Tech, Now + Beyond

5 ways to hack your period into the 21st century

Say hello to the era of millennial menstruation and cyber cycles.

Yeah, that’s right. We’re going to talk about periods. And why wouldn’t we? It happens to at least half the world’s population, so let’s get with it. For reasons beyond my comprehension, periods are still taboo. Remember when this woman had her menstruation pictures removed from Instagram for not following the “community guidelines”?

Take a second to think about how brands like Tampax, Kotex and Playtex stream hundreds of ad campaigns, never once mentioning blood. Yeah, we need confidence and protection too, but we also have to stop hiding periods. The world and its women are in serious need of some period-tech updates. These inventions below are putting their money where their period is.

1. I’ll give you a Clue!

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So I’m sure you, like myself, have gone searching for the perfect period app. Good ones are hard to find, and they’re almost exclusively dedicated to hopeful conception, which I definitely am not yet. If you’re in need of a great period-tracking app, use Clue. It was suggested to me by a friend, and the first reason she gave me was “it’s not pink, and there are no flowers and butterflies.” All of those things are fine, but how about we stop trying to make periods so easy to swallow.

And what’s the color most closely associated with periods? Hm, I think I’m going to go with red.

Clue, without all the fluff and frills, tracks your periods and ovulations—full analysis and all. If you choose, it’ll set some incredibly helpful reminders, like if your period is late or if you need to take your pill. It’ll also let you track several other hormone-related actions like emotions, energy, and sleep. Clue has helped me understand my period better than I ever could alone.

2. Ding! Time to change your tampon!

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I guess I can’t wear white jeans since I have my period. Should I wear thicker underwear out tonight? Wouldn’t it just be a whole lot simpler if we knew what we going on down there?

My.flow’s goal is to “eliminate period anxiety” by linking your tampon up to your phone. My.flow will track how full your tampon is throughout the day, letting you know when it’s time for a new one. Their product is inspired by the fact that every woman has those embarrassing menstrual tales to tell, which could’ve been prevented with their product. Now, you can go out in those white jeans without having to worry if you’ll bleed through.

3. But what if your tampon could save your life too?

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No, not just “save your life.” I mean actually save your life.

NextGen Jane is the smart tampon that wouldn’t just tell you when your next period is, but could alert you when you’re at risk. NextGen Jane isn’t fully developed yet, but it’s interested in developing a set of tests that will help women keep track of their health when life is a little too busy for constant doctors appointments. The creators are determined to demystify reproductive health and help women catch these illnesses before they become seriously harmful.

4.  Menstrual cups for millennials 

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Started on Kickstarter, Looncup is the most tech-savvy way to menstruate. Marketed as the “world’s first smart menstrual cup,” Looncup basically just hacked into our panties. Menstrual cups have gained popularity over the last couple of years, providing alternatives to pads and tampons. But just like tampons and pads, cups also hold the age-old question: When should I take it out? Looncup doesn’t just let you know when to refresh your cup: the newest version will include health updates and the ability to tailor cups to personal women’s health issues.

5. High-tech period panties

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Aside from an adult diaper, your options for period protection are pads, tampons, or cups. Well, not anymore! THINX is a company that specializes in the ultimate period panties. I first found out of them from the backlash of their New York City subway ad campaign, because apparently we still can’t handle openly talking about periods. Really? But, regardless, THINX is one in many companies that are investing in new, reinvented period panties. THINX focuses on making underwear that is self-absorbent—the most absorbent can hold the equivalent of two tampons. Other companies like PantyProp are developing underwear that actually holds your pad in place.

Can you believe that these inventions don’t exist yet?