I was sent an article the other day regarding the FDA and their approval of an app. Not just any app, but an app to help prevent pregnancy. I guess the FDA decided they needed to damage their credibility some more.
The app is based on folklore, which in itself is interesting. Folklore tells you that if you want to avoid pregnancy, track your body temp and don’t have sex on days when it is high. This is what the app does, for $80 a year. You get a cheap oral thermometer that sends data to the app about a woman’s body temp. Based on how low or high your body temp is it tells you how close you are to ovulating.
For the record, the app makers are being sued because there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies associated with it’s use. It is being marketed as an all natural form of birth control, but you’d be better off to find a smooth flat rock to shove in your vagina in front of your cervix which would be like an all natural diaphragm. DO NOT DO THIS! I’m sure this will lead to infection and probably unwanted pregnancies, so I repeat, do not shove a rock in your vagina and hope it works like a diaphragm.
So why did the FDA approve it for use? I think simply because the EU did as well. I am all about the digital age and think that most of the time it has made our lives better. This is not one of those times.
First off, an app is not going to keep you from getting pregnant, not unless the app inserts a diaphragm or injects you with birth control hormones. Second, cycle tracking isn’t even a terribly effective way to get pregnant, let alone keep someone from getting pregnant. Third, science has debunked cycle tracking to prevent pregnancies a number of times.
Did you know that as you sleep your body temperature constantly fluctuates based on where you are in the REM process? And not sleeping well during the night can raise your body temp just before you wake up? While sleeping well can lower it just before you wake up? Also, not everyone has the same body temp as the next person. My average temp is not 98.6, it’s a little higher at about 99.4. A bad night’s sleep can make me wake up with what appears to be the start of a fever at 100.3 or so.
Hydration levels also affect your body temp. So if you have mild dehydration, it can make it appear you are close to ovulation. However, if you are like most people and almost always suffer from mild dehydration, then a day of hydration can create lower body temps the next day… and as a result of the lower body temp because you actually drank enough fluid that wasn’t alcoholic the day before, it can make it appear you are okay to have sex and that ovulation is several days away when in reality you are going to ovulate this afternoon.
So do yourself a favor and do not subscribe to this app unless you have this weird need to know what your body temp is every day. And it certainly shouldn’t be considered an effective form of birth control, even if the FDA rubber stamped it because they wanted to be like the cool kids in the EU.