Not so 'appy ....PCOS risk assessment apps.
Recent media articles have highlighted problems of potentially false positives and/or overdiagnosis of PCOS in women using some period trackers. That is not to say the app gives a diagnosis per say. Rather, they give a risk rating which prompts the user that its time to seek help in case they have PCOS. Who knows if they go on to seek professional help though? How do we know? Some users have reported unnecessary anxiety as a result of using such apps.
PCOS is a lifelong metabolic disorder and can have huge lifetime physical and
psychological implications for us and this should not be minimised nor underestimated by an algorithm. Digital health apps can be very useful tools if evidence based and if used correctly. However, PCOS is notoriously difficult to diagnose. More importantly, getting a diagnosis also involves ruling out other serious health conditions which may present with similar symptoms so it is extremely important to seek help from a qualified medical practitioner.
While a PCOS risk assessment tool may be regarded as helpful by some….the lack of evidence to support it being effective, safe or accurate makes me cautious. In the meantime, stick to real medical advice from real humans. All this highlights once again a need for more awareness of the condition and better healthcare for women with it. This void in PCOS care leaves room for misinformation and it’s unintended consequences. Stay safe. See your doctor. If that doesn’t work see another doctor…and another…and another… I know what its like!…but keep going back till you get answers.
© PCOS Vitality, 2019