my.Flow Reminds Women to Change their Tampon

my.Flow Reminds Women to Change their Tampon
Technology & Health

I’m proud to say that, as a woman, I’ve never forgotten I was wearing a tampon. I know, TMI. But every woman out there knows another woman who has forgotten…or has at least heard rumors about it.

It’s not just a gross thought; doctors warn that tampons shouldn’t be left in for more than 8 hours. Toxic shock syndrome, or TSS, is rare, but leaving a tampon in longer than 8 hours is a risk factor for the illness, and it can kill you.

Just in case you’re dangerously forgetful, there’s a new electronic gadget on the market that reminds women when it’s time to give the plug a tug.

Welcome to my.Flow, a very wearable gadget that…well, you know where it goes and what you do with it. (If you’re a clueless guy, ask a woman.) It’s a high-tech key fob that tells you, via Bluetooth, when the tampon inside you is fully saturated and needs to be changed. So, on the off-chance that you don’t pee all day long and don’t feel the string dangling from your nether region, now technology will make sure you don’t wind up at the ER or racing home to find a change of pants.

Engadget explains how my.Flow works:

“The tampon itself looks like any other tampon, complete with a plastic applicator. There’s no circuitry inside, so in that sense, it’s dumber than its name implies. Instead, an insulated (and very long) string connects to a small sensor that the wearer clips onto her underwear or waistband. The sensor then talks to a smartphone app that sends notifications when the tampon is nearly saturated. Over time, too, the app can predict when a woman’s period will start, how long it will last and what her heaviest-flow days will be.”

Source: Slate – With my.Flow, you can now clip your tampon to your underpants!

One has to wonder whether you can accidentally rip it out when you pull your pants down, because if you forget that you’re wearing a tampon, there’s a good chance you’ll forget you have a tampon clipped to your underpants, right? Or maybe not, considering my.Flow is about the size of the palm of your hand.

my.Flow was created for an engineering class assignment, and its creators (all women) are seeking funding. CEO Amanda Field told the Guardian she hopes the e-tampons will help women avoid embarrassing leaks, TSS, and the pain of pulling out a tampon that has barely any blood on it. (Again, guys, ask a woman.) [1]

In the commercial for my.Flow, the blue fluid often used in ads to represent menstrual flow has been changed to purple. Field says:

“We thought we’d go for red but didn’t want to alienate anyone.”

Thank goodness!

If the ladies behind my.Flow are worried about feminism or alienation, it seems more than a little odd that they’ve reverted back to the days of women having to attach sanitary pads to belts. Plus, I’m just not willing to spend a huge chunk of money on a tampon (they’ll reported sell for $50), not even an electronic one. No thanks. I don’t have the world’s best memory, but I’ll take my chances on this one. [2]

Source: Mum

It would be an interesting topic of conversation among your girlfriends the next time you go out for dinner, though. Just picture yourself grabbing your dinging phone and saying, “Sorry, I forgot to turn the volume down. It’s just my e-tampon telling me my cotton is saturated. I’ll be right back. The restroom is down that way, right?”

To quote Dana Wollman, who authored the Engadget piece about my.Flow:

“The problem is, I’m a woman, and even I don’t get this thing.”

Instead of snapping a smartphone-sized gadget to your pants to remind you it’s time to change your tampon, it might be easier to just jot down a little reminder to yourself on your actual smartphone.

But that’s me.



[1] Slate

[2] Mashable