According to 2021 statistics, nearly half of India’s population is women, who play a significant role in household purchase decisions and responsibilities. Yet, they are ignorant about their health and are usually the last to visit a doctor. Even if they do, most of them rarely go for follow-up visits or tests, which is crucial to completely cure a disease. They just take medicines, wait for the symptoms to subside, and get back to work without looking for a long-term solution. It can be dangerous because, often, the disease will recur or even worsen, and that’s what needs to change.
Thanks to the range of FemTech products being introduced in the Indian market, women can now identify the problem at the comfort of their homes and treat it too. The products fall under the category of software and diagnostics that use technology to deal with various female healthcare issues related to reproductive systems, fertility, ovulation cycle, menopause, and lifestyle problems. The treatment can be done through the latest technologies like telehealth and online consultations, especially in cases where specialist doctors are not readily available.
Regarding health issues, diseases affecting reproductive systems are relatively common among women, particularly the ones of childbearing age. Yet, only some take the initiative to get diagnosed or treated because conventional procedures can be too painful, lengthy, and sometimes even barbaric. For instance, uterine fibroids are one of the most common benign tumors affecting women worldwide, sometimes up to 80 percent, depending on the patient’s age. Many gynecologists currently rely on an archaic, 175-year-old medical procedure known as Blind D&C. The process poses serious health risks to patients as it fails to detect fibroids in the body due to the lack of direct visual access. This is where cutting-edge technologies like MHTR (Mechanic Hysteroscopic Tissue Removal) systems can be a game-changer. It enables surgeons to see and treat in the same setting using a single insertion, apart from removing as much as 98 percent of diseased tissues. In fact, over 80 percent of the cases can be treated without anesthesia with minimal pain.
Another area where FemTech is helping is cancer screening and treatment, ranging from breast to cervix. In the case of breast cancer, one of the leading causes of mortality is late detection. Existing methods, such as mammography and sonography, are mostly done for older women aged 50 and above. It leaves out the younger section of women, among whom cancer rates are growing in India. This new technology can be invaluable if detected early, even in women who don’t show any symptoms. It has a unique ability to detect thermal changes in breasts. The technique used is liquid crystal thermography, which is vital as tumor development is associated with higher temperatures in the growing cancer area.
Women are more aware of breast cancer than cervical cancer, another major health issue that can be prevented. Viruses that cause cervical cancer – HPV 16 and HPV 18 – have a long incubation. Vaccination is effective between the ages of 15 to 25 years. But for women above 25, devices are needed for screening and treating this type of cancer. A combination of new technology-based, AI (Artificial Intelligence)-enabled devices and a battery-operated device have proven to be very effective. While the former can give a clear visual of the cervix in a non-invasive manner, the latter has the ability to remove precancerous lesions based on the visuals.
FemTech is about testing and treating simultaneously so that women have no more excuses for neglecting their health. Devices that will be able to do women’s oral screening and deal with lifestyle problems are also in the pipeline. But the future is wearables. Women will soon be able to wear dresses that can identify changes in their bodies and receive health alerts on their phones. What is seen in FemTech today is just the beginning of a revolution that will transform women’s wellness.