Fitbit added a female health feature to its app in May 2018, allowing you to manually track menstrual cycles and symptoms to predict upcoming cycles and likely fertility windows. Tracking your female health is also useful overall for monitoring any unusual symptoms that could be related to issues like fibroids, stress, sleep irregularity, or pregnancy.
While the feature should not be used as a professional medical diagnosis, it could provide helpful and contextual data to discuss with your doctor, especially if you begin to notice any particular trends or need to remember specific events like missed periods or unprotected sex.
Where is female health tracking available?
Fitbit’s female health tracking feature is available for all mobile app users aged 13 and older. It will only display notifications for upcoming period cycles on the Versa, Versa 2, Versa Lite, Ionic, and Charge 3, where it will appear as a circle with a pink outline, and let you know how many days before your period is expected to arrive. Those who do not use these devices can see their predictions on the Fitbit mobile app.
To get started, open the Fitbit app and find the lotus icon on your dashboard. This is the female health module — if you do not see this on your dashboard, scroll down and click the black Discover button, select Health & Fitness Stats, and choose Female Health to manually open the section.
If you’re opening this module for the first time, Fitbit will ask you a few starter questions, such as how many days your cycle typically lasts, when your last cycle was, whether you use birth control, and if you want to also track your fertility windows. Answering these questions will help Fitbit estimate and add predicted period cycles to your calendar. You can opt out of tracking / answering all of these questions if you want to just do your own logging on the app or prefer to only track symptoms.
How the feature works
Tapping Female Health will open up a calendar that is color coded to denote days when you have your period (pink) and a potential fertile window (blue). If you’ve never used this feature before, it won’t appear until you’ve logged a few cycles.
To log a period, hold the first date of your period on the calendar and Fitbit will outline several days after in pink. After your last day, you can adjust when your cycle ended by holding that date and dragging left and right until the pink bar correctly highlights that month’s cycle. You can also retroactively add this information by scrolling back to previous months. If you make a mistake, press and hold the date to make adjustments.
In addition to logging your periods, you can also track other health data by tapping the plus icon on the lower right corner. Fitbit currently allows you to track details about flow intensity along with any related symptoms such as acne, breast tenderness, cramps, or mood. To do so, tap the icons related to your daily stats and they will be logged for the day. Remember that simply logging a flow intensity doesn’t automatically add a period, as some people may experience spotting when they are not on their cycle.
For days when you don’t have your period, you can also track other stats like spotting, ovulation test results, the texture of your vaginal discharge, and whether you’ve had protected or unprotected sex. You can track “cycle altering events” as well, though currently Fitbit only offers the morning after pill as the option.
After several cycles have been logged, Fitbit will provide a blue bar that shows when you’re likely to be ovulating. This may be helpful for those who are doing family planning, though Fitbit does not outright say it can accurately predict those fertile windows, so this information should only be used as a guideline and not as a definitive planning tool.
You can also move over to the Trends tab to see data about your period cycles, such as how long how your menstrual cycles typically last and how many days there are between your periods. For more details on each month’s cycle, tap the particular cycle to see the symptoms you logged and how often you experienced them.
This data can help you see, for example, whether you typically get bloated or experience nausea right before your cycle. Symptoms are shown as a yellow bar along a cycle timeline. The idea is that the more symptoms you log, the more you can discover about whether you experience a certain symptom in any particular part of your cycle.
The Fitbit health tracking app is not perfect. It is a lot of data crammed into a single screen and needs a lot of tapping simply to log daily symptoms. It also limits you to only being able to log the specific symptoms and moods that Fitbit provides, without the option to add other notes or details that may not be listed by the app.
There are several other apps that are exclusively designed for period tracking, though as The Goods excellently articulated, these apps also use user data as research and marketing tools to expand into other areas of female health, such as IVF and egg freezing. This isn’t to say Fitbit isn’t possibly doing the same, of course, but it’s one less app to worry about in today’s age of surveillance.
So if you don’t want to download another app exclusively for tracking female health, the Fitbit app could provide a reasonably useful version so you can discuss your cycles as needed with a medical professional. But as always, you should exercise caution when sharing intimate details of your life with any web-based service.
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