Top OBGYN Offers Warning About New 'Smart' Tampon That Tells You When It Needs To Be Changed
Inventors Amanda Brief and Jacob McEntire have spent years designing technology that allows your tampon to text you from inside of your vagina.
People aren't really sure they want to get that message.
The my.Flow concept is designed to allow you to track how full your tampon is so that you can better track when it needs to be changed. In theory, this will help avoid breakthrough bleeding as well as potentially painful attempts to remove the tampon before it's ready.
**Note for people who do not use tampons, they don't slide in and out as easily as you might think. Smooth applicators help with insertion, but removal can be tricky.
Tampons are designed to absorb moisture, so if it's not full enough for some of that moisture to stay along the surface, it can drag and pull at your genital tissue as you try to take it out. Ouch.
So yeah, breakthrough bleeds and attempted removal before you're ready can both be inconvenient...but inconvenient enough that we need bluetooth tampons?
Maybe, maybe not. Before we get too into people's opinions, let's briefly walk through the design, shall we?
my.Flow uses specialized tampons with strings much longer than the typical tampon. Where a user might normally expect a string about 5 inches long, the my.Flow tampons string is 12 inches. That string protects a conductive thread that connects to a monitor worn in the user's underwear or up at their waistband.
Like a headphone cord from your vagina?
That monitor sends bluetooth signals to your phone where an app allows you to track the "fullness" of your tampon, set text reminders, etc. According to the inventors, the tampon itself sends no wireless signals, the signals come from the wearable monitor and are "weaker than your phone."
Amanda Brief claims that the tampon and app allow people convenience and can help curb anxiety around periods.
"Currently, you can't check the level of your tampon as it's inside you, so many people err on the side of taking their tampon out prematurely, which is not only wasteful, but quite physically uncomfortable as well."
Check out this video explaining the product.
Amanda and Jacob are seeking further funding for their idea - and that's where Dr. Jennifer Gunter and others are stepping up with concerns. The product has not been tested by the FDA and people have raised concerns.
Is it possible the string could potentially act as a wick for microorganisms to climb and possibly introduce infection to the vagina? Is the bluetooth signal emitted by the monitor safe for extended wear?
Also, bluetooth technology is something that typically needs to be secured to prevent hacking. Are those measures in place? Are hackable vaginas a thing we really need in 2020?
Dr. Jen has some reservations on this one, folks.
This will require studies as it represents a significant design change. So beware of giving money to this start up… https://t.co/VAW57H3kvQ— Jennifer Gunter (@Jennifer Gunter) 1578428842.0
Also, most critical tampon events (CTE) are unexpected and leave you little time to change. Most tampon users know… https://t.co/WmoLxf3RM9— Jennifer Gunter (@Jennifer Gunter) 1578429131.0
And evidently so does the rest of Twitter...
@npchilds @DrJenGunter But...can you air drop to/from it?— Lisa R (trini medic barbie)🇹🇹🇬🇾 (@Lisa R (trini medic barbie)🇹🇹🇬🇾) 1578430067.0
@DrJenGunter @Gizmodo This is ridiculous, for so many reasons. First, there are tons of apps for tracking your per… https://t.co/WqHu6z4JsD— Elizabeth for Humanity (@Elizabeth for Humanity) 1578429413.0
@DrJenGunter @Gizmodo DrJen, As someone who’se worked in wireless comm I would advise against it. Bluetooth is easi… https://t.co/eLxr2lxGdO— Guy Larange (@Guy Larange) 1578429319.0
@DrJenGunter I feel like a lot of women would be electrocuted vaginally, causing potentially horrific scarring or o… https://t.co/Zx9EIlpl7I— Amanda (@Amanda) 1578440488.0
@DrJenGunter Flooding for me seems to happen with a very sudden, dramatic change in flow, so this would presumably… https://t.co/23ukjvxu5q— Emily Leary (@Emily Leary) 1578429633.0
@DrJenGunter @Gizmodo I feel like there has to be some sanitary products middle ground between 'wad of cotton' and 'hackable electronics'.— Kristen DeAngelis, PhD (@Kristen DeAngelis, PhD) 1578428968.0
@DrJenGunter @Gizmodo Plus, this isn't just a bluetooth tampon. This is a tampon with a super-long string that conn… https://t.co/aWo0SN3aAd— Colleen Russ (@Colleen Russ) 1578429621.0
@DrJenGunter @cherryblack @Gizmodo I'd also be pretty worried about their data management practices, after the bluetooth sex toy shenanigans— Health Nerd (@Health Nerd) 1578434028.0
@vrcraftauthor @DrJenGunter @Gizmodo I have, usually due to vigorous exercise or when I’ve been reclining for a whi… https://t.co/wYtnSPIZEO— The Prison Band County Jail Jamboree (@The Prison Band County Jail Jamboree) 1578430607.0
@DrJenGunter @Gizmodo I have a hard enough connecting my phone to my car, I for sure don't need to connect it to my crotch.— 🥂Lady Von Titzen-Arsch🥂 (@🥂Lady Von Titzen-Arsch🥂) 1578433463.0
Of course for women who want to eliminate disposable tampons and pads, alternatives like the Lena Menstrual Cup - Reusable Period Cup, available here, are now options.
With no strings attached.
@hachx0 @DrJenGunter @MsVanillaRose Wait. The string is CONNECTED to a device? I wear a lot of dresses. So the theo… https://t.co/l725uvttZz— Some Kind of Shouty Cat (@Some Kind of Shouty Cat) 1578433995.0