Contribute to Clue and Oxford’s latest research
If you receive a monthly Cycle Review email from Clue, you might have noticed that six weeks ago we included a questionnaire about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). (The Cycle Review is a personalized overview of your past cycle data and upcoming events that goes out to Clue users who have an account.)
The questionnaire is part of a research study Clue is conducting with the University of Oxford, in effort to understand what happens to someone’s body and menstrual cycle after they contract a sexually transmitted infection.
We want to help people understand how STIs shape cycle length and the menstrual experience and we will share our findings to provide more STI insights and help people diagnose potential infections.
Our Oxford collaborator Dr. Alexandra Alvergne is working with Clue researchers Dr. Marija Vlajic Wheeler and Dr. Vedrana Hogqvist Tabor to find answers to the many questions we have about our bodies.
What are STIs?
Sexually transmitted infections are infections commonly spread by sexual intercourse, although they can also be transmitted by mutual masturbation, oral sex, anal sex and non-penetrative genital contact.The majority of STIs show mild or no symptoms, making it harder to detect and diagnose them.
- Each day more than 1M STIs are acquired worldwide
- Each year there are 357M new infections with chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis worldwide
- >500M people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- >290M women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
Can changes in someone’s menstrual cycle and/or premenstrual syndrome (PMS) be the first sign of a contracted disease? “In the medical world, researchers are starting to wonder if PMS could be caused by uterine inflammatory diseases.” -Dr. Alexandra Alvergne
It’s important to get an early diagnosis and treatment for you and any current and previous partners if you have or suspect that you have contracted an STI. This will help you stay healthy.
What happens in our bodies when we get infected?
Pathogens (bacteria and viruses and parasites) enter our bodies and start multiplying and in that process they damage our cells. As a response, our immune system gets activated and starts producing white blood cells and antibodies to fight the pathogens. When our immune system gets activated, it uses up a lot of energy for our bodies and it changes the metabolism of our cells. This reaction may vary during the different phases of the menstrual cycle.
How does our menstrual cycle change?
Someone’s menstrual cycle might change while they are infected with sexually transmitted pathogens. There are reports of higher incidence of PMS and sudden changes in cycle length that are correlated with STIs. There is currently a lack of extensive research in this area, which is how Clue can be used as a research tool to confirm or refute those claims.
How will your survey answers help?
We will analyze the data and publish the findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. No names or individual data will be mentioned.
By completing this survey, you’re directly helping put the data into action — and helping us bring the science and understanding of STIs and their impact on the menstrual cycle forward.