Fitbit draws criticism from users for period-tracking limitations

3 Aug 2018

Fitbit Versa smartwatch. Image: Lukmanazis/Shutterstock

Fitbit recently launched a period-tracking feature but users have noticed an unusual limitation within it.

Fitness tracker Fitbit has become the target of user criticism due to the limits set on its new period-tracking feature. At present, users can only log periods if they last 10 days or fewer.

Many users have pointed out how some people’s periods can last far longer than 10 days on the Fitbit suggestion board, due to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause periods to last more than 40 days or more at times. The company confirmed to the BBC that “currently, a period must be less than 11 days”.

The popular Fitbit Versa smartwatch has the new menstruation-tracking feature built in, as does the Ionic model and its proprietary mobile app.

Fitbit users vent frustrations

Some users are bypassing the limit by logging their longer cycles as five separate cycles, for example. One user, LauraJayneYoga, said: “Locking the entire female population into a 10-day period makes me wonder how many women were involved in creating this feature … please fix.”

Another user using the screen name MissJules explained that suffering from endometriosis can make your period random and difficult to log. “I am on day 43 on this period, for example. I can’t use your tracker because it won’t allow me to log more than 10 days if bleeding. Please consider extending this to an unlimited amount so people outside the norm can use this service, too.”

One user noted that having miscarriages can also lead to prolonged bleeding. “My 2nd miscarriage I bleed for 14 days [sic]. People should be able to track that.”

Moderators have taken the feedback into account and have described the proposed changes as “useful”. Users are still angry as many say they would prefer the feature to be fixed rather than just continuously discussed on the boards.

The menstrual health-tracking feature was launched in May of this year after a long time as one of Fitbit’s most requested features.

At the time, an Engadget reviewer was critical of the feature, albeit for different reasons. “It’s embarrassing that Fitbit only allows you to choose from five ‘conditions’ – the word it chose for symptoms like cramps, acne, headache, tender breasts or sick. I’m assuming by the thermometer in the icon for ‘sick’ that it’s referring to whether you’ve felt feverish.”

Fitbit Versa smartwatch. Image: Lukmanazis/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects