When people asked me what my business idea was in the beginning, I used to say I’m building a period tracking app. That changed quickly, when I realized that that’s not all I’m doing.
During many interviews and chats I had with test users and potential new users, I learned that it’s about much more than just periods. It starts with education and information. It starts with taking the guesswork out of our cycles. It starts with the understanding that roughly 50% of the world’s population are naturally governed by a different cycle than the accepted daily sun cycle.
Looking at it on a higher level of abstraction, the recent SCOTUS decision is just another symptom on a long list of symptoms that stem from gross misinformation, shame, and religious beliefs around the female anatomy and bodily autonomy. Yes, in some ways we (as in humanity) are as educated as never before in history. Just look at all that period product marketing showing red fluid instead of blue, the sheer number of social media posts about blood and PMS, and the increasing use of correct terminology for female body parts (#vivalavulva). Let's pat ourselves on the back for a job well done… But it all feels very in your face.
Periods are seemingly everywhere, but does this mean they've become mainstream enough to have honest conversations about them?
We are supposedly sexually free, but does this mean we are done slut-shaming anyone who behaves differently than us?
There are 100 different period tracking apps available, but does this mean they are truly inclusive and actually designed for the menstruator using them? And don't get me started on data privacy issues… → See this great 2018 article about all of that.
The fact that even my own, comparative user research has revealed that none of the points raised in the above article have been addressed by the biggest apps yet, proves that we still have a long way to go. And this great 2019 article puts it all in even bigger context.
You might say, but science has recently started getting more interested in the female menstrual cycle, too. Just look at the growing body of scientific studies about the menstrual cycle effects on athletic performance or nutrition. While slowly informing medical protocols and business decisions in this way is amazing and long-overdue, it is important to note, that
there is still not enough research, overall, and
the study results vary to such a large degree that it quickly gets confusing.
Hypotheses to test are sometimes a little out there or just simply all over the place (e.g. Do all women cycle with the moon?). What most menstrual cycle effects studies have in common, however, is that they seem to center on this idea: “How can we better manage the menstrual cycle?”.
We also have to acknowledge that we (as in humanity) have lost ancestral wisdom about the specifics of the female hormone cycle. When women, healers, and midwives were burned in large numbers in medieval Europe, their naturist knowledge about the female hormone and reproductive system died with them. There is so much wisdom lost. Bridging that gap with modern, western medicine & science naturally takes time.
In the modern western world, we have been conditioned to manage our menstrual cycles away. We control the “negative” side effects by taking artificial hormones or rationalizing their common-ness as normal-ness. We “biohack” our cycles by taking supplements just so we can keep performing all cycle long. We only get active about our (menstrual) health once something's wrong.
According to the Global Menstrual Collective, “menstrual health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle” (Hennegan et al., 2021). So maybe we have to start earlier still: We have to (re-) learn to accept our menstrual cycle and how to live in sync with it, instead of against it.
In short, I have since learned not to call my startup a #periodtrackingapp any longer. I am building a menstrual health app and community.
My co-founder and I are working on an app release date later this summer. It's finally crunch time and we are working around the clock to deliver a safe, inclusive, & empowering different new menstrual health app. We can't wait to show the world what we have.
Until then, I created Living With Your Cycle - A Masterclass for Busy Wom*n: to teach busy menstruators how to get in tune with their own menstrual cycle, holistically. I combined scientific findings and ancestral knowledge to create a 1,5 hour class in which you will
Learn about your menstrual cycle: the phases, the hormones, & the changes.
Leave perfectionism and performance pressures behind.
Live with your hormones, instead of just managing their symptoms.
I invite you to sign up, if you’re ready to
beat your negative menstrual cycle symptoms.
add some mindfulness to your busy life - without additional stress.
become healthier, happier, & more confident - by living with your cycle instead of against it.