Menstrual Blood Diagnostic Testing: Q&A With Dr. Sara Naseri

Menstrual Blood Diagnostic Testing: Q&A With Dr. Sara Naseri

March is Women’s History Month, and all month long, we’ve been recognizing and celebrating leaders in our community who are working to improve the lives of women, girls, and femmes, whether through advocacy, medical advancements, or grassroots organizing.

As a female-founded brand with a history of fighting for menstrual and gender-equity reform, we believe in paying it forward to spotlight those who inspire us to challenge the status quo and advocate for our well-being. We encourage you to do the same and celebrate alongside us this month.

Menstrual Pads That Monitor Your Health: Meet Dr. Sara Naseri, Co-Founder of Qvin

Daring to study what no other scientist or clinician had before, Dr. Sara Naseri co-founded and leads Qvin™ to harness the power of menstrual blood to advance women’s health. While publishing one of the first peer reviewed studies on the clinical relevance of menstrual blood, hitherto considered waste, in the Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Medicine in 2019, she developed Qvin’s pioneering Q-Pad™ for women globally.

Dr. Sara Naseri Founder Of Qvin
The Q-Pad’s noninvasive, convenient menstrual pad eliminates common barriers to laboratory testing, such as access, health screening adherence, time and cost, while providing critical health insights. Starting with the vision to make the Pap smear obsolete, the Q-Pad provides a global alternative to screen for HR-HPV earlier, which has been the leading cause of cervical cancer deaths and entirely preventable. Dr. Naseri has also scientifically proven women can get access to additional biomarkers on the Q-Pad such as thyroid health (TSH), average blood sugar level for diabetes and pre-diabetes management (HbA1c), inflammation (CRP), ovarian reserve (AMH), and other fertility and perimenopause hormones (FSH, LH).

Qvin’s novel, noninvasive, and convenient technology uses women’s monthly cycles to help them monitor their health earlier and between physician visits, in addition to providing HR-HPV screening access globally in cultures where women are remote with barriers to care in addition to the shame and stigma with menstruation that exists today. Qvin has a CLIA-Certified Lab in the U.S. and was recently FDA-cleared for its diagnostic menstrual pad, which has been authorized by the FDA in Thailand.

The Q-Pad: Diagnostic Benefits

The Q-Pad Kit is the first and only FDA-cleared diagnostic menstrual pad that scientifically collects menstrual blood that can be used to test for critical healthcare information – just like a traditional laboratory blood test.

The Q-Pad allows women to leverage their natural periods for regular insights about their bodies so that we can enable early detection and be truly preventative. Testing menstrual blood with the Q-Pad eliminates common barriers to traditional laboratory testing such as lack of access, anxiety, invasiveness, time, or financial means. Removing these barriers to care can lead to earlier, better, and more accurate diagnoses and management of our health.

  • You can use the Q-Pad anywhere; there’s no need to take a trip to a lab or undergo a finger prick or venous blood draw to obtain a sample.
  • The Q-Pad can be used seamlessly during menstruation. The Q-Pad is made with organic cotton and a removable collection strip.
  • The Q-Pad Kit is a tool to help empower women and help them advocate for themselves, going into doctor’s appointments more informed with routine, preventative health screening.

Qvin Q-Pad

Community Questions Answered

Earlier this month, we asked our community to sound off, and DM us questions to ask Dr. Sara Naseri. Below are 10 of the most common questions submitted.

Q: Is there a chance my blood sample could become damaged in transit? If so, what do I do?

A: As long as the Q-Strip sample storage container and shipping process is followed, your sample will survive Alaska winters and Arizona heat waves in transit to our lab. The robustness of the shipping process and the accuracy of the results after the shipping process have been rigorously tested and validated through FDA reviewed clinical trials and bench testing.

In the rare event of an unexpected issue, such as the postal service damaging the return shipping mailer or the sample storage container, rest assured that our laboratory will still evaluate your sample upon receipt. If necessary, we will promptly provide you with a replacement kit along with detailed information regarding the situation.

Q: Do you think you would be able to offer vaginal discharge diagnostic options as well for STIs down the road? Is something like that even safe?

A: We are confident in the potential of utilizing menstrual blood samples with the Q-Pad for the detection of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Our published research has demonstrated the feasibility of detecting an STI such as high-risk HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer, using the Q-Pad. Furthermore, our findings suggest that it may even offer superior accuracy compared to conventional Pap smear tests.

Building upon this research foundation and clinical trial process, we intend to employ a similar methodology to explore the detection of other STIs such as Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Q: What am I supposed to do once I have my results through the app?

