Women can now use tampons that test for STIs – from comfort of your own home

Women can now test to see if they have an STI with a special 'diagnostic' tampon – that needs to be kept in the freezer overnight.

If you feel like something is not quite right down below and don't want to do the dreaded visit to the GP or sexual health clinic, then fear not no more. Gynaecological health brand Daye have repurposed the trusty tampon to act as a screening for STIs – including chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Although important to get checked out on a regular basis, having a speculum or swab twizzled about in your vagina can feel invasive and uncomfortable. But, the British start-up is changing the STI testing landscape as the special tampon can be used in the comfort of your own home.

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Daye's STI diagnostic tampon is used just like a bog-standard version of the sanitary product, so you just need to insert it – and wear anywhere from 20 minutes up to eight hours. But, unlike the usual tampon, it's not advised to use the Daye's diagnostic product when you are menstruating.

Then, you'll have to stick it in the pouch in the kit and whack it in your freezer overnight so you can place it in the same box it was delivered in and post it to the lab in the morning.

The tampon collects more vaginal fluid than a swab and reaches a larger surface area, which hopefully produces a more accurate result. After 5-15 days you'll get the test result back online, and if positive, it's advised to seek medical advice and get treatment for the STI as soon as possible.

The Daye STI Screening Kit costs £99 and tests for:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Mycoplasma Genitalium
  • Mycoplasma hominis
  • Ureaplasma

For £129, you can get the STI Screening Kit and Microbiome Screening which is able to detect:

  • BV pathogens
  • Candida (Thrush)
  • Lactobacilli

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The screening uses PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) which has 'revolutionised' STI screening and diagnosis. As PCRs are so specific, it reduces the amount of false-positive results – therefore it provides a more reliable diagnosis, while it is able to detect multiple pathogens in a single sample at the same time.

Dr Michelle Tempest, lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics at Cambridge Medical School and former NHS hospital doctor, said: "Daye’s STI Diagnostic Tampon is redefining STI testing by allowing women to take control of their sexual health in a non-invasive way in the comfort of their own homes.

"The company's innovative use of a tampon for screening is supported by various studies that show that tampons are capable of collecting an equivalent or superior sample to a swab.

"While Ureaplasma and Mycoplasma can be part of the normal flora, in high amounts, they can be linked to reproductive difficulties, as well as recurrent vaginal infections, which are often misdiagnosed as thrush or BV[Bacterial Vaginosis] . Daye uses advanced PCR technology, which doesn't just detect if these pathogens are present, but instead identifies if they are present in high or low quantities, which can be very useful for preventive care and managing potential risks."

The launch of the tampon comes after clinical trials with 600 patients.

To learn more about STIs, you can access the official NHS website, here.

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