The uniqueness of menstrual flow is astonishing and is often not given the importance it deserves.

Many believe that menstruation is just blood. However, the reality is much more complex: menstrual flow differs noticeably from the blood that flows in our arteries and veins. Furthermore, it could be a valuable source for scientific research in the future. But what exactly does menstrual flow contain?

Menstrual flow is made up of:

  • Endometrial cells that have finished their cycle, preparing the uterus each month in anticipation of a possible fertilized egg.
  • Fluids coming from the vagina or cervix.
  • Microorganisms belonging to the vaginal microbiome.
  • A special type of 'menstrual blood' with a different composition than regular blood: it has a lower concentration, which means that hemoglobin, platelets and iron are diluted in a higher proportion of water. However, its pH remains similar, around 7.2.

Because of these components, menstrual flow is thicker than normal blood: cervical secretions can give it a texture similar to egg white, and fragments of the endometrium can form small clots.

It is a natural process, and the color and texture of menstrual flow can vary from day to day and even between different cycles.

The healing potential of menstrual blood is revealed.

Although much information is still missing about menstrual blood and it has often been seen as waste, some researchers are beginning to take a closer look at it. This is due to a discovery made in 2007: menstrual blood contains mesenchymal stem cells (1), as do the umbilical cord, placenta, bone marrow and fatty tissue.

However, the advantage is that it is more abundant and easier to obtain non-invasively. This makes it an accessible alternative source for science and medicine. Furthermore, menstrual blood stem cells proliferate at an impressive rate and their collection does not involve ethical dilemmas. How many of us would be willing to donate our menstrual blood if it could benefit others?

These menstrual blood stem cells are called MenSC (MENstrual Stem Cells).

They have a surprising ability: they have the potential to transform into various types of cells, including those of the heart, blood vessels, neurons, liver, lungs, pancreas, reproductive system, among others. Its ability to "immunologically modulate" certain inflammatory diseases, such as some tumors, is also being investigated. Although these investigations are in the initial stages, teams of specialists from around the world are working on it.

In 2019, a group compiled various areas in which the use of MenSC is being investigated and has already shown encouraging findings (2). What you will discover will surprise you!

  • In relation to liver fibrosis (a liver condition where transplantation is currently the most effective treatment), MenSCs could contribute to liver regeneration and treat liver failure.
  • In the context of type 1 diabetes,
  • compared to strokes, where they have the potential to reduce neuronal damage and perhaps recover neurological function.
  • In relation to Duchenne myopathy (a fatal degenerative muscle disease), MenSCs could rejuvenate muscles and possibly convert dystrophic cells into anti-atrophic ones.
  • in the treatment of Critical Ischemia of extremities (vascular disease with poor circulation and lack of oxygen, which can lead to amputations).
  • in cases of Ovarian Cancer, where MenSCs could cure ovarian damage, optimize ovarian function and promote ovarian regeneration, even presenting anti-tumor capabilities.
  • for myocardial infarctions, with regenerative potential for compromised cardiac function.
  • against Asherman syndrome (uterine adhesions that can cause infertility, irregular or absent menstruation, and spontaneous abortions).
  • In the field of Alzheimer's disease, MenSCs could enhance learning and memory abilities.
  • for acute lung injuries, acting in the recovery of lung tissue and defending against cell apoptosis.
  • in dermal lesions, accelerating healing and helping in skin regeneration.
  • in the context of endometriosis (3), with the capacity for early identification and treatment.

Surprising, right? And this is just the beginning! We are eager to see more research, as it is very possible that menstrual blood still has many mysteries to reveal.

So, the next time someone tells you that menstrual blood is impure, remind them that that same blood could one day be the life-saving solution...

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