Closing the Gender Gap in Women’s Health

The female body shouldn’t be treated as a medical mystery. And yet, more often than not, women scour the internet, wondering whether or not their female health symptoms are considered “normal.” According to Google’s “Year in Search”,  women’s health was searched more in 2021 than ever before in the U.S. The reason for this? We’re still playing catch up. It wasn’t until 1993 that a ruling was passed for the National Institute of health to include women and minorities in clinical trials. Prior to this, women were excluded from clinical trials for a few reasons: concern over reproductive effects, concern over having to adjust for women’s fluctuating hormone levels; and last but not least, bias: the assumption that there were no significant sex differences in regard to medication response. 

According to Google’s “Year in Search”,  women’s health was searched more in 2021 than ever before in the U.S.

These long-standing beliefs have unfortunately seeped their way into sub-par sex education, poor menstrual health education and a ‘normalisation’ of women’s gynaecological symptoms. Women are often left to their own devices to decode their body’s language. Today, 10-15% of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis, but it typically takes 7.5 years until sufferers get answers about their symptoms and a diagnosis of endometriosis. A general lack of awareness by both women and health care providers results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated. This is just one of many women’s health conditions that have not received proper attention. 

Fortunately, the more we challenge systems and stigma which no longer align with the reality of our experiences, we create new pathways for new narratives and solutions to emerge. The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way people seek and demand care. In fact, a recent report found that 77% of people said that COVID-19 has led them to pay more attention to their health in general, and 50% indicated that stay-at-home orders helped them achieve their health goals. A multitude of consumer health apps have sprung up to address women’s needs. Period and ovulation trackers are providing women with real-time insights in their own back pocket, the wearables market is storming ahead with integrated solutions, and we’re seeing a rise of the hormone concierge — at-home testing designed to offer a new care experience for people who are tired of being dismissed.

Period and ovulation trackers are providing women with real-time insights in their own back pocket

Thanks to technology, we now have the potential to turn the narrative around and meet women where they’re at. At Flo, we’re committed to equipping women and people who menstruate with expert-backed insights, women and people who menstruate are able to better understand their bodies, from the start of their first period, up until menopause. My role as Flo’s Medical Advisor is to make sure that all the content we publish, whether it’s an article, video, or social media post is medically credible, trustworthy, and as safe as possible for our users. During my time as a physician, one of my favourite parts was promoting health by educating my patients and practising preventive medicine. At Flo, one piece of content has the potential to reach 200 million users around the globe. 

Despite the fact it can help detect ovulation, STIs, and hormone changes, most people find the topic of discharge rather taboo

Democratising women’s healthcare has been and continues to be a cornerstone of Flo. We seek to take our users on a journey of deeper self-discovery by offering cutting edge holistic health insights and guidance, tailored to you, and grounded in your menstrual cycle. We recently released a comprehensive cycle day overview, symptoms forecast, and discharge forecast. For many women, discharge is a familiar but mysterious occurrence, but it shouldn’t be. Despite the fact it can help detect ovulation, STIs, and hormone changes, most people find the topic of discharge rather taboo. This is why our discharge forecast provides women with educational insights, photos, and questions to help them better determine what’s “normal” and what’s not. Thanks to our team of 100+ medical doctors, scientists and health experts, all of our content is evidence-based and driven by data. 

What we’ve found is that when women are armed with their cycle history, they feel more empowered to ask the questions, get the answers, and take proactive, meaningful action towards their overall health.

They become more in sync with their bodies, more self-assured, and more confident, opening them up to a world of insights that they never knew was possible. When it comes to health care — and the research that informs it — it’s time to include everyone. 


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This article was written by Claudia Pastides, Flo Health Medical Advisor

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