News is out today from the Apple Women’s Health Study on periods, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and heart health. This study is done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Apple.
The researchers of this study aim to provide additional insight on menstrual health. Periods, among other factors, provide doctors information into overall health. Participants contributed details on their various demographics and lifestyles to help doctors learn their effects on periods.
The study is gaining groundbreaking data to help improve future health and reduce risk of disease. Survey participants used the Cycle Tracking feature within the Health app on iPhone and Apple Watch.
Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MD, MS, FACOG, Co-principal investigator on the study, states:
“Despite the association between PCOS and heart-related conditions, historically, research studies about heart health have not included information about menstrual cycles. More broadly speaking, menstrual health is also significantly under-represented in the research space. Our study is filling a research gap by diving deeper into understanding how periods and menstrual cycles can be a window into overall health. The level of research [done] by the Apple Women’s Health Study is important for having a better understanding of PCOS and its health impacts, including for people with PCOS and those that might have PCOS, but do not know.”
Over 4,000 participants live with PCOS
12% out of 37,000+ survey participants report a PCOS diagnosis. The research shows that tracking periods and symptoms may provide crucial information to your doctor to make diagnoses like PCOS. The data may show how to prevent some effects of PCOS and help make better changes toward overall health.
“There are ways for people with PCOS or a heart condition to manage their symptoms. Health care providers may recommend lifestyle changes to promote menstrual regularity and improve your heart health, including changing your exercise routine, eating more nutritious food, getting better sleep, staying hydrated, and taking care of your mental health. Research insights from our study may also help to reinforce the importance of prevention in reproductive care and in the treatment of PCOS. By increasing access to PCOS clinics and encouraging lifestyle interventions at the primary care level, health care providers will be able to provide better quality care to people with PCOS across the lifespan.”
Shruthi Mahalingaiah, MD, MS, FACOG, Assistant Professor of Environmental, Reproductive, and Women’s Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Cycle Tracking is available globally
There is a full video on how to track your cycle using the Health app on iPhone here. Cycle Tracking is also available on Apple Watch.
You can read the full study here.
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