by Dr. Nithin Jayan on  July 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM Health Watch
An IPhone Application for Contraception?
A new smart phone application called 'Clue' is being claimed to replace contraceptive pills. The entrepreneur who developed it says that the application can also warn women when to expect premenstrual tension.

'Clue', a free iPhone app has been developed to revolutionize the family planning industry, says company owner Ida Tin. Clue tracks the user's menstrual cycle. It can predict the safe periods during which a couple can have sex without the risk of getting pregnant. The app can also tell the user when she is most fertile and the chances of getting pregnant are at her highest.

'I want to change the family planning industry, we haven't had any innovation in this space since the pill came out 60 years ago,' said Ida Tin. 'Our ultimate aim is to replace the birth control pill, or at least give an alternative.'

The app requires its user to enter details about her mood, the levels of pain, and a number of other factors. With time, the app learns the pattern of the woman's menstrual cycle and can make predictions. 'This gives women a very accurate idea of when they will, and won't, get pregnant.'

The app works on reliable algorithms unlike the other apps available in the market, claims the maker.

'Our design is for women, not girls, and is modern, clean and confident. We also have totally re-thought the calendar approach because we knew we needed something much faster.'

Birth-control pills and barrier methods such as male condom still remain as the most widely used methods of contraception worldwide. Estimates show that more than 100 million women worldwide use oral contraceptive pills. Proper usage of these pills has been shown to be effective in controlling births, but they are not devoid of side effects. Breakthrough bleeding is the most common side effect.

Annoying side effects such as withdrawal bleeding and amenorrhea (absence of menstrual period) often deter women from using them. A 1992 French study found that 'as many as 50% of new first-time users discontinue the birth control pill before the end of the first year'.

In this context, any innovation sans side effects can achieve global acceptance. The currently developed application is yet to get authentic scientific support from the medical community. It is still premature to blindly accept the app as a standalone contraceptive measure.

The new app is currently available for use in iPhones. The developers are working on a hardware gadget so as to increase the accuracy of the application. Let us wait for the final product, since it would be a more realistic measure. The heavily populated developing nations like India are still distant to a large extent from expensive premium smartphones such as iPhones.

Source: Medindia

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