Digital Health from a Healthcare Perspective (Part 11)
What is Femtech, Widely Deployed Around the World?
The Reason Why Women's Health Issues are Gaining Attention and the Role Required of Femtech
What is Femtech? -The Beginning of Femtech
Femtech is a term coined by combining the words “female” and “technology,” and refers to science and technology related to women's health and wellness. 1)
Femtech has only been recognized in Japan since around 2020, but the term femtech has been around for about ten years in Europe and the United States. It is said that entrepreneurs tried to expand the market by aggregating technologies and products from different markets, such as “adult toys,” “maternity products,” and “menopausal products,” and then lumping them together as femtech. By creating the concept of femtech, especially in areas not well understood by men, the recognition of femtech spread worldwide.
Women’s Health Issues in the World and Femtech’s Role
Women are affected by fluctuating hormone levels and experience various body changes. The changes can be not only short-term health issues but also long-term social life. Those who can cope with changes in confidence with knowledge about their bodies and health can improve their quality of life and work performance. They can also prevent women-specific diseases and shape a prosperous lifestyle. The role of femtech is to enable women to take control of their health and social life smoothly.
Women’s health issues are serious worldwide. Particularly issues include sexual reproduction, cervical and breast cancer, mental health, menopausal health, pregnancy and childbirth, and diet and nutrition. When considering health issues, it is also important to keep in mind that different regions and cultures have various problems and priorities. There are significant differences in terms of religion, economic development, and insurance systems, as well as temperature and public health.
The speed of femtech penetration in each country is different. Still, it must not just be about advancing information and technology but also about solving essential issues for women in that country.
In women’s health issues, the next approaches are needed in many areas, such as education, awareness, prevention, improved access, and gender equality. Femtech must also work to solve these health issues. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has calmed down and femtech market leaders from different countries are resuming exchanges, femtech will see even more excitement as they share information and technologies worldwide.
Types and Expansion of Femtech
Femtech has evolved to solve various women’s issues across the menstrual cycle, reproduction, sexual well-being, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. Many types of technology and product types include smartphone apps, wearable devices, sensors, testing kits, and virtual consultations.
Some of the major areas are highlighted here.
- Menstrual Cycle Tracking and Reproductive Management: Some apps and devices track menstrual cycles and ovulation predictions to identify the best time for women who want to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. Technology is also being developed to measure menstrual and reproductive status by measuring secretions.
- Pregnancy and Childbirth: Some apps and devices provide care and support during pregnancy and after birth.
- Sexual Well-being and Sex Education: Some apps and platforms aimed at improving sexual health and promoting sex education. It includes providing advice on sexual issues and information on preventing and managing STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
- Managing Menopause: Some technologies and apps to support care for the symptoms and hormonal changes associated with menopause. It includes tracking and managing hot flashes, improving sleep, relieving stress, and supporting hormone therapy.
- Women's Health Care: Some apps and devices dedicated to tracking women's health and well-being, preventing health risks, managing stress, and supporting mental health.
Expectations for Femtech
Femtech is growing extensively, with industry entries outside of healthcare. The future of femtech is also attracting attention as new technologies may emerge in other areas related to women’s health.
According to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the annual labor loss due to menstrual symptoms peculiar to women is 491.1 billion Japanese yen, and women’s health issues have become a social problem. 2) As health and productivity management has been advocated, society and women themselves need to be able to manage their health and wellness proactively.
We hope that advances in femtech will expand improved support for women’s specific health issues.
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