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Period privacy: keeping your menstrual data safe

With Claire (Evans) Wilder, MD, Tryon Medical Partners


Menstruation is one of the key indicators of female reproductive health. There are several reasons why it can be useful to track menstruation, from making sure you’re prepared with a pad or a tampon to identifying underlying health conditions. But tracking your cycle comes with questions. What’s the best tracking method? And how do you know your reproductive health data is kept safe and secure? 

Dr. Claire (Evans) Wilder, an internal medicine specialist at Tryon Medical Partners, routinely works with patients on their reproductive health and shares some wisdom for anyone thinking about menstrual tracking. 

Why should I track my period? 

    • If you’re experiencing any menstrual irregularity. Period tracking can help those who struggle with irregular menstrual cycles by identifying existing patterns. Anticipating your cycle can provide predictability when menstruation may feel frustratingly random. 
    • If you’re concerned about underlying health conditions. Tracking may help expose underlying issues such as anemia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism and endometriosis. By identifying menstruation flow and symptoms, you can work with your provider to understand the root cause and put together an appropriate treatment plan. 
  • If you’re thinking about fertility. Tracking your cycle can provide critical information for those who are trying to plan for — or around — pregnancy, such as when you are ovulating, for how long and your degree of fertility. 
  • If you want to plan around your period. Even for those with perfectly regular periods, menstrual tracking can provide the day-to-day benefit of knowing when to expect your menstrual cycle. This gives you the opportunity to prepare and make sure you have the necessary supplies so your period never catches you off guard. 

Dr. Wilder demonstrates how this can help you understand your cycle and take back control. “If you’re tracking this information, you can bring it to your physician so that they can see exactly what is going on and help guide you in resolving any issues. You can predict so much about reproductive health and wellness just based on symptoms like cramps.”

How should I track my period? 

Wilder recommends tracking using tools that are accessible and handheld to make it as simple as possible. “When you’re tracking on an app, you don’t have to take time in your day to manually input the information,” she says. “You can pop the information right in when prompted, click a button and reference it when you need it.” 

Dr. Wilder acknowledges that now, more than ever, it’s important to think about protecting your reproductive health data. She recommends trusted apps like Clue, Flo and Ovia Fertility to her patients and encourages them to follow the advice of reputable gynecologists when deciding where to store menstrual data. 

“It’s about you taking control of your reproductive health,” adds Dr. Wilder. “If the app is recommended by a gynecologist, you should not be afraid to store your data there. An app is ultimately more private than putting it on an electronic calendar where it may accidentally go into someone’s shared calendar. If you’re concerned about other members of your household seeing that information, consider a secure app.” 

Where should I go with questions? 

Recently, Dr. Wilder’s patients have been coming to her with more questions about birth control, menstrual tracking and reproductive health protection. If you have any questions about your menstrual cycle, tracking it, or how to keep your data private, you can always turn to clinicians at Tryon Medical Partners to get those questions answered. If the question requires the expertise of a gynecologist, Tryon has a trusted team of gynecologists that work together with your primary care provider to get you the support you need.