Background Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is the diagnostic and prognostic standard for clinical management of diabetes mellitus (DM). Unfortunately, patient adherence to guidelines for routine testing can be poor and there are significant gender-based disparities in DM management and outcomes. Recent evidence suggests that menstrual blood may be comparable to systemic blood for monitoring of common biomarkers. The objective of the present study was to assess the concordance of HbA1c levels between menstrual and systemic blood in healthy women and women with diabetes of reproductive age.
Methods In this prospective, observational cohort study, we enrolled healthy and diabetic (type 1 and type 2 DM) reproductive-age women (aged ≥18 and ≤45 years). Menstrual blood and venous systemic blood specimens were simultaneously obtained at time of menstruation, and analysed for HbA1c levels. Participants self-collected menstrual blood using a QPad, a novel, modified menstrual pad with an embedded dried blood spot strip.
Results Among 172 participants, 57.6% were healthy and 42.4% had a diagnosis of either type 1 or type 2 DM. There were no significant differences in mean HbA1c values in menstrual and systemic blood across the overall cohort or within the diabetic subgroup. Furthermore, HbA1c levels between blood sources were robustly correlated and demonstrated a significant linear relationship.
Conclusions There is a strong concordance in HbA1c levels between menstrual and systemic blood. Empowered by self-collection technologies, these findings suggest that menstrual blood may serve as a reliable, non-invasive and potentially cost-effective alternative to serum for HbA1c monitoring among reproductive-age women with DM.
- reproductive health
- general practice
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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SN and RCLB contributed equally.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests One of the authors has associations with a commercial entity that could be viewed as having an interest in the general area of the submitted manuscript (the time frame for disclosure in this section is the 36 months before submission of the manuscript).
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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