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Women urged to think about female health technologies on International Women’s Day

A senior local doctor is urging women in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes to use International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March) to learn more about the digital tools available to help them monitor and improve their health.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, a consultant in women’s reproductive health, is recommending that women consider how they use so-called ‘FemTech’ products, a term applied to a category of software, diagnostics, products and services that use technology to focus on aspects of women’s health, such as fertility, period-tracking, pregnancy and nursing, sexual wellness, and reproductive healthcare.

The NHS already offers a number of apps and other sources of advice available to help everyone improve their health:

  • NHS Quit Smoking app (giving up smoking)
  • NHS Weight Loss Plan app (losing weight)
  • Couch to 5k and Active 10 apps (becoming more physically active)
  • Drink Free Days app (cutting down on alcohol)
  • Your Mind Plan (improving mental wellbeing)

These apps are aimed at everyone, but Dr Chakrabarti is encouraging women to think hard about the tools available to help them with specifically female health issues.

Dr Chakrabarti, who is also deputy chief medical director and lead for women’s and maternal health at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“The Women’s Health Strategy for England, published in 2022, sets out the NHS’s ambition to empower women to have fair access to clinically safe technologies – whether diagnostic, therapeutic or preventative – to ultimately improve health outcomes for women.  Menstrual health, menopause and fertility are just three of the areas where technology has a part to play in helping women to understand their bodies better.  Your GP will always be happy to discuss ways you can look after your health.

“There are lots of tools out there which women can use: whilst the NHS does not currently offer any tech products specific to women’s health, there are a number of apps which I know many find useful.  As with any commercial technology, I’d always recommend that you make sure your security settings are set at a high level, to protect your personal information.

“If you are looking for information only, without the need to track data over time, the NHS App is regularly updated with new detail on women’s health topics.

“At different stages of life, women have access to life-saving NHS screening programmes such as those for cervical cancer and breast cancer.  Attending your screening appointments is important, as they can give you peace of mind and make sure you see a specialist if there is a need to investigate further.

“And don’t forget that if you’re aged 40 to 74 then you’re entitled to a free NHS Health Check every five years, where a trained professional will take some details, then work out your personalised risk score for a number of health conditions.  It takes just 20 to 30 minutes every five years, so it’s well worth your time.”

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