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Garmin's fitness watches are getting period-tracking via an update

Users can now track their menstrual cycle, log symptoms, and more.
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Garmin has added a feature for tracking menstrual cycles to its line of connected wearables and smartwatches. Women can now track their menstrual cycle and log symptoms through the Garmin Connect app. They can opt-in to receive reminders for periods and fertility windows on their Garmin smartwatches or wearables. With its new period tracker, Garmin joins other major fitness tracking apps such as Fitbit and Apple Health in giving their female users an option to track their reproductive health.

Garmin's period tracking feature was developed by an all-female team, from engineers to marketing. "In this way, we could ensure we were authentically addressing a women's actual wants and needs," said Susan Lyman, Garmin's vice president of global consumer marketing in a press release.

Technology has a dubious track record in addressing women's "actual wants and needs" when it comes to their bodies. Fitness trackers have been late to the game in adopting features specifically designed for women's health. While separate apps aimed at women's menstrual cycles are almost as old as smartphones, they vary highly in quality and ease of use. Women who sought a comprehensive picture of their health all in one place -- from their menstrual cycle, sleep and calories burned -- didn't have that many options until recently. Following complaints, Apple announced it would be adding a period tracking feature in 2015; an entire year after it debuted their HealthKit. Fitbit only launched a period tracking feature back in July, and its features are pretty lacking.

One notable perk of Garmin's period tracker is that it will allow women to customize their cycles based on whether they're regular, irregular or nearing menopause. Period apps are easily thrown off by irregular or short periods, but hopefully Garmin's new period tracking feature will better accommodate this.

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