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Trends in the Femtech Industry
Medicine and healthcare are becoming more personalized, which is particularly evident when you look at the trends in femtech. For years, the word femtech referred mostly to fertility tracking aids and devices, but now, it’s breaking away and moving into more varied areas of women’s health.
Why Femtech Matters
Women who suffer from poor health aren’t the only ones who deal with the repercussions. As women are often the primary caregiver for minor children, they are an integral part of the family dynamic, which means anything that affects them can cause a ripple effect.
Unfortunately, most research and development have nothing to do with women’s health. Roughly 4% of research and development focuses on women — it’s surprisingly low, considering how women make up half the adult population.
Diversity is one of the overall trends in femtech, but what is happening on a smaller scale within the industry?
Fertility is yesterday’s worry for many women entering the next stage of life, and femtech is starting to reflect that mindset. New apps and devices are in development to help women entering menopause handle the effects of the hormonal and physical changes.
You can find apps and more meant specifically for women dealing with menopause to help them combat the common issues. Rather than just an automated app to use, options include menopause coaches, treatment platforms, and specialist advice.
Menopause tech has now taken things a step further with devices that increase comfort, such as a bracelet that can help reduce the annoyance of hot flashes by cooling your wrist.
Birth Control Options
While femtech can focus on having a baby, not everyone is interested in that. Some of the newer femtech companies now recognize that some women just want to prevent pregnancy.
Women’s birth control choices have changed little over the years due to a lack of research. In fact, one of the most common methods of long-term birth control is the IUD or intrauterine device. Developed decades ago with little change since, the device is a simple T-shape that may or may not include hormones to prevent pregnancy.
Now, more apps are incorporating a pregnancy prevention option into their fertility apps, rather than assuming pregnancy is the goal.
But apps aren’t the only technology changing things.
OCON Healthcare has been developing a new method of intrauterine device designed to work with a woman’s natural anatomy. One of the newer trends in femtech, this small ball-shaped device is meant to be an anti-conception tool, but it can also deliver medication and hormones in a non-invasive way.
Queer and Transgender Care
More than half of LGBTQ+ people have dealt with medical discrimination. This inequity results in avoiding care for many issues, which could lead to high costs later on. Women have routinely faced more difficulties when dealing with healthcare professionals; still, those in the LGBTQ+ community report far more issues and harassment, something that needs to be addressed if people are to receive equal health care.
While there are many areas to address here, one simple change is the idea of period underwear, so anyone who menstruates can feel comfortable in their own skin.
Sexual Health Tech
As women feel more empowered, they’re also taking control of their sex lives. This control has spawned a whole new wave of technology designed to help women get more pleasure from sex, whether with a partner or on their own.
Standard-shaped vibrators still exist, but now, women-created devices modeled after large amounts of research can ensure maximum enjoyment. While it may not seem necessary, sexual health is an essential part of women’s health care and should be viewed equally to men’s Viagra and other methods of ensuring pleasure.
However, sexual health goes far beyond pleasure. Some women deal with pelvic floor issues after having a baby but get little support when healthcare workers dismiss their concerns. Now, femtech companies are focusing on pelvic floor trainers, devices to test Kegel strength, and other tech developments that help women recover their pelvic floor strength and reduce the chances of prolapses.
Education on women’s health is another area that many consider lacking. There is a surprising dearth of education with women’s bodies, and while some ignorance from men may be understandable, this feeling from women shows they are also uninformed about their own bodies.
According to an Intimina survey, nearly 25% of women thought their menstrual cycle was their body’s way of getting rid of excess blood, and 46% couldn’t identify the cervix on a diagram. A full quarter of women misidentified the vagina on a diagram, as well. In the survey, 42% of women said they wished they knew what their various organs did, and 38% wanted to learn more about menopause and perimenopause.
While this survey focused on a specific group of women, it still shows there is a long way to go when educating about women’s bodies. Wellness education is an area that femtech is striving to improve, primarily with apps that provide women with bite-size information and help them track changes in their bodies.
Other Femtech Advances
Femtech is growing fast these days, and we can expect it to continue to expand as more women create their own opportunities.
Other trends in femtech that are becoming evident include period health and more. Wearable breast pumps make breastfeeding much simpler for working moms who can’t take a break every three hours to pump, and new options for managing periods can be helpful, too. There’s even a tampon with sensors to help determine if a woman has endometriosis.
Although still underrepresented, femtech is on its way up. You can expect to see more and more start-ups get involved as they change how the world looks at women’s health.