PCOS is underdiagnosed. We’ve been working hard to change that.
September is PCOS Awareness Month. So we’re really happy to announce a new feature in the Clue app made especially for people who’ve tracked irregular periods.
Starting now, Clue can calculate your risk of PCOS and help you determine whether PCOS is a possible cause.
Clue user Ashley Lorentz wrote to us recently about how the new feature worked for her:
Tracking my irregular cycle using Clue allowed me to finally be diagnosed with PCOS. I have experienced what I now know to be PCOS symptoms since puberty, but they had been hidden for nearly 10 years by birth control. Clue actually suggested PCOS around the same time as my women's health TCM doctor did. It was only through both of these suggestions and the data recorded in Clue that I was able to find a doctor to take me seriously, while I changed to a gluten and dairy-free diet to reduce my symptoms naturally.
How does it work?
You need to track your period in Clue for at least 6 months. If Clue determines that you have a clinically irregular cycle, the app will provide you with a smart, personalized questionnaire informed by statistics, medical specialists, and clinical research.
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This is what you’ll see:
Then you’ll be asked a series of questions: about your height, weight, age, if you use any birth control, if you have any medical conditions, your current life stage, your age at menarche, hair growth, acne, medications, nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise, and other symptoms.
If your answers show that PCOS is a possibility, you’ll be given a PDF summary of relevant info to share with your healthcare provider.
If the reason for your irregular periods is unclear, talk to your healthcare provider. Clinically irregular cycles have many causes, and finding the cause is important.
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Who gets the questionnaire?
You’ll receive the assessment if:
Your cycle variation OR your cycle length is out of normal range for the majority of the last 6 cycles, OR
Your period has stopped for more than 90 days
However, the assessment will not be triggered if:
You are currently using hormonal birth control
You haven’t tracked enough cycle data
You haven’t verified your account
You are out of age range (younger than 15 or older than 45)
Right now, the feature is for users with a verified account in the US or UK only, but we will roll it out to more people in the future.
Is this a diagnostic tool?
No. The app can’t diagnose you—you’ll need to see your healthcare provider for that. But if your answers show that PCOS is a possibility, you can access a PDF summary of your symptoms and history that you can share with your healthcare provider. There are many possible causes of clinically irregular menstrual cycles and this feature assesses for only one of those. It’s also possible to have PCOS without having irregular periods. The feature will advise anyone with a clinically irregular cycle to talk to their healthcare provider.
The new feature is based on peer-reviewed research. It was designed and validated in collaboration between Clue’s data science department and Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, PCOS physician-scientist and assistant professor at the Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Mahalingaiah acted as Clue’s primary advisor.
PCOS is a common and highly underdiagnosed condition, in which certain hormones are out of balance.
These imbalances typically show up as having two or three of:
irregular menstrual cycles
a higher level of androgens (a type of hormone including testosterone) in the body
small cysts in the ovaries
PCOS can cause symptoms including:
It can also make it difficult to become pregnant, and may significantly harm a person’s overall health if left untreated.
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, women with PCOS may have twice as many hospital admissions than those who don’t, with the researchers concluding that PCOS has a “profound medical implications for the health of women, and health care resources should be directed accordingly.”
What does it cost?
The feature is available for free.
But if you want to support free access to features like this, you can subscribe to Clue Plus. Clue Plus costs $9.99/£9.99 per month and enables critical features like this to remain free for all users, helps support research into the world’s understanding of the menstrual cycle and supports data privacy. Clue Plus subscribers get exclusive content, a monthly email report with personal cycle stats, discounts and giveaways.