Vulvovaginal yeast infections are very common in women of all ages. In the US alone, vaginal infections are among the top reasons why women want to see a doctor and this number is increasing every year. Although these infections are caused by microorganisms but precautionary measures can significantly lower their risk. Many times it is hard to see an infection developing and by the time a woman notices it, the infection has already spread everywhere.
The vaginal yeast growths cause painful, burning, and itchy infections that are most common in women living under huge financial burdens and limited access to healthcare facilities.
The new study published in the journal ACS Omega says that using a new technique of color-changing threads in sanitary products can help to diagnose the infection as early as possible. These color-changing threads can be used to make these sanitary napkins, that change color and turn bright pink if there is a presence of C. Albicans. This simple technique will help women self-check themselves for the vulvovaginal infections caused by yeast strains.
Based on national stat reports, almost 75% of all women have to suffer a yeast infection caused by candida strain at least once in their entire life. This risk is lower in women living in urban areas where they have direct and easy access to a doctor’s office or healthcare setup.
Diagnosing any vulvovaginal infection is easy using a vaginal swab. Once it is diagnosed its treatment can be started right away using over-the-counter antifungal cream. Still, many women are far away from getting this basic treatment as they lack access to healthcare facilities or they are unaware of this infection.
The resources limited areas where talking about such diseases is taboo, women are likely to embarrass themselves by discussing their symptoms with anyone. This social stigma can stop them from talking to a doctor, which is why menstrual hygiene and information about the products are as necessary as providing medications.
The new study focuses on replacing the multifilament threads obtained from cotton that are usually used to make sanitary napkins and tampons. The research team tried removing all binders as well as waxes from the threads and coating them with a chemical named L-proline β-naphthylamide (PRO). Any exposure to the vaginal fluid having yeast particles inside can change the color of these threads, turning them bright pink. This process will take less than 10 minutes, making it easier for a woman to evaluate herself.
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This time is much more less than convenient testing for vulvovaginal yeast infection that takes between 24 hours to 72 hours to show the results. Additionally, these special sanitary napkins will only cost between 22 to 28 cents per pad or tampon, which is much affordable than paying for the test. Besides, there is no requirement to go anywhere to know if you have a yeast infection or not.
if the napkin changes color, it is time to consult a doctor and get treatment for it. Many times it only needs a topical ointment and takes a couple of weeks to completely heal. In severe cases, consulting a doctor is mandatory and relying on OTC medication is not enough.