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How Accurate Are Birth Control Apps? Non-Hormonal Contraception Could Happen In The Near Future


When it comes to birth control, not every woman out there wants to use something with hormones in it. Women are, by and large, seeking more organic and natural alternatives for everything from food to clothing to menstrual products, and birth control is no exception. Enter fertility awareness apps, which are meant to track your body's fertility cycles through algorithms. But in light of recent reports, some are wondering how accurate birth control apps truly are.

For decades, one of the most popular and widely available methods of contraceptives for women was the birth control pill. There were some drawbacks to taking the oral contraceptive, not the least of which being the ingestion of hormones. Each of the hormonal contraceptives available to women (the pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring) had small amounts of man-made estrogen progestin hormonal contraception. For women who don't want to put hormones in their body, it seems there's now an app for that. Swedish company Natural Cycles had its birth control app approved in 2017 as a legitimate medical device that could be used for contraception.

How exactly does it work? The app actually hearkens back to the oldest method of contraception there is; the rhythm method. But with a scientific twist:

The science behind the Natural Cycles app was developed by Dr. Elina Berglund and her husband and has proven to be remarkably promising. Nordic Business Insider reported that the app was found to be even more effective than oral contraceptive pills, with more than 93 percent of "typical" women finding the use of the app successful. In other words, regular women who don't necessarily always use the app perfectly. Natural Cycles is still only available in Europe, but is planning the move to North America in the near future (as of right now, the app is available in the United States solely as a "fertility monitor," but Natural Cycles hopes to expand in the future).

Unfortunately, not everyone is singing the praises of the birth control app. Södersjukhuset (SÖS), a hospital in Stolkholm, is reporting the app to Läkemedelsverket, the governing Medical Products Agency of Sweden, because it found during a study that 37 women seeking abortions had been using the app... and it clearly didn't work.

A spokesperson for Natural Cycles told Babble:

Natural Cycles continues to stand behind its research, and a spokesperson went on to say the company would be happy to work with medical professionals to ensure the efficacy of the birth control app.

It's important for women to have control over their own reproduction, and to have non-hormonal, non-invasive options for contraception. It seems as though Natural Cycles is on the right track... here's hoping it works out.

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