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Apple is making sure you take better care of your health

You can soon use your Watch to track your menstrual cycle

By Mamta Mody  July 5th, 2019

If you’re hooked on to tracking your workout and daily activity on your Apple Watch, there’s more good news coming your way. Last month Apple announced a handful of features that will be rolling out later this year on the WatchOS6, including period tracking.

This new app called Cycle Tracking will act like a log for all the information on your cycle, flow level, PMS symptoms (bloating, headaches, breakouts), and predictions from ovulation prediction kits. If you diligently enter details everyday, the Watch will help you keep a tab on your next period, fertility window and also help track any PMS symptoms. “Even though many of us don’t think of our cycles so fondly, it’s actually a really unique health indicator for women,” says Dr Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of Health.

Dr Desai who is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford School of Medicine has been contributing efforts to integrate health into our tech devices at Apple. “We have been thinking of ways to democratise health information in a way that it educates and engages you; so you understand what’s going on with your health better,” she says. For example, if you experience migraines before your period, and have entered the information in the Cycle Tracking app, you will be able to understand symptom patterns and discuss this with your physician. “What’s most special is that the Watch allows you to log in this information in a discreet manner and that’s incredibly powerful,” says Dr Desai.

Dr Sumbul Desai at WWDC

All this data can then be assimilated into one view on the Health app, which you can easily access at your next doctor’s appointment. Dr Desai explains, “A lot of times when I meet patients, they can’t quite remember everything. Now you have this piece of information, that you’ve been collecting daily, in one place, and you can read it out to your doctor in a concise manner.”

Apple is surely not the first period tracking app (the Watch will be compatible with a few third-party apps, like PregBuddy), but by monitoring your heart rate, tracking your workout and several other factors it will be successful in presenting a holistic picture of your wellbeing. Towards the end of the year, watchOS6 will also have other updated features like a noise pollution monitor (Noise app), Activity Trends, and seamless access to the App Store. The best part? Privacy. Apple says all this data will be stored locally on your iPhone or encrypted in the iCloud. Dr Desai confirms, “The data on the device will be with you, and only you decide who you’re going to share it with.”