2023 Reproductive Health Trends You Should Know About
It's no secret that in recent years, much of the nation's discussion about reproductive healthcare has centered around major legal and political debates. In the background, however, the medical field has continued its quiet march toward more options and better care for all reproductive health and well-being stages.
Read on for #TRN's look at the emerging reproductive health trends shaping perceptions and access in the U.S. today.
Increased Interest in Long-Acting Contraception
One of the most noticeable trends in the U.S. has been the spike in interest related to vasectomies, IUD placements, and other long-acting contraceptive options to replace the hassle of daily pill intake or single-use options. The increased demand is so significant that it's burdening the medical community to increase training and staffing.
As the public continues to learn about the relatively low-risk and increasing options for long-acting contraception, the growth in demand is predicted to continue. The uptick in vasectomies, in particular, also reflects a shift in perceptions as men take on a more proactive role in contraception and family planning.
IUD Development & Reproductive Health
So far, of the five brands of IUDs that the FDA has approved, only one is a non-hormonal, copper option. But as medical researchers have noted the demand for long-term, non-hormonal IUD options, they've prioritized moving more low-dose or non-hormonal IUDs through clinical trials with the goal of FDA approval. Within the next five years, women are expected to see more options for IUDs that last eight years or longer without affecting their hormone cycles.
New Options for Customized Contraceptive Care
If a bad experience with traditional birth control steered you away or it's been a few years since you've used it, it may be worth returning for another look. For instance, much of the stigma surrounding birth control pills has covered the practice of one-size-fits-all care or a lack of options and support for hormonally sensitive women.
With more (and improved) non-hormonal options entering the market and more physicians acknowledging the need for tailored and precision care, women are finding solutions that are less likely to disrupt their lifestyles or subject them to unwanted side effects.
Even more traditional birth controls allow more room for flexibility and error than in previous eras. While regular, well-timed dosage regimens are still medically recommended, progesterone pills leave more room for error with up to a 24-hour missed-pill window.
More Support for Post-Reproductive Life Stages
When we think of reproductive health, our society tends to focus solely on women's years of fertility. But women's health is much bigger than that, and medical and social interest groups are working overtime to bring attention to this fact.
While menopause receives relatively little societal attention, women who have gone through it may report up to 48 different symptoms, experience significant adverse impacts on their work and personal lives, and face an increased risk for conditions like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, or dementia.
In recent years, the FemTech (female technology) industry has been working to combat this under-researched, under-supported life stage by spearheading therapies and solutions that can improve women's lives. From digital symptom trackers and specially formulated fabrics to cool and control body temperature to enhanced mental health support, science is working overtime to meet the needs of the 1.2 billion women worldwide who will be menopausal or post-menopausal by 2030.