Technology

How period-tracking apps like Clue can help you understand your body better

clue period tracking

Interval-tracking apps like Clue may give you insights into your every day well being and well-being.


Clue

This story is part of Tech for a Better World, stories about the diverse teams creating products, apps and services to improve our lives and society.

Know-how helps me observe virtually all the pieces about my physique: steps, weight, sleep, operating tempo, yoga classes, blood stress, coronary heart charge and even oxygen consumption. For the final 5 years, it is also helped me track my period, and unlock new insights about how my cycle impacts each side of my well being — one thing girls have not traditionally been given the instruments to grasp. 

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I began utilizing Clue, a free menstruation-tracking app developed by the Berlin-based firm BioWink, in June of 2015. What started as a approach of predicting when my subsequent interval would arrive has remodeled right into a solution to perceive how I really feel bodily, mentally and emotionally on any given day. 

After a couple of months of monitoring not simply my cycle but in addition cramps, pimples, temper and migraines, I began recognizing some patterns. The app has helped me perceive sure modifications I expertise periodically however had by no means thought had been tied to my cycle. I could be extremely motivated and really productive someday, after which really feel a bit blue the subsequent day. My pores and skin additionally seems a lot better sure weeks of the month. Figuring out that a few of these modifications could be on account of hormonal fluctuations has allowed me to rationalize them, and notice that my bodily and emotional modifications aren’t random. 

“A variety of girls are beginning to be extra interested by what’s there to study, and the way can it profit them to know extra about their our bodies,” says Clue CEO Ida Tin.

Due to the ubiquity of cellular gadgets, app builders have created a plethora of period-tracking apps. Flo, Eve and Period Tracker are among the many different free choices sitting on the high of the Well being & Health chart of Apple’s App Retailer. There’s additionally the Menstrual Health tracking feature on the Fitbit app, and the Cycle Tracking feature on Apple’s Health app. Since these apps acquire private well being information, how they deal with privacy issues. These are the forms of apps the place you truly need to learn the phrases of service or privateness coverage to grasp what occurs to your info.

Dr. Brooke Winner, a gynecologic surgeon and scientific professor on the College of Washington, says she at all times recommends her sufferers use an app to trace their intervals. If nothing else, it is a easy approach of accessing your cycle historical past.

“In case your intervals are too heavy or too shut collectively, that may be an indication of a number of completely different gynecologic situations,” Winner says. An app makes it simpler for an individual and their physician to find out cycle size and stream, but in addition ache and different signs that could possibly be a primary signal of the necessity for additional medical analysis. 

Learn extraFertility, pregnancy prevention, and more: Why you should be tracking your period

Analysis and different monitoring makes use of

However there are extra makes use of for a monitoring app than prediction or flagging an irregular cycle vary. 

Tin describes Clue as an app for individuals with cycles throughout the gender spectrum, and talks in regards to the wide selection of range amongst its 12 million-plus customers in over 190 international locations. Some individuals use it only for its interval predicting and monitoring capabilities. Some need a particular final result, like getting pregnant, because the app highlights your fertile window. Clue may also assist individuals perceive how their cycle can be linked to migraines or temper. 

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Logging motivation on Clue. 


Clue

Temper is actually the characteristic that is saved me hooked on Clue all these years. I attempted the in-app period-tracking choices from Fitbit and Apple once they had been first launched, however none of them allowed me to incorporate the identical stage of detailed and personalised info as Clue. With a easy faucet on Clue, I can inform the app if I am feeling motivated or unproductive. I even have a selection of different predetermined classes like energized or exhausted, in addition to confused, calm or distracted.

The app additionally permits me to make personalized tags for different issues occurring in my life. I’ve one for days the place I take lengthy flights (I discovered the arduous approach traveling across time zones affects my period). And I even tracked the keto diet I adopted for a couple of unhappy weeks in the summertime of 2017. I wished to see if what I used to be consuming impacted my cycle. The outcomes had been inconclusive. 

“One among my hopes is that folks will begin serious about cycles as a steady factor that occurs day-after-day, not simply the 5 or no matter many days of bleeding,” Tin says. 

The push for analysis

To make it simpler for individuals with intervals to grasp how a lot about us is in fixed sync with our cycle, Clue has partnered with research institutions, together with the Kinsey Institute and Stanford College, and clinicians to facilitate research about feminine’s well being. 

Others have adopted Clue’s lead: Final yr, Apple added a menstrual tracking feature to the Apple Watch and introduced a women’s health study in partnership with Harvard.

Regardless of the contributions to analysis, many period-tracking apps have come beneath fireplace for sharing consumer information with social media sites and third-party advertisers. Which is why the positive print is necessary, in addition to understanding who’ll have entry to your information for functions apart from analysis or cycle prediction. 

Clue says it would not promote information to any third-party service, together with advertisers. To make money, the corporate provides Clue Plus, a subscription mannequin for $5 a month or $30 a yr. Clue Plus subscribers get further perks, like cycle evaluate emails with a abstract of their most up-to-date cycle or enhanced evaluation.

“We’ve got loads of accountability to honor individuals’s privateness,” Tin says. In relation to analysis initiatives, the corporate solely makes obtainable the information related to the researcher’s questions. In addition they strip all figuring out components from it. 

“We make that information work for societal good and make it obtainable for researchers,” she says. “We facilitate the assembly with the scientists who do the analysis. After which we will help carry these new insights again to the customers.” 

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Clue CEO Ida Tin.


Clue

The corporate collaborates on research in regards to the relationship between ovulation and sexual want, the consequences of air pollution on the cycle, the relationship between sexually transmitted diseases and premenstrual symptoms and decision-making over the use of condoms during menstruation to avoid sexually transmissible infections, amongst others.

“It is an ideal thought to attempt to harness this information,” Winner, the gynecological surgeon, says. “We at all times want extra analysis into girls’s well being.”

‘Aunt Flo’s curse’ or ‘that point of the month’

In 2016, Clue partnered with the Worldwide Ladies’s Well being Coalition to ask individuals in 190 international locations in regards to the many euphemisms used to refer to menstruation. They discovered greater than 5,000 phrases for “menstruation” and methods to say it with out truly saying it in English, Portuguese, German, French, Japanese and plenty of different languages. 

One among my favourite discoveries is the Spanish “descongelar el bistec” (defrosting the steak).

All of the euphemisms level to this: “Ladies are nonetheless very ashamed to speak about their intervals,” Winner says. 

With Clue, Tin desires to create extra space in our tradition for making intervals an on a regular basis matter, not one thing taboo. Which means males needs to be a part of the dialog too, she says. “Two generations earlier than me, they had been put in jail [for doing] what I am attempting to do,” Tin says. “I really feel very fortunate to be born at the moment.” 

Regardless of the progress, there’s nonetheless loads of work to be performed relating to girls’s well being. One of many greatest points is that our private information could be very scattered, Tin says. “You may need some information in your operating app and your period-tracking app and a few X-rays,” she says. The following step would contain pulling all that well being information collectively to provide higher info.

I am already dreaming of the day my operating app realizes I am not simply slower as a result of I am feeling lazy, however as a result of I am menstruating. 

Within the meantime, you do not actually must be a tracker freak to begin studying extra about your cycle and its influence on every day life. It is a lot simpler to hearken to your physique when confronted with the arduous information.

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Disclosure: Patricia Puentes’ husband works for Well being at Apple.


The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being targets.  

The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you will have a couple of medical situation or well being targets.

#periodtracking #apps #Clue #perceive #physique

Author

Patricia Puentes