A: The Qvin app has an easy interface to see all your results in one place and graphs your results over time. Depending on the results the Qvin app will report what the best next steps are.

If you have an abnormal result, you should speak with your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have a normal result, then keep doing what you are doing and consider ongoing, preventative testing.

Qvin is on a mission to keep women and all people who menstruate healthy over time, making preventive and existing health condition screening easy and routine using your period.

Q: Could this be used during my child's first year of menstruation for lab work? This is perfect for my child scared of needles!

A: Qvin is currently approved to be used for those 18 years and above. We expect to be able to expand this to populations that are younger and menstruating once studies on the younger population have been conducted.

Q: Do I have to wear the Qvin pad for my whole menstrual cycle?

A: You do not need to wear the pads for the entire duration of your period! Each kit comes with two menstrual pads that are typically worn for 2-4 hours each, depending on your flow. For the rest of your period you can use your typical feminine care products.

Q: I thought menstrual blood wasn't actual "blood" - how does it still work for blood testing?

A: Menstrual blood is composed of three distinct body fluids:

  1. Whole blood
  2. Vaginal fluid
  3. Cells and fluid of the endometrial lining and the cervix

It seems that in school we learn that menstrual blood is just endometrial lining accumulated in your uterus over your cycle that is flushed out during your period if an egg is not fertilized.

However, your menstrual blood does include capillary blood. The shedding of the endometrial lining involves the contraction of the uterus, which causes the small blood vessels within the endometrium, including capillaries, to rupture. This rupture allows blood to flow out of the uterus, resulting in menstrual bleeding.

Through our clinical trials, we demonstrated that it is in fact blood because we had to do the research of comparing venous blood (blood from your veins) to menstrual blood and correlated across the seven biomarkers initially tested.

Q: Is the Qvin pad bulky or uncomfortable to wear?

A: The Q-Pad is a thin organic cotton-based pad. The Q-Pad went through more than 1,000 design iterations to ensure compliance to a variety of factors, one of the most important being user comfort.

Q: Are there data privacy concerns I should worry about by doing diagnostic testing this way?

A: Good question! Data privacy is important. Qvin is committed to protecting your privacy and values your trust.

Qvin ensures your data is secure:

  • All data is encrypted.
  • All data is encrypted at rest. (Translation: when data is not being used by software, if someone stole data from servers they wouldn't be able to make any sense of the data.)
  • All data is de-identified (Translation: information that has been stripped of identifying data, such as name and contact information, so that an individual cannot reasonably be identified.).
  • Qvin has physical, administrative, and technical safeguards (for example, the app requires two-factor authentication), that are designed to protect the integrity and security of your information.
  • Qvin does not sell, trade, or otherwise share your personal information, and only shares your de-identified information with certain trusted service providers so that we can provide you with our services and operate our business.

See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Q: I'm also in a male-dominated industry and have to fight to make my voice heard. Any advice for how you persevered in this environment?

A: I feel you and understand that this is not an easy situation to be in. Initially I had to fight an uphill battle as well. Being a female founder building something exclusively for females in which the product involved was stigmatized, even within the medical community, the doors we had to open were very heavy - if you will. In my experience the conversation changed once we did the hard work and were able to show the science and data. As we published our research it became less about opinion and more about facts which helped the conversation to be more focused on how this technology can be helpful for patients rather than the fact I was a female working with a bodily fluid that was looked at as a waste product and perhaps even something “gross”. There is no one answer to your question since every situation and industry will be different but my advice is to keep claiming your space and pushing for your voice to be heard. You deserve a seat at the table and if you are willing to do the work - unfortunately sometimes more work than your male counterpart - you will get it - just don’t give up!

Q: Curious as to why pads work better than tampons for this purpose.

A: The Q-Pad was developed after testing a variety of menstrual products - tampons, menstrual cups, and pads. In the end, a pad was the right option because the accuracy was better and pads are universally used, non-invasive, and accessible.

Women around the world use menstrual pads, lowering the learning curve for using menstrual blood as a diagnostic sample. They are also non-invasive, making it a truly pain-free experience.

Also by using a menstrual pad we are able to use dried blood spot processes to decrease the amount of sample needed and increase the stability time of the menstrual blood sample. This allows for convenient and private collection at-home, standard shipping methods, and can be used for testing in places where access to medical care may be more limited.

Empowering Women. Period.

Thank you to Qvin and Dr. Sara Naseri for their work in pioneering diagnostic testing by utilizing menstrual blood. To learn more, please visit

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