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Color-Changing Tampons and Pads Could Help You Detect Yeast Infections

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The central theses

  • Researchers from India are testing color-changing menstrual products to help women self-diagnose yeast infections.
  • The products are designed to help women in low-income and rural communities where there are barriers to treatment.
  • Experts say products that make menstrual blood and vaginal discharge easier to test could result in earlier and more accurate diagnosis of common health problems in women.

Vaginal yeast infections are common around the world. Three out of four women will experience the infection at least once. But in areas where women have limited access to health care and information about menstrual health, these infections can create disproportionate problems.

To address these issues, a team at the Manipal Institute of Technology in India is developing tampons and pads that can detect Candida albicans – a fungus that commonly causes vaginal yeast infections. The researchers published their results in ACS Omega magazine earlier this month.

“I was amazed to hear that women in rural communities still consider disclosing yeast infections to family members, even doctors, as taboo,” said lead study author Naresh Kumar Mani, PhD, assistant professor of biotechnology at the Manipal Institute of Technology of Sehr Well.

Mani’s research group is exploring ways to make economical tools – those that can be made cheaply – that can be incorporated into hygiene products. His team has developed a chemical solution that can be applied to threads and fibers. This solution causes products to change color when they interact with the fungus or other pathogens. The “smart” tampons and pads can be used to test for urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections.

Diagnosing and Treating Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are most commonly caused by the yeast Candida albicans. Symptoms include white curd-like vaginal discharge and a burning sensation in the vagina and vulva.

These infections can affect the quality of sex life and a woman’s physical and emotional health. In addition, fungal infections in immunocompromised people can spread faster throughout the body and lead to serious consequences.

“Candida albicans is usually considered a harmless pathogen,” says Mani. “People have no symptoms until the disease progresses into the late stages. And people are reluctant to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures. But for immunocompromised people it leads to a catastrophe. ”

Yeast infections can usually be treated with over-the-counter products. These are available in the form of vaginal inserts, tablets or creams with special applicators.

But in communities at high risk for these infections and low incomes, the authors say that testing laboratories are often absent or overloaded, and cost is usually a limiting factor when people make a diagnosis.

“This inequality is most pronounced in developing areas where the lack of substantial public relations work and existing social taboos lead to feelings of shame and guilt,” the study authors write. “The lack of reliable, fast and inexpensive instruments for discreet self-diagnosis of urinary tract infection is a significant problem that affects a large proportion of vulnerable people.”

Anna Villarreal, CEO and Founder of LifeStory Health, Inc., tells Verywell that this is a common problem throughout women’s health. While care may be more accessible in countries like the United States, there are still large discrepancies in the way vaginal infections and UTIs in women are studied and discussed.

“There is not enough information and communication about some of these diseases, so people could feel ashamed of very simple and common diseases,” says Villarreal.

What that means for you

Until these types of products are available, diagnosis of yeast infections is best done by a health care provider. Here you can learn more about the types of tests that are used to diagnose these infections.

How the menstrual products work

Cellulose-based materials such as thread and paper form the basis of the research team’s tampons and sanitary towels. Threads, like those from tampons, contain a lot of binders and hydrophobic substances that repel water.

However, to be useful, tampons and pads must be very absorbent. Therefore, manufacturers remove the hydrophobic substances through a process called mercerization. This makes the fibers in the sanitary towels and tampons more absorbent.

Many manufacturers use an acidic solution in this process. However, in order to accurately test the pH of vaginal discharge and other fluids that may interact with the special pads and tampons, the research team had to use a more neutral solution.

They opted for a heptane wash, which preserves the pH of the body fluid and allows the product to react when it detects an enzyme secreted by the fungus. The reaction causes the pillow or napkin to change color from white to pink.

In this first study, the researchers tested the hygiene products with simulated vaginal discharge and found that they were highly effective at detecting the presence of C. albicans in the samples.

Care of rural communities

The study shows that the hygiene products treated with this heptane wash can detect the presence of the C. albicans fungus within 10 minutes of contact. This is much faster than sample testing in a clinical setting, which can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. The products are also expected to have a long shelf life and high stability.

In settings such as rural India, where testing facilities and health clinics are widely dispersed and far from women’s homes, a clinical test can take days and hours to complete.

