New Period Product Prevents Leaks by Turning Blood Into Gel

A new eco-friendly period product helps with absorbency, reduces leakage, and prevents infection by transforming blood into a gel-like consistency.

People with uteruses have been using the same period products for roughly a century, with few new developments made to help improve the health and quality of life of people who menstruate.

But a team of researchers at Virginia Tech is determined to change that.


The team, led by assistant professor of biological sciences Bryan Hsu, has invented an eco-friendly powder formula that can be added to existing menstrual products to improve their absorbency and minimize leakage while also reducing the risk of infection. The results of their findings were published in the Cell Press journal.

“Developing new products serves several purposes, including addressing women’s different needs and preferences, promoting sustainability, and addressing leakage and cost issues with current products,” said Carrie Champine, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who collaborated with the team, in a news release.

The powder is made from an alginate-glycerol formula. When added to a traditional menstrual pad, it transforms the accumulated blood into a gel-like substance, allowing it to absorb more blood than a traditional pad and reducing the chances of a leak.

The powder can also be added to a menstrual cup or disc to turn the blood into a gel, making it much easier to remove and clean without making a mess.

In addition to improving absorbency and reducing mess, the new product can also reduce the risk of infection. Its formula includes an antimicrobial polymer which impairs the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium associated with toxic shock syndrome.

While rare, toxic shock syndrome is a bacterial infection that can be caused by the use of period products, and it can be fatal. But tests conducted on the new formula suggest that the polymer was able to effectively inhibit bacteria without decreasing its blood absorption capability.

Plus, unlike many period products on the market, the alginate-glycerol powder is biodegradable and safe for use. It’s made from natural sources, seaweed, and sugar alcohol, and its ingredients are also found in food and approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

In comparison, most mainstream period products take over 500 years to biodegrade, and they've been found to contain harmful ingredients including arsenic and lead.


“Using biomaterials can expand the potential functionality of these menstrual products,” said postdoctoral associate Rogerio Bataglioli, who helped lead the project, in a news release. “Women face an array of challenges related to menstrual health, and we think using advanced functional materials can help us come up with innovative solutions.”


Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.