Health & Fitness

Always’ period tracking app includes menstrual product donations

Procter & Gamble’s menstrual care company Always is looking to help people who have periods track their cycle, make holistic health improvements and give back to the community with its new Always You app.

The app has features for tracking period cycles, bladder leakage and mood fluctuations, and incorporates behavioral change tools provided by Thrive Global. These include the company’s Thrive Microsteps – small, actionable changes people can implement immediately to build healthy habits – and its science-backed digital content.

“At Thrive, we’re passionate about creating technology that has an impact on people’s lives, and Always You is a perfect example,” Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, said in a statement.

“We’re not just giving people a period tracker,” she said. “We’re supporting them and celebrating them with our whole human approach to well-being, and providing too-small-to-fail Microsteps they can take immediately to improve their wellness and build confidence.”

Additionally, Always You has made a commitment to give back by donating period products to underserved individuals. The app awards users donation points when they track their health, complete a Microstep or engage with a piece of content. For every 100 points earned, Always will donate one period product to a partnering nonprofit organization, such as Feeding America.

Users earn 20 points for every period or bladder leak event tracked with a maximum of 200 points for period events per month and 10 points per day by completing all Microsteps, and five points for each piece of content consumed.

“Always has been working to help build girls’ confidence for more than 35 years, and we are always looking for ways to do more,” Laura Magon, senior director of Procter & Gamble for Global Fem Care Innovations, said in a statement.

“Our consumers have been using our online period tracker in our Always website for years, and we are now making it more accessible with our new Always You Mobile App. And like everything we do at Always, we saw an opportunity to continue our social impact by turning this into another way for consumers to contribute to help #EndPeriodPoverty.”

WHY THIS MATTERS

Period poverty refers to a lack of access to menstrual products and impacts nearly two-thirds of low-income women, according to a study from Obstetrics & Gynecology. Of these women, one in five were unable to afford necessary menstrual products on a monthly basis – leading many to make do with cloth, rags, tissues or toilet paper.

A tax on these products, referred to as the “tampon tax,” is a major contributor to period poverty, according to a separate study from Obstetrics & Gynecology. The tax averages 7.41% in the U.S. but can be as high as 9.90% in Louisiana.

The tampon tax study found that it has the largest impact on accessibility for marginalized low-income people and those with heavy menstrual bleeding. This lack of access leads to poor menstrual hygiene and decreased participation in work and school, and contributes to poor quality of life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, period poverty likely worsened, as 58% of women worldwide said they had less money to buy menstrual products due to the pandemic, according to a survey by Statista.

THE LARGER TREND

With this launch, Always is entering into a particularly crowded area of digital health: period tracking.

A number of period tracking tools are already on the market, including Orchyd, Fitbit, Apple and Flo. Others, like Clue and Natural Cycles, help users track their period but also serve as digital contraception.

While femtech is flush with products for reproductive-age people, there have been calls for the market to move deeper in underserved areas, like menopause and senior care. In fact, Frost & Sullivan predicts that much of femtech’s growth in coming years will be from shifting the focus to currently untapped areas.

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