Period News You Should Know About

  • by Claire Corbin

Written by Claire Corbin

A lot has happened in the world of periods and menstruation in the last few months. Ever wonder why your tampons never seem to fully expand and absorb? Or what bananas could have to do with pads? Keep reading to get the answers to these questions + catch up on other period-related news you may have missed!

The Q-Pad Uses Menstrual Blood for Lab Tests 

What if the menstrual blood we lose and discard in the garbage each month could be used for health research? Well, now it can be! The FDA recently cleared the Q-Pad, the first menstrual pad used to collect and test blood samples created by biotech company, Qvin. Offering a less invasive, needle-free alternative to blood draws, it’s currently made for those with diabetes to track and monitor blood sugar. Each Q-Pad has a removable collection strip that users can send to a certified lab for testing and receive health insights via the Qvin app. The pad measures blood sugar levels over a period of three months.

This is a huge advancement in health technology with future potential to assess and diagnose other conditions that affect menstruators! Health research for people with uteruses has historically been underfunded. Women and other minorities weren’t legally required to be included in clinical trials until 1993. (PS… that was only 30 years ago!) The CEO and co-founder of Qvin, Dr. Sara Naseri, is on a mission to close this data gap using menstrual blood. “Period blood is the most overlooked opportunity in medical research. It's unacceptable,” said Dr. Naseri. 


Lack of Period Care in Gaza

Basic health products like menstrual products and toilet paper are virtually unavailable in Gaza amid the dire humanitarian crisis. And the few menstrual products that rarely make it on the shelves are almost six times their regular price. Israel’s complete siege has caused more than 85% of Gaza’s population to be internally displaced, resulting in little to no access to necessities.

Many menstruators have been forced to take period-delaying pills called norethisterone to stop their period. Norethisterone is usually prescribed to treat endometriosis or as a birth control and may cause side effects like nausea, but most don’t have an alternative. Some menstruators don’t have access to norethisterone or can’t take them due to other health reasons.

“We're suffering from being hungry, from being thirsty, from being bombed. We're suffering from being displaced…Now, we're suffering also because there's no pads. It's just a new suffering," said Bisan Owda, Palestinian journalist and filmmaker. 

The lack of period products in Gaza is another horrific layer added to Palestinian suffering. We need to continue speaking up and calling for an immediate ceasefire. Consider contacting your elected officials or donating to a relief fund. Sunny has donated to the International Planned Parenthood Federation to provide safe birth kits to pregnant Palestinian people and access to health facilities and essential health products. Visit for other ways to take action.

Pads Made out of Banana Fibers

Who knew that bananas could be a key step in making periods more sustainable and fighting period poverty? Kodu Technology, an entrepreneurial team in Ghana, is on a mission to “eradicate period poverty in rural communities through the use of affordable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly sanitary pads.” The team discovered that bananas and plantain fibers have a high absorption ability, and they’re currently innovating a product that involves turning banana fiber extractions into menstrual pads

Banana fibers are a large byproduct of the Ghana agricultural industry since it’s a major producer of bananas and plantains in West Africa. Turning them into pads could create a circular economy and decrease waste, according to Kodu Co-founder, Umar Farouk. Using a chemical and mechanical extraction process, the company aims to create a product that ensures high absorbency while remaining cost-effective. We love to see the world hopping on the sustainable period care train! 

Free Period Products in Schools

Menstruators in Minnesota and Colorado accomplished an AMAZING goal of requiring schools to provide free menstrual products in schools. Student advocates have been pushing lawmakers for years to address period poverty and they finally listened. The new legislation became law in Minnesota at the beginning of 2024 and requires schools to provide free period products in grades 4 through 12. In Colorado, the Free Menstrual Products to Students bill will provide students grades 6 to 12 access to free period products and will go into full effect in 2026.

“We cannot learn while we are leaking,” Elif Ozturk, a Hopkins High School student, said in front of legislators last year at a hearing in Minnesota. Almost a quarter of menstruating teens (23%) in the US struggled to afford period products in 2023. And a Thinx and PERIOD study found that 84% of students have missed class or know someone who has because they didn’t have access to period products.

Students shouldn’t have to face barriers or worry about jeopardizing their education because of their period. These new bills are a a huge step in decreasing period poverty and ensuring students don’t have miss class because of their period!

Are Your Period Products Lying to You?

Up until August of last year, period products weren’t tested with real blood (yeah… we know). Most pad and tampon companies were using saline solution to test the absorbency of their products. As you can imagine, saline solution and menstrual blood have completely different consistencies.

A study conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University used expired red blood cells to put period products to the test. Most of the products they tested underperformed compared to what they claimed to absorb on their packages. This may explain why your tampons never seem to expand all the way or you have leaks despite using a super absorbency.

“We don’t have that knowledge about the uterus that we do about all of the other organs… it’s absolutely shocking to me that we have an organ that’s literally designed to bleed and stop bleeding every month, and we really haven’t delved into exactly how that works,” said study co-author, Samuelson Bannow. Hopefully, this study will spark more research into the uterus, specifically menstrual care. 




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