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A menstrual pad that doubles as a diagnostic tool, Q-Pad makes for easy at-home blood testing

Having a blood sample drawn can be unpleasant, a hassle and downright terrifying for those who fear needles. Meanwhile, everyone who menstruates collects blood every month. California-based startup Qvin is tapping into that natural process with Q-Pad, a menstrual pad that functions as a medical testing device and has just been cleared by the FDA.

Q-Pad is an organic cotton pad holding a removable strip. Once enough blood has been collected in the pad, the user takes out the strip and sends it to a certified laboratory for clinical testing. Results are provided through Qvin's app. The current FDA clearance is for an A1c test kit that measures a person's average blood sugar over three months — a key health indicator for pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Other tests are in the works: Dr. Paul Blumenthal, Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University, says: "For instance, women seeking to understand their fertility status can soon monitor various reproductive hormones via menstrual blood using the Q-Pad. In addition, published research indicates that the Q-Pad could be a convenient, user-friendly, and efficient way of screening for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) as part of global cervical cancer prevention efforts."

Early-access priced at USD 39, Q-Pad is available for preordering now, with shipping to follow early 2024.

Trend Bite

Instead of viewing menstrual blood as waste material, Qvin is reframing it as an opportunity to provide a user-friendly testing option that seamlessly integrates into people's regular routines. Consumers gravitate towards products and services that streamline their lives and reduce complexity. The rise of telehealth is fostering a need for easy and accessible at-home testing, and both services eliminate the need for time-consuming medical appointments.

But this isn't just about convenience. By latching onto a regular biological process, Qvin is unlocking a periodic source of personal health data that dovetails into a broader shift from reactive to proactive health management. For existing brands and innovative newcomers, that shift presents a fertile ground for developing complementary products catering to an increasingly health-conscious and data-savvy consumer base. Think tailored insights, integration with fitness and wellness apps or even AI-driven health predictions and recommendations, all feeding into an ecosystem of personalized health management.

Related: Lowering barriers to treatment, Daye introduces a tampon that tests for STIs

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Angie Meltsner