Based on recent research studies, the stigmatization of menstruation is still a global phenomenon. But the tech community is highly invested in bringing a digital change to this centuries-old narrative. The international women’s health apps market is predicted to be around $7.77 billion by 2027. These also include big players such as Google (including Fitbit), and Apple, to name a few. Meanwhile, North America is the current top global player in this market, and Asia-Pacific is catching up quickly.
However, the reality has a different shade than the colorful stats. Even on the Internet, a sphere we consider modern, liberal, and inclusive, some publications still stigmatize “womanly subjects” and do not carry or report on technology that is exclusive to menstruating people or femtech. Menstruation is still seen as a subject that has nothing to do with men. But if you are around people who menstruate, you will also be affected by the pain and the mood swings they go through. So inclusion is not only to be borne by the industries. It should become a natural part of our being.
The “women’s health apps,” which is an integral part of femtech, is a marketing term used for apps that monitor the reproductive health of a menstruating person. This article solely focuses on the menstrual aspect of reproductive health. Following is the list of some free period tracking apps available on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
1. Period Tracker
The Period Tracker app maintains a monthly log of a menstrual cycle, 28-32 days, paying special attention to the menstrual period, 4-7 days. All you have to do is to remember to add the period start date and end date of your monthly cycle. The app also allows you to share the details with your partner. You can conveniently check the number of days left for your next period every time you open the app.
2. Clue by Biowink
Like the period tracker app, the Clue app also tracks periods and keeps track of your PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) and ovulation cycles. The app can also send reminders to your phone regarding the next period, PMS, high and low fertility days, and ovulation status. The company is soon adding a birth control option on the Clue app in the US. The FDA has approved the Clue Birth Control algorithm as a software application that can be used for contraception. This algorithm learns through machine learning about its users and their lifestyle. The software program will then start making predictions to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
This addition is based on a study conducted in 2017 by the company on 718 women between the ages of 18 to 39 years. A total of 13 cycles per woman were observed during this time. The results revealed that this “non-hormonal method” that uses “direct-to-user messaging” through mobile apps is at par with the traditional health system’s contraception techniques.
3. Flo by Glow
Flo by Glow is another period tracking app that also has an option to talk anonymously about personal health concerns on a public chat forum. The app also allows its users to monitor the pattern of their cycles. Like other apps, Flo also predicts cyclic menstrual events such as PMS, fertility days, and others.
4. Bellabeat App
The final addition to this femtech list is the Bellabeat app. The app maintains a period calendar and does not cater to pregnancy. The company’s products and services are entirely focused on women’s health. The company also has smart jewelry to track periods. The tracking jewelry comes as bracelets or clips and is fitted with crystals such as rose quartz and onyx in hypoallergenic stainless steel and non-allergenic silicon rubber frame. The smart jewelry uses a low-energy Bluetooth signal to transfer data to the app, and the app sends predictions to the smartphone.
This is just a list to bring some of the period tracking apps under one roof. There are many such apps available in online stores. Nevertheless, we need to start thinking like post-modern beings living in a post-modern society to bring this change. It is time we pay tribute to the suffragette movement and many other such movements that are still trying to liberate women and all genders off the shackles of society. Let us work together and make tech communities more inclusive, irrespective of a person’s color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, choices, and geography.
YouTube: How Elvie is Creating Femtech to Improve Women’s Health (Tania Boler)
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Viacheslav Lakobchuk. The images in the body of the article have been provided by the respective organizations.