In a years time, we will have a ‘smart’ tampon. It will be able to track and identify diseases and measure your fertility using biomarkers. This will revolutionise the way we look at women’s health and save lives of the many who usually never know there’s something wrong until it is too late.
So what’s the story?
It all started in 2014, when Ridhi Tariyal, an entrepreneur, and Stephen Gire, a scientist, met in the infectious diseases lab in Harvard University. The same year they started NextGen Jane. Their start up is called ‘The Quantified Vagina’.
They came up with this idea because women usually get checked once a year in the US and this shocked them because ‘You can pick up a disease at any time, letting it sit there for a year until your next visit can have consequences downstream that you don’t want.’ Ridhi told Fast Company.
Why will they help us?
For women these such diseases can often cause infertility or death but never show a single symptom until it is too late. For instance, 80% of female carriers of chlamydia don’t know they have it and don’t show any symptoms. The disease can cause infertility if it is not treated quickly, this why the smart tampon will empower women’s health.
58,400 women in the UK were newly diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012. Sadly, this too tends to be asymptomatic until it gets dangerously difficult to treat. Endometriosis is also a common disease which would be good to have control over, it is when your uterus lining grows outside of your uterus, this too can cause infertility. It is actually one of the top reasons women go to IVF clinics.
Ridhi also said ‘Our framework is that your reproductive health is now something you need to manage proactively. The time between getting your period and having children is much longer than ever before, which gives you many more opportunities to go wrong.’ She added that ’It could be the most intimate piece of wearable technology yet.’
Women’s health is now being brought to the forefront. Earlier this week, wereported on New York’s passage of ensuring free sanitary products to public schools, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
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