The next generation of tampons might be...smart tampons. No, really. Ridhi Tariyal and Stephen Gire, the founders of the startup NextGen Jane (opens in new tab), are developing a new type of tampon that screens for STIs, cancers, and a number of other medical conditions. The tampons would provide a wealth of medical information every month based on blood and cells collected, so much so that it might be equivalent to getting blood drawn at a doctor's office.
"Women should have access to their health data to make smart life decisions," Tariyal said in an interview with (opens in new tab)Illumina (opens in new tab)."Most women don't have access to such resources. This helped shape the central premise of our philosophy."
Smart tampons could provide fertility information and help diagnose medical conditions that are often asymptomistc, such as cervical cancer and endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue from inside your uterus grows outside of it.
In fact, cervical cancer and endometriosis are major focus points for Tariyal and Gire because both conditions often go undiagnosed until late stages, and early diagnosis is essential for proper treatment. As The New York Times (opens in new tab) reports, the typical way to diagnose endometriosis is to undergo a laparoscopic surgery that many women put off for years. A tampon test solution, one that is minimally invasive and can be performed at home, would be revolutionary.
"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," Tariyal told Fast Company (opens in new tab). "We had to come up with something that would allow women to find out about these conditions sooner than every year."
NextGen Jane is currently in the clinical trial stage. Tariyal and Gire hope to have a prototype in the next year or so.
Dr. Dawn Harbatkin, the executive and medical director of Lyon-Martin Health Services, a medical clinic that specializes in care for women, lesbians and transgendered people in San Francisco, believes that patient education is an essential part of a smart tampon product.
"It's a really empowering way for people to feel in control and do self-collecting at home," Harbatkin told Bitch Media (opens in new tab). "But there needs to be an educational program that goes with it."
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook (opens in new tab) for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more
Maggie Maloney is the associate editor at Town & Country and ELLE Decor, where she covers style, beauty, jewelry, and the many members of the royal family. She also manages social media and content strategy for both brands.
Lizzo Embodies Disco-Ball Chic at the BET Awards
By Iris Goldsztajn
Lizzo, Sophie Turner and More Celebrities React to Roe v. Wade Being Overturned
It's been a difficult weekend.
By Iris Goldsztajn
Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen Dedicated 'F*** You' to the Justices Who Struck Down Roe v. Wade at Glastonbury
Rodrigo listed their names one by one.
By Iris Goldsztajn
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe