Menstrual blood tests may benefit women's health

On any given day, approximately 800 million individuals worldwide have their period. Surprisingly little is known about menstrual blood itself, given these quantities.

Doctor Sara Naseri intends to alter this with her healthcare startup Qvin. She believes that testing this monthly blood sample, which is largely disregarded, could yield ground-breaking new health insights.

Menstrual blood has not been the subject of extensive research, so proving this hypothesis will take time.

While still in medical school, Dr. Naseri was only able to locate one study on menstrual blood, a 2012 paper that described its composition and structure and identified 385 proteins unique to menstrual blood.

Menstrual effluent contains vaginal secretions, cervical mucus, and endometrial cells in addition to blood.

Endometrium is a membrane that borders the uterus and thickens each month in preparation for embryo implantation. This membrane is expelled from the vagina if pregnancy does not occur.

Dr. Naseri asserts that blood is the most frequently utilized physiological fluid for medical decision-making. She reasoned why this blood has not been used for medical purposes yet. 

The team at Qvin is conducting a wide variety of studies to determine whether there are meaningful correlations between menstrual blood and blood drawn from a vein or a finger prick.

Initial findings have been encouraging, but additional research is required.

If reliable correlations can be established, menstrual blood testing could become a viable method for monitoring and diagnosing a variety of common health conditions.

If the biological markers for cholesterol or blood sugar levels are discovered to be equivalent, for instance, menstrual blood tests could be used to monitor cardiovascular disease or diabetes monthly.

However, the true potential rests in the development of noninvasive methods for diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the female reproductive system.

A lack of research into female reproductive diseases has resulted in lengthy diagnosis times, a paucity of treatment options, and frequently excruciating and distressing diagnostic procedures.

In the United Kingdom, only 2.1% of medical research funding is allocated to reproductive conditions, despite the fact that 31% of women experience severe reproductive health issues. 

In addition to a paucity of research and precedent, testing menstrual blood requires navigating a great deal of resistance and social taboos.

Berlin-based venture Theblood had difficulty finding a lab collaborator willing to analyze menstrual blood samples as everything must be done from the very beginning. 

Professor and endometriosis researcher at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health on Long Island, New York, Dr. Christine Metz believes that the "yuck factor" is a significant factor in the dearth of period blood research.

Menstrual blood testing has never been a part of gynecological practice. Endometriosis is among the most prevalent gynecological disorders.

Extremely agonizing condition caused by the growth of uterine lining tissue on the outside of other organs in the pelvic cavity.

Approximately 10% of women and girls are affected. Surgery is the only means of confirming a diagnosis, which can take up to 12 years.

There are no effective therapies for endometriosis at present. Lena Dunham and Padma Lakshmi's and Lena Dunham's efforts to raise awareness have contributed to a gradual improvement.

However, pain is presently treated with hormones that can cause severe side effects, and even a hysterectomy does not guarantee the elimination of endometriosis lesions.