Gadgets for humans

Relying on a gadget to tell you when to change your tampon is peak millennialism


For all the things tech improves in our lives, there are other aspects that no amount of innovation will help you with. Common sense is one of them.

A company called My.Flow today unveiled a $49 smart tampon monitor that helps you see via an app when it’s time to change it. The device works by attaching the string end of a tampon to a clip, which sits on your pant waistband or underwear, and keeping you informed on how full the tampon is throughout the day.

The device is likely to be most useful during your first and last days of the cycle so you can avoid leakage or taking the tampon out too soon. These are real issues all women deal with no matter how experienced they are.

My.Flow also aims to tackle one of the more talked-about issue with tampons: toxic shock syndrome. The infection was more common in the 80s when some women would actually die from TSS by leaving a tampon in too long.

Since then, the FDA has put forth regulations for what is considered safe for tampons, such as using materials that are free of toxins and chlorine bleach. It also requires manufacturers to label tampon types, such as light or super, so women are using the right kind of tampon based on the absorbency level needed.

What My.Flow is attempting to tackle is a real problem, but relying on technology to tell you when to take tampons out is, well, peak lazy. What happens if your phone battery’s out? Risk toxic shock or buy new jeans? We’ve gotta stop taking the whole “There’s an app for that” mantra too seriously.

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What’s worse is My.Flow’s tampons will cost “a few dollars more” than regular tampons according to The Guardian. If the company intends to help women, shouldn’t it be more worried about making tampons more affordable rather than costing more than they already do?

It all boils down to this simple notion: read the directions. Every box of tampon advises that you should never leave it in for longer than eight hours – so as long as you’re not doing that, congratulations, you’ve passed step one. Step two: if you’re worried about the pain of taking a dry tampon out on your last day, then don’t use it. Pantyliners are a thing.

Step three: if all this is still making you question how to live, then try alternative methods like menstrual cups or stick to traditional sanitary pads. Periods are an uncomfortable part of life, but only you know your body best. There are some things best left for you to decide, not a device attached to the inside of your vagina.

Published May 17, 2016 — 20:18 UTC