one app reported professional involvement and cited the medical literature.

As a health care provider, I believe these researchers gave us very valuable insight into the reliability of phone applications used to track menstrual cycles, fertility, and ovulation.  With the ongoing advancement of technology and its expansion into so many realms of our lives, including keeping track of our health, we should expect accurate, quality products only.  Whether you are a patient or a healthcare provider, I hope you find this information as useful as I did.

From: Moglia ML, et al.  Evaluation of Smartphone Menstrual Cycle Tracking Applications Using an Adapted APPLICATIONS System. Obstet Gynecol 2016(Jun);127(6):1153-60 [PMID: 27159760]