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Image / Editorial

Here Is Why You Need A ‘Smart’ Tampon


by Niamh ODonoghue
20th Jan 2017
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No, not the kind that talks back to you, but the kind that could potentially save your life.

When we think of wearable tech, Fitbits, smart watches, and other health devices come to mind. Menstruation and technology don’t seem like a natural fit, but researchers and engineers have designed an incredible?robotic tampon; taking “wearable?tech” to a whole new level. The piece of lady tech is the work of a team of researchers at Harvard University?and can’detect fertility, cervical cancer, and STIs.

Ridhi Tariyal and Stephen Gire – the brains behind the life-saving menstruation’device – were prompted to create the device in an infectious disease lab at Harvard after being stunned by the vast number of women’s health issues that go undetected. More often than not, by the time a woman presents symptoms, it can be too late.

“We had to come up with something that would allow women to find out about these conditions sooner than every year,” Tariyal says in a recent interview. “You can pick up a disease any time, and letting it sit there for a year until your next visit can have consequences downstream that you don’t want. The system has to change.”

Then Tariyal and?Gire had a lightbulb moment. They would create a tampon that could “double as a tool for collecting women’s blood”, and with the right technology it could even “test the blood for a range of biomarkers and send that information to a database that would allow a woman to track her reproductive health over time”.

Even though it’s still early days for the smart tampon the future does look promising, and the team are already working on a prototype and will have a final product in the next year or so.

We know the importance of “down-there-care” but we’re known to shy away from important gyno checkups. We’re all guilty of it: we cop out of going to the doctors because of expensive bills, we self-diagnose online, and we ignore the tell-tale signs our bodies give us when something is out of whack.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs from Sunday, January 22nd, to Saturday, January 28th. According to the national cervical screening programme Cervical Check, 300 women in Ireland are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 90 lives are lost annually.

As part of this year’s campaign, Cervical Check has launched the ‘Pearl of Wisdom‘ campaign to help highlight the’symptoms associated with cervical cancer.

Free tests are currently available here for women between the ages of 23 and 60.

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