“That is not economically viable and burdens people financially,” says Mani. “This cannot replace conventional diagnostic procedures, but it can complement physicians as an instrument for localizing pain.”

Creating opportunities for women to self-diagnose can help them feel more comfortable, seek help, and could have important implications for those facing poorer infection outcomes.

“If we send this to primary health care or low-resource settings and run social awareness programs and educate them, it can potentially reduce a taboo among women and they can also use it as a home test kit,” Mani says.

The future of “intelligent” hygiene products

In the next stages of research, the team tries to make the tests more sensitive and conduct studies to consider other potential causes of yeast infections.

These hygiene products currently cost between 22 and 28 cents per item to manufacture. Mani hopes to lower the cost of the product through additional government funding and mass production. He expects to launch it in the next three to four years.

Aside from C. albicans, Mani says, colorimetric testing technology could be used to diagnose various infections and even detect antibody levels. Villarreal’s LifeStory company develops self-diagnostic tests that detect certain proteins and biomarkers such as hormones in menstrual blood. She says they are working on ways to detect diseases that are common in women, such as breast cancer, diabetes, and lung cancer.

She hopes researchers will focus more on understanding women’s health and preventing common diseases.

“The biggest challenge is that there is too little research and too little knowledge about diseases,” says Villarreal. “Women are often overlooked when going to the doctor and I think it just takes a long time to get diagnosed … At the end of the day, the hope is that people will work on solutions and that women will have access to them . “

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Women’s Health

Crews break ground on women’s health center at Providence St. Joseph campus – Orange County Register

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A four-story, 137,000 square meter health center for women and babies has laid the foundation stone on the campus of Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.

  • Officials break the ground for the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 150,000-square-foot facility provides access to health services, benefits and resources for Orange County’s residents. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Rendering of the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 137,000-square-foot facility provides access to health services, benefits and resources for Orange County residents. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Courtesy Providence St. Joseph Hospital)

  • Sister Judith Dugan bows her head as the Reverend Kevin Vann blesses the groundbreaking ceremony for the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 150,000-square-foot facility will provide Orange County’s residents with access to health services, benefits and resources. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Reverend Kevin Vann prepares to help officials break ground at the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. On Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 150,000-square-foot facility will provide access to health services, benefits and resources for Orange County’s residents. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Philanthropist Marsh Moeller speaks about her mother Helen Caloggero during a cornerstone ceremony for the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. On Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 137,000-square-foot facility will be Provide Orange County’s residents with access to health services, benefits and resources. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Officials break the ground for the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 150,000-square-foot facility provides access to health services, benefits and resources for Orange County’s residents. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Reverend Kevin Vann prepares to help officials break ground at the Helen Caloggero Women’s and Family Center at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. On Tuesday, September 21, 2021. The four-story, 150,000-square-foot facility will provide access to health services, benefits and resources for Orange County’s residents. It is currently scheduled to open in autumn 2023. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

The crews began work on the new facility on Tuesday, which will occupy a space on the corner of Main Street and Stewart Drive. Orange Mayor Mark Murphy, Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner and Bishop of Orange Rev. Kevin Vann showed their support for the new development at a ceremony on site.

The Helen Caloggero Women and Family Center – named after the mother of a major donor to the project – will streamline services to women and families, hospital officials said, bringing “mother-and-baby services currently available in nine different locations across the hospital.” one “. central location.”

The center offers a variety of women’s health resources, including pelvic health and rehabilitation services, exams for mothers and their babies, mental health services, and a pharmacy.

Part of the facility will also become a new natural birthing center “where women will receive the individual care midwives provide in a home setting,” according to a press release. Food, retail and office space are among other features of the future location.

“We are excited to offer our patients this wide range of services in a beautiful, new and convenient location as it will truly make it easier for them to access our world-class caregivers and the latest innovative technology in one place,” said Michelle Genova , Chief Nursing Officer at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, in the news release.

The center is scheduled to open in 2023. The St. Joseph Hospital Foundation is still raising $ 2.3 million for the new facility.

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Women’s Health

‘Bachelor In Paradise Couples’ Who End Up Together, Per A Matchmaker

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Lots of adorable couples have come and gone this season of Bachelor in Paradise – but which ones are staying here? From Reality Steve’s post-show spoilers to the fans’ incredible super detective skills, there are some popular theories.

But most of these guesses are missing a key factor: chemistry. After all, a couple is only as good as their food-related innuendos (if you look at you, Kenny and Mari).

Amber Kelleher-Andrews is the co-founder and CEO of Kelleher International, one of the largest matchmaking companies in the US, seemed doomed from the start.

Ready to Hear the Cold Hard Truth About Your Favorites? Amber spills it all below:

What’s so different about dating on TV?

“The hard thing about TV is that it’s all very inflated,” explains Amber WH. “The culture of this is that you shouldn’t care about anyone other than yourself and the person you want to be with.”

That would put a strain on everyone’s relationship – but Amber says it’s especially difficult for Paradise candidates because they juggle other factors that don’t come into play in real life. “Kindness is somehow swept under the rug,” she says. “And kindness is one of the most important things you look for in a relationship with someone.”

This applies to both men and women, she adds. “In terms of matchmaking, it’s a word that is used quite a lot: ‘You have to be kind.'”

This season, Amber says she “really felt for the cast” and the tricky dating situations they got into. But overall, she rates the candidates themselves as pretty good matchmakers. “They are banding together, but if I had a choice I would say, ‘Yeah, I would bring the two together. And I would definitely bring these two together,'” she said.

Maurissa Gunn and Riley Christian

Craig SjodinGetty Images

Amber’s judgment? Maurissa and Riley are a great pairing, but she’s not sure if they’re built to last. “I really thought he was so cute with Marissa,” she says. “It will break my heart to see what happens, but I really like her.

Her only red flag is Riley’s laid-back attitude. “I just feel like he’s a little more of a charmer,” says Amber. But guys like that “can turn into good guys,” she added. “I watched him like, ‘Is this his time? Will he be that guy? And he doesn’t have enough camera time to tell me. “So the jury has not yet decided on these two.

Brendan Morais and Pieper James

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

The couple fans love to hate actually have more staying power than you might think. “They seem totally in love with each other,” says Amber. “But the thing is, Brendan is not only assertive, but he’s also out of control of his own emotions. And so he could implode himself.”

“He doesn’t seem to really have his own feelings,” she adds. “Something is wrong with him.” Amber says her real tip was to see how Brendan acted around Natasha. “He couldn’t even be straight with her,” she explains. “I was like, ‘Wait a minute. You’re not even able to say the words you’re thinking.'”

And the future of Brendan and Pieper? “I think he looks cute with Pieper and they have chemistry,” decides Amber.

Joe Amabile and Serena Pitt

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

Let’s get one thing straight, “It’s really clear that he really, really, really likes his ex, Kendall,” says Amber. “And he’s not 100 percent honest, but that’s because he doesn’t really want to stick to Kendall.”

ICYMI, Joe, and Kendall originally split because he wanted her to move to Chicago with him, and she said no. (Fair enough.) But Amber thinks “if she had come” [on Paradise] and said, ‘Listen, I’m in love with you and I want to move to Chicago and give us a real chance,’ “then Joe would have left Serena sooner than Wells Adams can make a cocktail.

“His feelings are real for her, and he could fall in love with her again right in front of Serena,” says Amber. “I really don’t know what’s going to happen to them, I can’t tell – but he really likes them both.” Sounds like the producers focused on the wrong love triangle, if you ask me.

Kenny Braasch and Mari Pepin

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

Kenny and Mari win first place for Paradise’s cutest couple as far as Amber is concerned. Although Kenny got distracted by Demi Burnett in the first few episodes, Amber says, “He seems like a really nice guy and I think he’s probably really ready to settle down. Mari seems like a really suitable partner for him.”

Her age difference of 15 years doesn’t let her upset either: “She’s very grown up,” Amber adds. She thinks Mari is a great partner who shares her feelings with Kenny from the start. “I think there’s a chance these two might actually work,” Amber told WH.

Abigail Heringer and Noah Erb

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

“I love Abigail and Noah,” says Amber. But she really wants these two lovebirds to “have more sparks. They are something of a married couple”. Because of this lack of chemistry, she is “not sure what will happen to these two” (even if they are the butter of each other’s toast).

