womens health
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Revolutionizing Hormone Tracking with Wearable Tech

In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of wearable technology to track various aspects of our health. From counting steps and monitoring heart rate to tracking sleep patterns, these devices have become popular tools for people looking to improve their overall well-being. Now, researchers are exploring how wearable tech can be used to monitor hormones in real-time.

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Hormones play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including metabolism, growth and development, mood regulation, and reproductive health. However, hormonal imbalances can lead to a range of health problems such as infertility, diabetes, obesity, depression and anxiety disorders.

Currently available methods for measuring hormones involve blood tests or saliva samples taken at specific times during the day. These methods provide only snapshots of hormone levels that may not accurately reflect fluctuations throughout the day or over time.

Enter wearable technology – small devices worn on the body that continuously measure physiological parameters using sensors and algorithms. Researchers are developing wearables that can detect changes in hormone levels through sweat analysis or skin impedance measurements.

Sweat is an attractive medium for hormone detection because it contains a variety of biomarkers that reflect changes in metabolic activity and stress responses. A study published earlier this year demonstrated the feasibility of using sweat-based biosensors for continuous cortisol monitoring – one of the primary stress hormones – without causing skin irritation [1].

Skin impedance measurement involves applying electrical currents across the skin surface and measuring resistance values which vary depending on hydration level changes caused by hormonal fluctuations [2]. This method has shown promise for detecting menstrual cycle phases based on estrogen levels [3].

Wearable hormone trackers could have significant implications for women’s health by enabling accurate tracking of menstrual cycles and fertility windows. Currently available fertility-tracking apps rely on self-reported data such as basal body temperature readings or cervical mucus observations which may not be reliable indicators [4]. Real-time monitoring via wearables could provide more accurate information for women trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy.

In addition, wearable hormone trackers could be used to monitor hormonal imbalances in people with conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disorders. For example, continuous glucose monitoring devices are already available that use subcutaneous sensors to measure blood sugar levels [5]. Wearable hormone trackers could provide similar real-time data on insulin and other hormones involved in glucose metabolism.

However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before wearable hormone trackers become widely available. One major issue is the accuracy of the measurements. Sweat-based biosensors may be affected by factors such as temperature changes or skin irritation caused by prolonged wear [6]. Skin impedance measurement may also be influenced by external factors such as humidity level or body position [7].

Another challenge is the privacy concerns associated with tracking sensitive health data. Wearable tech companies will need to ensure adequate measures are taken to protect user’s personal information from unauthorized access or misuse.

Despite these challenges, researchers remain optimistic about the potential of wearable technology for revolutionizing hormone tracking. Future advances in sensor technology and machine learning algorithms could improve accuracy and reliability of measurements while minimizing discomfort for users.

As we continue down this path towards personalized medicine, it seems likely that wearable hormone trackers will play an increasingly important role in managing our health.

References:

[1] Ono T et al., “Wearable sweat-based cortisol sensing device using soft-microneedle arrays,” Sensors Actuators B Chem 2021; 329:129177

[2] Haneishi N et al., “Noninvasive estimation method for estradiol concentration based on skin impedance measurement,” IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 2004;51:769-73

[3] Foschini L et al., “Estrogen-related variations of skin electrical conductivity during menstrual cycle,” Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1989;30 Suppl 1:41-6

[4] Setton R et al., “The accuracy of mobile apps and wearable devices for tracking fertility,” J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2019;41:1570-7

[5] Battelino T et al., “Clinical Targets for Continuous Glucose Monitoring Data Interpretation: Recommendations From the International Consensus on Time in Range,” Diabetes Care 2019;42(8):1593-603.

[6] Heikenfeld J, “Non-invasive Analyte Access and Sensing through Eccrine Sweat: Challenges and Outlook circa 2016,” Electroanalysis 2016;28(6):1242-49.

[7] Ishihara Y et al., “Factors affecting skin impedance measurement during menstrual cycle,” Skin Res Technol. 2005 Nov;11(4):247-52.

*Note: this site does not provide medical opinions or diagnosis and should not be relied upon instead of receiving medical attention from a licensed medical professional.

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