At Ability Tools, we strive to educate individuals about harnessing the power of technology to enrich their experiences while navigating through different potential life stages. Learning to nurture one’s body throughout each possible phase of their reproductive journey and navigating the distinct sets of challenges are crucial elements in maintaining reproductive health.
Michelle Rosado, Program Coordinator II, and & Inae Mendoza, Information & Assistance Specialist, for California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
The information provided does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis and has been intended for informational purposes.
The menstrual cycle is a recurring event, but its symptoms can vary widely. During this time, it is important that we listen to our bodies and take care of ourselves. There are many devices that help us to manage pain and discomfort during this phase.
Mood Changes/Irregular Cycles
There are variations in cycle length, flow, and timing of menstrual cycles. Keeping a log of symptoms and dates can help distinguish patterns and help track periods. This is especially helpful with irregular periods. There are many apps that are available to track all of this. Flo, is similar to a journal and calendar for menstrual periods. Clue, Ovia Fertility also work similarly each of these apps are able to track mood, PMS symptoms, cycle, ovulation, and to track pregnancy.
When experiencing discomfort or pain, the most important thing is to create a comfortable environment for yourself. This could involve utilizing devices to alleviate pain and also establishing a relaxing atmosphere. Rubber hot water bottles are the traditional method of applying heat to the abdomen to sooth menstrual cramps. Disposable heat packs generate heat when activated and providing relief for several hours. A reusable rice filled heating pad is heated up in the microwave and then placed on the abdomen area. An electric portable heating pad can be worn while on the move, and some models even come with built-in massagers.
Pain throughout the body during a menstrual cycle is very common. Acupressure Mats are mats with small spikes that apply pressure to specific points on the body, potentially offering pain relief through relaxation. A device that uses gentle vibrations to reduce pain perception and promote muscle relaxation is a stationary full body vibration platform. There are plenty of wearable tech options such as a wearable TENS machine that is designed to deliver specific frequencies or vibrations known to help alleviate pain and acupuncture garments that are clothing items with built-in pressure points to stimulate acupressure and potentially reduce pain.
Additionally, if you still need a bit more Zen in your life, you may consider ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones to reduce stimulation or promoting sleep. Diffusers that release essential oils known for their calming and pain-relieving properties are also great for relaxation.
There is a wide variety of menstrual products available on the market. The advantage of this is that you can experiment with different products to discover which are the most comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle.
Menstrual cups are reusable cups worn internally to collect menstrual fluid. They can potentially reduce cramps compared to traditional products. Menstrual underwear are underwear with a built-in liner. It can be worn on light flow days or as a backup on heavy flow days. Menstrual underwear can be a lot more comfortable than pads, tampons, etc. Lastly, menstrual products made from organic and breathable materials that may be more comfortable for some users. Often the chemicals in tampons and pads can make periods worse. Organic products are a great alternative. Research brands that claim to be organic to find which is best for you. Here is a list of the 7 Top Reviewed Natural & Organic Tampon Brands
If you experience pregnancy, acupressure wristbands can provide relief from nausea, and this 3-in-1 Smart Water Bottle, glows to remind you to keep hydrated. Pregnancy support belts aid in managing back pain and body pillows can offer a solution for more restful and comfortable sleep. Baby Doppler is a fetal heartbeat monitor that allows you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat anywhere. It also includes an app so; you can share the recordings with everyone including your doctor!
Birth coaching apps like GentleBirth guide individuals through labor with breathing exercises and relaxation techniques as well as offer precision in timing contractions, helping to ensure a smoother labor experience. Birthplanner.me offers a simple, visual way to plan birth by selecting from a list available icons- choose your birth preferences by tapping the icons and adding it to your birthing plan page. Information is easy to understand and share with your birthing team. Doulas can also provide physical, emotional, and educational support to families during the prenatal, labor, birth, and postpartum periods. Visit this article from VeryWellFamily.com to get more information on locating a Virtual Doula.
After baby arrives, assistive technologies can step in to offer support during the transformative journey of pregnancy. Here is a list of Healthline’s 12 Best Meditation Apps to support emotional well being. Breast Therapy Packs can be used frozen as cold therapy which relieves engorgement, swelling, and pain in the early days of breastfeeding. Alternatively, they can be used warmed up as a heating pad to relieve clogged ducts and mastitis. Reusable Nursing Pads can be used to quickly absorb leaks for a clean, dry feeling. There are a large variety of pelvic floor training devices available to help in regaining strength after childbirth; which can also improve symptoms of incontinence.
- TensCare iTouch Pelvic Floor Exerciser – video link
- Vaginal Cones and Kegel Weights
- Smart Kegel Balls
- Kegel Trainer
Cooling wearables like, Embr Wave, smart neck air conditioner, and fans provide respite from hot flashes and night sweats. Ice Cube Pillow offers a unique cube-shaped pillow specifically designed for side sleepers, and features frozen fibers that will help keep your head cool all night long. Sleep Disturbances can be one of the most frustrating symptoms of this phase and may require a multitude of solutions. Sleep headphones, or sound machines, like Hatch Restore Sound Machine which offer pre-loaded nature sounds and white noise to drown out distractions and help you drift to sleep. Users have the ability to access even more content, including meditations, sleep stories, soundscapes and curated wind-down channels apps with a monthly Hatch membership. Subscriptions to streaming services like Amazon Prime also offer a wide selection of video content to nature sounds and white noise to support sleep and relaxation. Some offer a blackout screen for those who prefer to sleep in total darkness. Sleep Trackers also offer some great insight about your sleep patterns and you can check out a list from sleepfoundation.org of some of the best sleep trackers of 2023 here.
Aside from certain symptoms mentioned earlier in perimenopause, several of the most prevalent indicators of menopause include mood changes, fatigue, and weight gain. Wearable fitness trackers are devices designed to monitor and track various aspects of a person’s physical activity, health, and fitness levels. Combining wearing one and increasing daily activity can help combat these changes. Headache Relief Caps are a multi-purpose cooling head wrap that can be used to help relieve allergies, puffy eyes, and hot flashes. Breo iDream 3 Head Massager provides all-round chemical and drug-free relief from headaches and migraines that often accompany tension and fatigue. Personal lubricants and moisturizers like Astroglide and K-Y Jelly provide comfort and relief from vaginal dryness due to decreased lubrication and thinning of vaginal tissues.
Post-menopause can increase the risk of health conditions such as Cardiovascular Disease and Osteoporosis, which is a debilitating condition that causes changes in bone structure, making them weak and brittle. Bone density monitoring becomes more and more important at this stage. Visit DayElevator.com to learn more about accessibility-devices-for-coping-with-osteoporosis and reducing fall risks. Investing in a Blood Pressure Monitor can track any heart rhythm disturbances. Skincare and beauty apps empower individuals to embrace their evolving hair and skin changes with confidence RYNKL and Think Dirty is an app which identifies and assesses any potentially risky or “toxic” ingredients in beauty and skincare products.
It’s easy to see the notable impact of assistive technology on individuals’ reproductive journeys. The available range of solutions provides support for each phase, enabling individuals to effectively handle symptoms, improve well-being, and embrace the full potential of their bodies.