Becca Kufrin and Thomas Jacobs

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

At first glance, Amber says, Becca and Thomas are actually a pretty cute couple. “I think they make a lot of sense,” she explains. “I think that is Tammy [Ly] suited him strangely. “

Amber adds that Thomas and Becca go well together visually. “When I look at Thomas’ stature, his build, and then all of the women, you think, ‘Okay, it has to be Becca.’ It’s big, it’s statue-like, it’s the Bachelorette. So it makes sense. “

But in terms of relationship, this duo just isn’t built for the long haul. “She can do so much better,” says Amber. “In the end, is that really the guy you’re going to end up with?” So she won’t be surprised if the two split up: “If they get married, I still say it’s not a match until they split up and she says, ‘He cheated on me and he’s an idiot.’ And I would say, ‘There it is!’ “

Sounds like Bachelorette Katie Thurston was right when she warned the other Paradise ladies to stay away from Thomas on Us Weekly.

Tre Cooper and Tahzjuan Hawkins

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Craig SjodinGetty Images

Despite Tahzjuan’s previous affair with Tres uncle, these two actually seemed like a great couple. “It was cute,” says Amber of their brief relationship. “And he was one of my favorites.”

Amber was disappointed that Tahzjuan had dropped her association with Tre as soon as Riley arrived. She also believes the Paradise producers cut out some footage that would have made Tahzjuan’s decision more meaningful. “One night she just screamed on the beach and Tre was kind of outside. And I asked, ‘What actually happened?’ “Says Amber.

Aside from glitches and missed connections, Amber thinks Tre and Tahzjuan should try again. “The two of them should at least meet up when they get home,” she says. (Personally, I fully and completely agree!)

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Women’s Health

United Women’s Empowerment Hosts Town Halls to Hear Women Workers’ Concerns

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United Women’s Empowerment hosted a virtual city hall for working women in mid-Missouri on Tuesday. Hosting events both virtual and in person across the state this fall, the organization says its goal is to hear feedback from Missouri women and find solutions to the economic obstacles they face.

“It really is an opportunity for women to talk about the recovery from COVID-19 and the economic barriers and challenges women face in their families,” said Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of United WE.

The town halls are an initiative of United WE’s recently established Women’s Economic Development Task Force. Moderators asked survey questions and answered participants’ comments.

A major issue was access to the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP loan. According to the Missouri Department of Labor and the National Association of Women Business Owners, only 53 percent of women entrepreneurs had access to PPP loans, compared with 72 percent of women entrepreneurs in Missouri as a whole.

For women entrepreneurs of color, the number was even lower.

“Those who have a relationship with their banker have successfully secured PPP funding,” said Doyle. “But a lot of women don’t have a relationship with their banker, and that’s something that really caught on in town halls.”

The discussion also touched on mentoring, paid time off, access to health care, and an examination of the barriers for women applying for local office.

“Childcare is a huge pain point during COVID. In the best of times, it’s a huge pain point. ”

Kathy Wunderlich

The majority of attendees stated that internet quality and access were not a significant issue for them, but it should be noted that this town hall was held virtually – so those facing connectivity issues may not be able to attend.

However, both rural participants and some from lower-income neighborhoods pointed out that the cost of Internet access can be prohibitive despite the infrastructure in place.

Kathy Wunderlich is a Program Associate of the Hawthorn Foundation and attended City Hall.

“Childcare is a huge pain point during COVID,” said Wunderlich. “In the best of times, this is a huge pain point.”

Concerns about childcare ranged from fear, lack of socialization and educational delays, to expiring subsidies for day care centers.

41 percent of all Missouri counties have no approved childcare facilities. This emerges from a November 2020 report commissioned by thgat United WE from the Institute of Public Policy at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs on the economic status of women in Missouri.

United WE will host two more in-person events in October: 11:30 am on October 6th at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and 11:30 am on October 14th at Truman State University in Kirksville. Free childcare is offered in both.

The next virtual town hall meeting will take place on October 28th from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. You can register for these events at united-we.org/mo-town-halls.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the organization. United WE was founded in Kansas City and is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Her mission is to address systemic barriers women face through research and political advocacy.

To learn more about the organization, visit http://www.united-we.org/ or follow @UnitedWeEmpower.

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