Menstrual health and fertility have been a central part of life since the dawn of humanity. But they haven’t always been a central focus for scientific research, or funding for that matter.
Up until the last few years we’ve seen meager progress in female health research and technology. But the demand is clear: People need information and support to answer all of those inevitable questions we face in regards to fertility, menstruation and personal health.
Things are starting to change with the rise of femtech — an emerging market of digital technologies and novel services supporting reproductive health, but there’s still a long way to go. These are some of the companies laying the path:
Anxiety-free underwear. THINX underwear keep you dry and comfortable and make for an eco-friendly alternative to pads, panty-liners and even tampons. They’re anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent and leak-resistant, making them a perfect solution for period-related panic attacks. Am I leaking? Do I have a spare tampon on me? or Shit, I just sneezed are not thoughts you want to have at work, school or on the go.
Modern-day ovulation tracker. Most fertility tracking companies are focused on temperature tracking — a method that’s been around since the 1920s. Ava is a wearable which monitors physiological parameters that are correlated with changing reproductive hormone levels to detect ovulation. The algorithm uses data gathered continuously throughout the night and tracks resting pulse rate, skin temperature, heart rate variability, sleep and more. Ava also just came out with a new fertility calculator called “Unlock the Clock” to estimate how long it could take couples to conceive based on their review of more than 30 scientific papers.
Personalized infertility treatment. Celmatix uses big-data analytics and genomics to optimize infertility treatment and improve proactive fertility management. Their latest product, Polaris, is a digital platform that uses clinical data to optimize patient management and counseling.
Wearable fertility sensor. Tempdrop is a small wearable worn during the night that tracks basal body temperature (BBT) and connects to your smartphone. A rise in BBT is a sign of ovulation. BBT, together with cervical mucus observations, are the most important inputs of the symptothermal fertility awareness method, which allows the user to determine when they’re fertile and infertile.
Female health tracking app.Clue uses science and data to provide actionable, personal insights — like hey, I’m more likely to get a headache this particular day of my cycle, more energized the first half of my cycle and happen to crave meat right before my period.
The possible correlations and discoveries are endless as there are 31 tracking categories in Clue — that all have scientifically proven connections to our hormone levels and cycle phase. Clue also has informational content so that you can dive in to learn more about things like ovulation, variations in cervical mucus and more.
The cycle is a vital sign, so irregularities can point to larger health signs or concerns. Some Clue users have uncovered medical conditions by simply tracking their cycle, like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and even in rare cases, dangerous conditions like ectopic pregnancies.
**The easiest way to understand your body and take control of your reproductive health is to start tracking your cycle.
It only takes a few seconds a day. And that’s just the beginning.**