Mobile Phone Apps – Beware, there be feminine topics ahead!

“Feminine topics” being fancy-talkin’ for “period“.

I recently became interested in the more-and-more popular world of apps that track menstrual cycles. My personal favorite, and the one I am currently using is called (creatively enough!) “Period Tracker

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It has flowers and butterflies so that you know it’s for girls.

I believe the primary (or maybe original) focus of these apps is to track fertility/ovulation. And they do. It puts a pretty little flower on my calendar to let me know when I am (not that I care). You can also tell it when you’ve been “intimate”, and it puts a heart, so yeah, pretty sure makin’ babies is part of the app’s purpose.

Which doesn’t really have much to do with me.

Now, what DOES have to do with me is that middle screen, “symptoms”.

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Cupcakes and smiley-face blood drops, also letting you know: Cute=Girls

Ignoring the fact that the smiling blood drop is creepier than hell, especially in context (is THAT what’s coming out of my uterus? ARE THEY ALIVE?!?!), it’s a really useful screen. Aside from the pictured options, it also has options for headaches, indigestion, insomnia, joint pains, nausea, neckaches, and tender breasts (as well as letting you add any extra symptoms you can think of, but you don’t get new icons for those…).

Now, most women are fully aware of the fact that, for many women (though not all), breasts become more tender near to and/or on your period. Same with a lot of the other symptoms. And I technically knew that acne was an issue, but it never really occurred to me that I had such a clear connection between acne and my period.

I totally, totally do. I’ve had the app for a few months now, and the connection is quite clear. A few days before I start, I start to break out. A few days in, and it clears up.

You’d think I’d have realized this before. But no. My period is horribly irregular, so I tend to go on cramps as the only warning I think about. Yet, I only get cramps a day at most in advance, or — more usually — a few hours in advance. The acne thing is usually two to three days.

Some people (probably male people) might wonder why an extra half or full day would make a difference. Well. It gives me a few more hours to check and make sure I have pads/tampons, and if not, a few more hours to go GET them. (As well as candy and chips, I max out the salt and sweet craving symptom bar.) It gives me extra time to adjust my schedule as needed. My first day is always, always bad. Cramps, headaches, backaches, bloating, the works. So, if I’m supposed to go do anything vaguely athletic or time consuming, I can cancel/make other plans earlier.

No one really likes being canceled on at the last minute. (Though, if you’re canceling on another woman, “yeah, sorry, bleeding” is an accepted and understood excuse. Not that men don’t accept it as well, but they’re more likely to accept and move on because “ewwwwwwwwww” than empathy… but you work with what you’ve got.)

Really, I thought the whole genre of apps was sort of silly at first. But, honestly, compared to something like Fruit Ninja (which is … just … I do not understand the popularity of that app), it’s actually worth your storage space.

(It also has a pretty discreet blue and green square widget with a pink number noting how many days are probably left until your next period, which I find to be pretty nice as well.)

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