We are living in the age of “appbundance.” There are a plethora of apps to choose from and make our lives easier. Among the many, health tracking apps for females have become a significant aspect of the lives of modern women. These apps play a significant role in managing health disparities and help deliver health behavior changes in women. So, how exactly these femtech apps have proven to be a game-changer for women’s health? To understand this, it is important to grasp the challenges in women’s healthcare.
Like many other industries, healthcare also has a history of disregarding women’s needs. It began with the underrepresentation of women in medical research, which led to a lack of understanding of female bodies. Even today, there are insufficient data on how women’s bodies react to certain medications, the side effects they experience, and the problems that affect them. In addition, discussing female-specific health issues, such as menstrual health, contraception, sexual health, fertility, and mental health continues to be taboo even today. It has resulted in women not knowing much about their bodies and not recognizing symptoms when they arise.
Has femtech helped change this scenario?
To a significant extent, but there are miles to go! Female-focused apps have made and continue to change the lives of many women positively by improving their understanding of their bodies, keeping them informed, simplifying female health issues, and contributing to medical research that focuses on women’s healthcare needs.
What do women-focused health apps do?
A period calendar or tracker is the basic feature of most femtech apps. The most popular apps include, but are not limited to, Ginger U, Natural Cycles, Flo, Clue, and Eve. Keeping a tab on periods may sound too simplistic for a mobile health app, but it has been tremendously useful to women. First, these apps help women track their periods: a missed period or an irregular cycle might indicate pregnancy or health issues that require a visit to a doctor. Often, many women find it hard to remember when their last period was; an app with a menstruation tracker helps solve these problems. Second, monthly cycle trackers predict ovulation. It helps women who want to get pregnant and those who do not and only want to choose days for sex.
Taking the birth control pill regularly helps prevent unwanted pregnancy. Missing doses often may cause estrogen and progestin levels to drop—the two hormones that help keep sperm from entering the uterus—and result in a pregnancy. Female health tracking apps allow women to feed relevant data based on which the app sends reminders and increases adherence.
A woman’s body undergoes multiple changes when she is pregnant and post-childbirth. Tracking these changes is significant to the health of both mother and child. The prenatal care feature in these apps makes it easier for women to observe and track everything related to the well-being of their babies-to-be and themselves. From appointments with a doctor and tracking fetal growth to tracking your changes in your body, a pregnancy app can be a good digital caretaker for pregnant women.
mHealth apps help women know their ideal weight according to their age, height, and lifestyle. In addition, they can also know other significant weight-related parameters such as body’s water percentage, body mass index, bone mass, muscle mass, correct calorie intake, etc. Weight management is critical to preventing several diseases. However, genetics and hormonal make-up make it harder for women to lose weight. However, an app with a dedicated weight management feature is a ready resource to check if one is fit, overweight, or obese; and that could be both a motivation and reminder for women to lose excess weight or maintain their ideal weight.
Weight gain, fluctuating moods, insomnia, hot flashes, frequent urination, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and lack of libido are some of the symptoms that menopausal women experience. Every woman does not experience all the symptoms, but a few become a part of the discomfort when periods end. Despite menopause being such a common bodily change in women, many do not get adequate support to cope with these changes. Women’s healthcare app helps them track their symptoms, maintain a healthy weight, take medications on time, and manage their mood swings better.
From mild period cramps to endometriosis and a slight twitch to radiating pain, there are many types of pain a woman may experience. Broadly, five types of pain may affect anyone—acute, chronic, neuropathic, nociceptive, and radicular. However, according to some studies, women experience more intensely pain than men do. Healthtech apps allow women to record their symptoms, the intensity of pain, take medications regularly, and contact a doctor if symptoms worsen.
Mental illnesses affect women differently. Apart from psychological issues that arise because of traumatic experiences, women may also experience such issues because of pre-marital pregnancy, miscarriage, premenstrual syndrome, prenatal depression, post-partum depression, menopause, and as a caretaker. It is imperative to help them find ways to identify their symptoms and seek timely help. Women can use femtech apps to track their mood daily, interact with forum members, get alerts for medicines, and follow an exercise routine to identify and manage their mental health better.
Promoting sexual liberation and equality
Apps for women’s health help women make better sexual choices. They can keep a track of their sexual experiences and stay proactive about preventing unwanted pregnancy. Good sex is enjoyable for both partners. Once women learn to name the feelings they go through during and after sex, they are in a better position to decide if or not their sex life needs improvement.
Femtech apps cover so many aspects of women’s lives and are a powerful tool to help them live more health-consciously and mindfully. The ever-rising digital penetration is another reason more and more women are likely to discover and make these apps part of their lives. Therefore, companies need to up their game to make health tracking apps for females more inclusive of issues that affect them, easier to use and loaded with more features that empower them.