By Julie Washington
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Women’s need for reproductive medicine makes them a large slice of the health care industry, and female entrepreneurs are creating and investing in digital health companies that offer unique services for women.
When Ob/Gyns ask, “When was your last period?” many women answer by reaching for their smartphone and calling up an app.
Period-tracking apps such as Glow, Eve and others are increasingly used by women who like getting a digital heads-up about when their next cycle is due.
It’s all part of the digital health trend that gives consumers ways to monitor body functions from a smartphone, Fitbit or other device. And many of the app companies have women leaders and investors.
The period-tracking app Clue reportedly has more than 5 million users worldwide.
Alma Olson, director of student health services at the University of Akron, said about 80 percent of her female patients use a period-tracking app.
“They’re able to get to know their bodies a lot better,” Olson said. “For that reason, I think (the apps) are awesome.”
These apps predict monthly cycles by asking the user to input data about her periods.
Some apps also track the number of days between periods, predict and let the user make notes about cramps or other symptoms.
Over time, as the apps collect more information, they are supposed to become more accurate.
They are used by women trying to get pregnant, avoid getting pregnant although not fool-proof, understand their moods and know ahead of time if Aunt Flo’s visit will coincide with a big work presentation or beach vacation.
“I use it mostly so I’m not caught off guard,” said Ella Shurr, 40, of University Heights. She began using a period tracker because she wanted data about her irregular periods to show her doctor. She tried jotting information in a notebook, but it was never handy when she needed it.