Menstruation Technology: Game-Changers for Women of All Ages

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The tampon was invented decades ago, but in the intervening years, women really didn’t see many innovative and engaging products that made our monthly visitor seem a little more bearable.

Now, technology has made way for a slew of new period products. Here’s a breakdown of some of the latest plus information for girls of any age.

Sometimes moms (and dads) need a little help chatting about the birds and bees with their budding offspring. For years, hospitals, health organizations and other groups have offered classes and workshops to girls and their parents targeting everything from their first period to bra shopping. The good news for tech-friendly families is that many classes are offered online.

Tweens and Teens
Starting your period can be daunting, to say the least. Tweens and teens, or any age group, for that matter, might opt for period underwear such as Thinx, which are designed to keep you dry with moisture-wicking technology. While it may sound a little gross, users say the panties are comfortable; they stop leaks and they don’t make you feel sticky, thanks to the absorbent material. These promising panties come in various brands, styles and colors and can work on their own or as a backup for tampons, menstrual cups or pads. For the ecologically aware, Lunapads are modern cloth pads that are washable, comfortable and can replace as many as 120 disposables.

20s and 30s
If your teen years were spent dealing with crazy, irregular periods, now you may develop a more consistent flow. Of course, there’s a down side. As your cycle evens out, you may experience more cramping. But the good news is that there are products on the market that can help stamp out cramps!

One portable electronic device, Livia, helps provide instant relief from cramps, and the battery can last up to 15 hours before you need to recharge it. The device, which looks similar to a small pedometer, attaches to the hip area along with two sensor pads. Cramping is blocked by electrical pulses to pain receptors. Take that, Mother Nature!

Another plus in our 20s and 30s is that many women begin taking oral contraceptives, which often triggers welcome changes in periods. Lighter and more regular cycles, less cramping and even better moods are possible because the pill helps keep those pesky PMS symptoms under control. And these days, certain pills and other forms of hormonal contraception may stop our periods all together.

40s and Beyond
Nothing lasts forever, though, but more than likely the word “menopause” is less popular than “period.” Women in their 40s and older will now notice shifts and changes in their periods. Some women will miss periods, while others may have their monthly visitor well overstay its welcome.

Thank goodness, the technology gods didn’t forget about women in this natural stage of life. Several apps on the market allow menopausal women and their doctors to work together to personalize treatment plans. So, whether a woman chooses hormone replacement or other options, her medical history and risk factors are taken into account to decide if certain treatment options are safe. Many apps also offer links to online tools that assess risks of other diseases such as breast cancer, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Apps for Any Stage of Menstruation
There are over 200 apps helping women track their periods and gain a better self-awareness of their bodies. Here are a few period picks that can be beneficial for all ages.

Eve: This popular app for teens focuses less on fertility and more on periods. Not only does Eve track a girl’s period, she comments on it with gifs that help explain what’s happening during certain parts of a monthly cycle.

iPeriod: The original period tracking app, iPeriod has evolved into a comprehensive health tracking tool. The home page shows your next expected period date, average cycle length, duration and a brief synopsis of your last four periods.

Users can also join forums and discuss everything from fitness to politics.

Clue: This app is highly customizable and can track everything from sleep and mood to cravings and cramps. Updating information is easy, and the more a woman uses this app, the more functional the information becomes. Another great feature is that the user interface is clean and simple, not crowded with polka dots and pink ponies.

That’s not all. As time moves on and women become more vocal about our monthly visitor, we will reap even more benefits of these innovative menstrual solutions. Free-bleeding period panties, underwear that holds pads better, organic tampons, period discs, data-centric apps and even the use of cells and blood from tampons to diagnose disease are here to stay and improving every day. Now, women of all ages can track their flow, fertility and feelings.

Now that is awesome! Period. ■

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