How Technology Aims to Improve Your Period

It's time. Are you ready for the age of the smart tampon?

my.Flow product

Yes, despite the fact that some tampons can't even master plastic technology, one startup, my.Flow, is aiming high by combining sensors, smartphone apps, and Bluetooth technology with your seemingly average tampon.

drawing of how my.Flow works

What is it?

my.Flow isn't a new tampon, it's more like a new tampon accessory. It's a Bluetooth sensor that you connect to your tampon to monitor and track your tampon usage. The accompanying smartphone app will show you just how saturated your tampon is (in terms of percentage) and when it's time to change it.

my.Flow percentage

The makers behind my.Flow believe that this will prevent not only embarrassment (in the case of accidental leakage) but has health benefits, as well.

If a tampon is left in for too long, it could potentially cause infection or Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Tampax recommends that you keep your tampon in no longer than eight hours in order to avoid TSS, though the Mayo Clinic notes that many modern tampons have less risk of TSS than the tampons of yesteryear, and women who experience TSS from tampons has declined.

How does it work?

You insert your tampon as usual, but you attach the tampon to the monitor via its long insulated string. You then clip the monitor to your waistband or underwear.

The app will then give you audible alerts when your tampon is full, or almost full, or halfway full — you can customize it to your desire of information. The app also lets you know when your period will start. When you're done with the monitor, it doubles as a keychain. Yes, a keychain.

myflow keychain monitor

Though my.Flow states that their goal is to "provide a solution to menstruation mortification," as admirable a goal as that is, it's unclear as to how wearing a monitor to track your period isn't somehow a little bit embarrassing.

my.Flow believes that their tampon monitor is a game-changer.

They state on their website that they surveyed "hundreds of women" mostly from the U.S., and found the following:

"[...] over half of them would buy a product that would help them prevent staining/leakage on their period, a product that would help them prevent waste/excess comfort due to premature removal of their hygiene product, a product that would help them predict when their period would stop and start each cycle, a product that would assist them in predicting the heaviness of their period on a given day, and a whopping 82% are ready to buy a product that would help them prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome and other menstrual-related complications. "​


A photo posted by Anthea (@aanthea.z) on

According to Dana Wollman of Engadget, who got to see an early demo of my.Flow, the product is not available for sale yet, as the founders are still looking for funding, but hope to launch it in 2017. Wollman writes,

If and when that happens, the sensor will cost a one-time price of $49 (about the median cost of a menstrual cup), with the battery rated to last "years," according to Brief. The tampons themselves will be sold online, as a subscription, and at $13 or so, they'll be more expensive than competing products (a 50-pack of Tampax costs around $10 on Amazon).

ATTN: has previously reported on failed tampon technologies of the past. It's unclear how history will side with my.Flow.

Update: 5/19/2016 2:05 p.m. PST: We have updated this story to include a brief Q&A with Amanda Brief, Cofounder and CEO, my.Flow, Inc.

What exactly was the inspiration to combine tech with tampons?

Some women have their cycle down like clockwork, and others of us aren’t as blessed. If it were common sense to remove your tampon at the perfect time, every time, period-related complications wouldn’t exist. But they do.

Our aim is to bring peace of mind to women about their period. my.Flow also sets out to minimize leaks, risk of TSS and other menstrual infections, and reduce excess waste and discomfort from premature removal. All of these complications can be avoided by removing your tampon at the correct time.
The IoT and wearable market has allowed us to track sleep, diet and the number of steps we take in a day. Until now, no product existed to provide granular data and insight about your period, specific to tampon wearers.

The potential implications of our technology in the health industry are widespread - this is just the beginning of where we want to take my.Flow.

Do you think wearing a tampon monitor is feasible and something that women will want to do? Your aim is to prevent "menstruation mortification" but isn't it a little embarrassing to wear a tampon monitor?

my.Flow isn’t for every menstruator, but there are many tampon-wearers who would benefit from this technology. This includes those with heavy flows, varied flows, unpredictable cycles (including women not on the pill), young women who are new to menstruation and are adjusting to their period for the first time, those with problematic periods as a result of a health or medical condition, and even people who just want to know more about their flow!

The images you've seen of my.Flow represent our current prototype. We have proof-of-concept and the engineering is sound. We think that women who experience anxiety surrounding their period would be willing to swap their uncertainty for the decision to wear a discreet tampon monitor; they can also wear it on their inner layer of clothing, like on their underwear, as opposed to outside their clothing which would broadcast their period to others. The physical design is a continuing effort, but we’re almost there.

It's also worth noting that some people we've talked to would opt not to wear the monitor at all times; rather, they would choose to intermittently connect their tampon string to the monitor, when they head to the bathroom every couple of hours, to check their tampon's current status.

What do you think of tampon alternatives like Thinx and menstrual cups?

We love what THINX and LOONCUP are doing. They provide modern day period solutions for pad and menstrual cup wearers. It’s all about giving women choice and access to products that best suit their needs. my.Flow offers choice, insight, and control to tampon wearers.

Brief confirmed that they plan to bring a "market-ready" version of my.Flow in 2017. She also confirmed that the monitor will cost $49, and the tampons will "fall in the price range of typical sanitary products, and will cost $2-3 more than your average tampon brand per month. This difference in price is to cover sourcing and production costs."


[H/T Mashable]