The crucial problem with health research for women is that a lot of it doesn’t use female test subjects. The original trials for Ambien, a sleeping aid, only had male test subjects, but was marketed to both men and women. The female sexual dysfunction drug, Addyi, was only on the market for women, but the clinical study for it had a enrollment rate of 92% men. Also, a majority of trials are performed on male animals or male cells, but are marketed towards women as well. So, not only is female health research underfunded, but women are underrepresented in the research for products that are meant for them.
FemTech and telehealth can help better cater to women’s needs and make their experience more patient-centric and personalized. Adequately funding FemTech companies and projects can help shift healthcare into a different stage that better suits the needs of women and can make the process “be much more based on data or technology, transparent, and seamless”, as Reenita puts it.
In order to make this important shift in healthcare however, Reenita emphasizes that it is crucial to have more products and services available for women in all stages of life, not just the menstruation and fertility stages. Reenita calls it the “autumn stage”, or the time period in a woman’s life when she’s reached menopause and potential chronic diseases as a result are more prevalent. With the rise in interest in FemTech and more female-focused healthcare networks, it’s important to also support companies that shift the dialogue and move out of just the fertility market and stage of life, and into the menopause stage of life and the chronic diseases that it can cause.
While a lot of topics regarding women’s health can be seen as taboo, Reenita says the best way to make changes in the female health market is to keep talking about it and destigmatize the conversation surrounding female wellness. Being able to discuss the importance of funding FemTech, the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials, and the underfunding of women’s health research is one of the best ways to shift our healthcare system into one that can better address and meet the needs of women.
To learn more about FemTech and Reenita’s work, listen to our latest podcast episode!