For the first time ever, a study published in the BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health compared absorption levels of menstrual products, including tampons, pads, cups and menstrual discs, using human blood.
This was the first time red blood cells were used in such a study.
The big fact: Till now, the use of saline or water has been done to assess how absorbent these products are. This is very different from actual menstrual blood.
The study notes that menstrual blood is much thicker than water and contains mucus, endometrial tissues and other secretions.
"No study exists comparing the capacity of currently available menstrual hygiene products using blood. Utilizing actual menstrual blood to test the collection capacity of menstrual hygiene products would be challenging, but blood products are a closer approximation than water or saline."BMJ Study
Why does this matter? Heavy menstrual blood loss affects almost one third of those who menstruate. It has a negative impact on the quality of life.
In order to assess any underlying health concern, the measure of the blood loss is important. The capacity of the products are not standardised yet, making it difficult to measure the loss.
To measure the capacity will help the doctors assess better if they need to look out for any kind of health concern, and identify individuals who would benefit from further evaluation.
What was done? In order to evaluate the capacity of the products, the researchers used packed red blood cells – which is the blood that remains after the plasma and platelets have been removed.
A total of twenty-one menstrual products were used which included pads by two different brands which claimed different absorbency, pads for post-natal bleeding, tampons, menstrual cups of different sizes, three pairs of period pants and four different brands of menstrual discs with different sizes.
(With inputs from The Guardian)