BY: CAROLINE ROLF
There seems to be a combination of ignorance and prudishness around the distinctive and amazing functions of the female body, which is odd, considering half the people on this planet are born with one.
In recent years however, with hundreds of apps available for download centering around matters such as ovulation and the detection of breast cancer, it’s clear that women’s health is now a priority in the technological world.
Two period tracking applications, GP International’s Period Tracker and Abishkking Period Calendar, have been downloaded more than 10 million times from the Android store alone, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
Other apps that will soon be available for download are the Looncup “smart” menstrual cup, which sends fluid volume updates to your phone from a sensor on the silicone cup. Pillsy is another “smart” app coming to the market this year, featuring a special pill pouch with sensors that alert the app when a woman removes a pill from the pouch. If the pouch hasn’t been touched, that’s when the app reminds the user to take her pill. The creators of Pillsy want to create a community of women who can discuss birth control issues openly, relieve some relationship stress and help eliminate unplanned pregnancies, which can be avoided when birth control is taken correctly.
A unique feature of these apps like the Period Tracker is the social group aspect, which offers a sense of community and support and provides an outlet to seek advice from other women. Dr. Kirkham, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto says she encourages her patients to try these apps but advises to research the technology first and be mindful of the social forums that can lead to false information.
This business is eye opening and empowering for women as it gives them more control over their fertility and reproductive health. Of course, certain aspects of a woman’s health should involve a family doctor, like understanding changes in cervical mucus, urges sexual health educator Lyba Spring. However, apps can be a very useful and cost-effective tool for managing basic health issues. The fact that the technology is available to help make sense of the body and its unique cycle could push women to make their own health care a top priority.