Trying to find the right birth control can be, what Harvard senior Julia Winn calls, a “hormonal lottery.” There’s the pill, the patch, the ring, implants — over 100 different kinds of drugs. What’s worse is that Winn has found that most doctors don’t really know the difference between them or the side effects they may cause. “You can’t really expect them too, though,” she says, which is why she’s tried to help with MyBetterFit.
After learning about a professor who was interested in mining blogs to see how people were explaining their reactions to different medicines, Winn thought, “Why don’t I just do this myself?” She had always been a fan of online forums. She had also been having side effects to different drugs, and to see what others were experiencing, she would visit forums to find out.
Winn said she switched to Mirena this past spring and noticed it was making her break out more. She was also erratically moody, yet when she went to visit her general practitioner, they claimed it couldn’t be the birth control. They thought the birth control should be having the opposite effect, and so it wasn’t until she visited her specialist that she discovered she needed to shy away from Merina.
Through MyBetterFit, she could share her story and help others avoid a similar problem. What Winn’s found is that there are more than 12 million women taking hormonal birth control in the United States alone, and at least one-third of those women will go through two or more methods of birth control, trying to find “the best fit.” While companies might list side effects on their labels, there’s no where listing how patients are reacting to those side effects.
Winn’s been mining through comments since November. Instead of generic advice, however, she said she’s been looking for more specific things, such as two drugs in the same sentence. Meaning, while someone might have gotten acne on Mirena, they may have had better luck using Nuva Ring, or whatever drug it may be.
Although Winn’s still in the process of developing more advanced features, MyBetterFit was a $1,000 winner for having the “best overall presentation” at this year’s H@cking Medicine competition. Massive Health’s Marketing and Business Developer Andrew Rosenthal sat on the panel of judges, calling MyBetterFit a concept everyone in the room could understand and rewarded it for its clarity and simplicity.
Considering some of the recent studies we’ve seen, MyBetterFit couldn’t have come at a better time. After all, Boston men are most likely to expect sex on the first date and the city is home to the fifth drunkest singles in the nation. So, time to start learning from each other’s mistakes, ladies. Find your better fit.
Photo Courtesy of Feminists for Choice