Newly designed menstrual products can self-diagnose yeast infections. Poor menstrual hygiene can cause many health issues such as fungal and bacterial infections. Every year nearly 60% of women are diagnosed with vaginal infections. Maintaining intimate hygiene make you fit and confident.
Women living in first-world countries are easily diagnosed with vaginal infections. If they suspect a yeast infection, they will probably get a vaginal swab and antifungal medicine. Whereas women in poor countries have less access to medical facilities, and these infections can create various burdens. On the other hand, society and social taboos will prevent them from telling their symptoms to other people.
Recently, a team of Indian Scientists developed tampons and sanitary pads that enable women to self-diagnose yeast infections. The team of researchers was led by Dr. Naresh Kumar from the Manipal Institute of Technology. The researchers started with store-bought multifilament cotton threads. A heptane solution, an organic compound, was used to remove the waxes and binders which were added during manufacturing.
The main aim of the researchers was to design the products in a simple way so that every woman from all walks of life can self-diagnose on their own. The concept behind this innovation is a simple chemical reaction.
The threads after cleaning were coated with a molecule called L-proline β-naphthylamide. This molecule binds with the enzyme produced by the infection causing Candida albicans yeast. The molecule-coated threads were embedded in specific spots within the inner layers of normal tampons and napkins.
A solution that imitates the C. Albicans and an indicator solution are added to the products, the threads were observed with bright pink color spots which is an indication of the presence of yeast.
The important features that make sanitary products unique are,
- One can diagnose on their own without the help of doctors.
- It can identify the presence of yeast within 10 minutes of exposure, whereas lab tests require 24 to 72 hours to produce results.
- This cost about 22 to 28 cents per napkin or tampon
The researchers said this method could also be adapted to simultaneously detect other bacteria that cause problems like urinary tract infections.
Tips To Prevent Yeast Infections
Nearly 75% of the women get one yeast infection during their lifetime. Follow these steps to prevent yeast infections.
- Wear breathable underwear
- Wear loose clothes
- Use unscented products and gentle cleansers
- Don’t douche (rinsing vagina with a liquid can kill the good bacteria that prevents infections)
- Avoid hot tubs
- Change wet clothes immediately
- Change your tampons, pads often
- Keep vagina clean and dry
- Maintain a proper diet, sleep, and exercise
- Reduce stress
If you’re experiencing a recurring vaginal yeast infection, it’s best to consult your gynecologist.