11 best health apps for women that are complete game changers
There's a slew of things you can download that hail themselves as the "best health apps". From period to fertility trackers, the App store seems to have it all. It wasn't always this way, though.
When Apple went on a bragging spree after the original launch of a health app which lets you track key "health metrics", they were quickly mocked for overlooking one function: a period tracker. But that's since changed.
So what are the best health apps for women? Let's find out...
What are the best health apps?
A couple of years down the line and women's health has become big business in the app world, with a new breed of makers who are making it a priority - and kicking butt.
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Let's take a look at just a few of the best health apps that are currently available to download.
Natural Cycles is a calendar-based contraceptive app that hopes to revolutionise the way we think about birth control. By interpreting your menstrual data and asking you to take your body temperature daily, it can calculate the days on which days you most likely to conceive (and so should avoid unprotected sex).
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It also highlights which days you should be good to go, without the fear of unintended consequences. The first of its kind licensed for use in the EU, it has shown to be 93 per cent effective when used properly.
It’s a useful option for anyone who can’t or doesn’t feel comfortable using other forms of birth control currently available, but can also be used as an ovulation planner for couples looking to conceive. Even better, it will even give you (and by extension, everyone around you) a heads up for when to expect PMS!
Well, first and foremost, is the fact that takes a whole lot of faith to trust your phone with your child-free life.
Despite seemingly being pretty effective when used correctly, makers admit accuracy can be thrown off by illness or hangovers, which pretty much writes it off for anyone with a work hard - play hard lifestyle.
For anyone that has ever experienced the bane of troubled skin, Spruce will come as something of a revelation. It’s an app that hooks you up with a qualified dermatologist online, without the need to wait for a physical appointment.
You simply request a dermatologist, enter some information about your medical history, describe the issue and send a couple of snaps; in return, they’ll send you a treatment plan and a prescription to your pharmacy.
It's not free, at an average cost of less than $100 per use, but it is far cheaper than seeing a dermatologist. It's also quite far-reaching when it comes to what conditions it can cover, from acne to psoriasis, or male hair loss to bug bites. This one comes very highly recommended by users, which is always reassuring.
At present, it’s only available in the USA, and even then only in certain states. So it could definitely do with becoming more widely accessible.
This app let’s you track your menstrual cycle so you can predict exactly you’re likely to come on next, notice patterns in your cycle and predict when you’re most fertile. In turn, all of the information it generates can help you understand other things, like your sex drive, mood swings and eating habits.
Not only does it help you to get to know your body and to plan ahead, but it can also help avoid those awkward conversations in the nurse's office where she asks you specific details about your period. Refreshingly for an app aimed at women, it’s neither pink nor covered in hearts. Cons:
It could definitely be more specific when it comes to the symptoms category, for example, there is no distinction between those “little twinge” period pains and those “my uterus is literally murdering me” ones.
Although this app used to be free, but is now introducing more paid features so how much you get out of it depends on how much you’re willing to commit.
4. 7 Cups
Sometimes, we all need someone to talk to, whether as a shoulder to cry on or just someone to vent to. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to talk to someone we know well.
So, 7 cups offers a way around this by hooking you up in real-time with trained listeners via an instant messaging service. It’s a bit like the equivalent of a support phone line, but without the commitment to keep talking.
It's certainly more discreet than a phone line so is great for those times when you just need someone to chat to instantly, no matter where you are. It's also free to use, although you'll pay a fee if you want to talk to a certified therapist.
While the listeners are trained by the app makers, they aren’t qualified counsellors. Consequently, if you’re in need of a more substantial form of support then it may be best to go to your doctor.
Some users have reported that the listeners are busy at times so it can take a few minutes between replies, and that it took a few goes before they found a listener that they "clicked" with.
Launched by Breast Cancer Now, the UK's largest breast cancer research charity, this app aims to increase the number of women that actually check their breasts regularly.
It allows users to set reminders and track when they last did it, as well as providing guidance on the warning signs to look out for. According to Breast Cancer Now, over 1500 lives a year could be saved if every woman checked her breasts regularly.
We all know we should do it at least once a month, but that doesn't mean we actually remember to. If you're one of the 50 per cent of women that fall into this category, then setting up a tracking plan could actually be very helpful.
What's more, you can choose to make notes about details such as bumps, shape etc, so that you get to know what's normal for you.
By all accounts, the reminders can be a little hit or miss, but this is something the makers have been working to shore up. Other than that, the cons of this one are few and far between.
If you're not a fan of Clue, you might want to check out Flo.
Like the aforementioned, you can log in and track your period, as well as note your symptoms and ovulation.
Flo turns all your data into handy graphs, which is great for those who learn visually. It also comes in handy when attending doctor's appointments, as you can pull up your health history stat. Flo also turns into a pregnancy tracker, so it's a good all-in-one.
Like Clue, extra features are only available with a premium membership, which you have to pay for.
If you're looking to get pregnant, Ovia is one of the best health apps out there. It's a fertility tracker, so it's useful if you want to chart your basal body temperature, cervical position, and cervical mucus.
Unlike a lot of other fertility trackers, Ovia has the ability to chart your period as well. Like Clue, it gives you predictions about your menstrual cycle. as well as your fertility. This is all gathered by the data you input.
You can also connect with a community of women through the app.
Multiple women have detailed that the app is not very sensitive to those who have experienced miscarriages.
"Unfortunately, I’ve had two miscarriages and neither app does a good job in handling those. With my first one, I ended up having to mark it as a “period” to track the bleeding and stop the app from telling me to take a pregnancy test. After we got the second positive test, I found out the pregnancy app hadn’t updated itself from the first loss," wrote one user.
If you're struggling to find the motivation to get fit, then charity miles gives you the best incentive. Rather than clocking up miles on a treadmill, you'll find purpose with Charity Miles. Every time you run, walk or bike using the app, a donation is made to a charity on your behalf. And it's totally free to boot.
9. Glow Nurture
If you're newly pregnant, then Glow Nurture is the app you need. After predicting your due date, the app shows you a depiction and size of what your future baby looks like each step of the way. It also offers community chat groups so you can share your experience and questions with other mothers who are expecting at the same time.
If you're looking for an aesthetically pleasing period tracker, then look no further than Cycles. The app is super customisable, and features high end graphics, as well as a soothing colour palette and is considered one of the best health apps. Just what you need when mother nature calls.
"No more feeling in the dark about your own reproductive health. With personalized observations and a unique design bringing you and your partner together, Cycles knows how to make the most out of period tracking," read the description on the app store.