Ridhi Tariyal with her co-founder Stephen Gire
Ridhi Tariyal with her co-founder Stephen Gire

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Ridhi Tariyal, an Indian-American entrepreneur and co-founder of NextGen Jane, has invented a new smart tampon designed to detect diseases in women at an early stage.

The development came with the help of scientist Stephen Gire, whom Tariyal met during a visit to Harvard University. The two were inspired by the number of infectious diseases in women that go undetected, and they believed there to be a fundamental problem in the health world regarding testing in women.

“We had to come up with something that would allow women to find out about these conditions sooner than every year,” Tariyal said. “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. The system has to change.”

Together, the two have spent endless hours developing a new system of testing which will allow women to proactively keep track of their health by studying blood samples in the privacy of their homes.

“I was thinking about how to get a large enough volume of blood to do this,” Tariyal said. “Until I realized that we actually bleed quite a bit every month.”

After she had that thought, the initial idea was born — a tampon has the ability to double as a tool for collecting women’s blood. When applied with the proper technology, the tampon could even test the blood for a range of biomarkers and send that information to a database that would allow a woman to track her reproductive health over time.

In 2013 Tariyal and Gire launched NextGen Jane together, the early stages of their efforts to develop the tampon. They began gathering data and other information regarding what information women seek to know the most about when it comes to their bodies.

Since then, the two have been scouring the globe, gathering groups of women to discuss medical conditions they are worried about or have had.

Several details about the development of the device remain unknown, but Tariyal says that’s by design until research and development can be finished completely.

“We have to get to a place where we have working, high-quality tests for enough conditions that it actually makes it worthwhile for women to test themselves every month,” she said. “Our vision is to manage reproductive health from menarche to menopause. We’re thinking about all the ways that women could find data about their bodies useful.”