2022 Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge



Sprxng is a reusable menstrual product that includes therapy for menstrual pain. At Sprxng, we are dedicated to combating menstrual stigma and menstrual poverty

Team Lead

Phyllis Mugadza

Solution Overview

Solution Name


One-line solution summary.

Sprxng is a reusable menstrual product that includes a therapy for menstrual pain. At Sprxng, we are dedicated to combating menstrual stigma and menstrual poverty.

Elevator pitch

What is your solution?

Sprxng is a reusable menstrual disc that is made from medical grade silicon. Typically, a menstrual disc is 70mm in diameter. Sprxng, on the other hand, is 12mm in diameter at the point of insertion. We worked with origami artists to develop a pre-creased design for our disc which has enabled Sprxng to start off six-times smaller at the point of insertion. Collapsing the built-in applicator stem causes Sprxng to open from 12mm to its disc diameter of 70mm, and position itself in the vaginal fornix, guaranteeing an easy application. 

Unlike existing menstrual cups and discs, Sprxng has a drainage mechanism that allows the disc to be drained while it is inside the body. In addition to being the applicator, the stem also facilitates the drainage of the disc through a valve at the base of the stem.

Our team worked with Obstetrician Gynecologists at the Yale School of Medicine to develop a patent-pending therapy for menstrual pains. (Our team owns 100% of the intellectual property.) The therapeutic technology works by making use of negative pressures created by the device when a bulb is compressed at the base of the stem.

What specific problem are you trying to solve?

Disposable menstrual products generate more than 200,000 metric tons of waste annually. Reusable menstrual cups and discs are a sustainable alternative. However, people aren’t using these products today because they are intimidating and difficult to insert. There is an art to making sure they are placed correctly and the folding techniques involved are difficult for any user, especially menstruators with disabilities. Furthermore, users find it inconvenient to have to remove the device to empty it, rinse it, then reinsert it, especially when this is done in a public bathroom. Sprxng solves these problems through its pre-creased design, built-in applicator, and drainage mechanism. 

Menstrual pains are the leading cause of recurrent school and work absenteeism among women. Studies have shown that an alarmingly large number of girls miss school due to their periods. This led us to take Sprxng further by asking ourselves the question, “What if the menstrual product was the medication as well?” Sprxng will be the first menstrual product that includes a tested therapy for menstrual pains. 

Sprxng was designed to fit in the palm of your hand, making it a discreet and more culturally acceptable menstrual product. The pre-creased design gives the product and its case an aesthetic, floral, design. We tested and discovered that an aesthetically pleasing product could be an effective way of taking a stand against menstrual stigma.

Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Sprxng was carefully designed with underrepresented menstruators in mind. Existing products aren’t designed for people with disabilities and people in low-resource environments. Furthermore, existing products assume that all menstruators identify as women. 

Our device includes a built-in applicator to ensure that people with mobility impairments will be able to easily insert and remove the product. Furthermore, Sprxng requires one-fifth of the water required to clean a reusable cloth pad and one-third of the water needed to clean a menstrual cup or disc, making it a viable option for menstruators in humanitarian settings.

The Gates Foundation reported that for menstrual products to be effective in low-resource environments, it is of high importance that the product can be used without being detected. Other considerations include safety for women and girls. An effective product would, therefore, obviate the need to access public sanitation facilities at night. Sprxng solves these challenges by being discreet in nature, and by offering a long wearability of up to 12 hours. This means that Sprxng can be worn overnight. 

Participants in our focus groups described how impactful Sprxng would be for people who identify as LGBTQ. To quote one participant, “For a transitioning, transgender male there is a safety concern that comes with using a men’s restroom. You want to call as little attention to yourself as possible. The fact that you can drain [Sprxng] in the bathroom stall is a huge game changer.”

- University student, USA

What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?

To demonstrate the impact of including a mechanical therapy for menstrual pains in our device, we sent out a survey that received 525 responses. 92% of our survey respondents suffered from menstrual pain. From those that experienced menstrual pain, 60% reported having to miss school or work due to their pain and discomfort. Our findings were consistent with those from other research studies. Those who suffered from menstrual pain experienced barriers to accessing medication and other therapies for alleviating menstrual pain. Additionally, 55% of respondents preferred to not take drugs, birth control, or other chemical substances to alleviate menstrual pains.

We conducted focus groups with potential users throughout the development of our product. One of our participants, Dr. Lubna Pal, a professor and OBGYN at Yale University said, “In low-resource settings and in challenged ecosystems, products such as this will add value to the life of individual women and to the environment. Given the ease of its placement and removal, this product can be a life changer for women with disabilities, allowing autonomy and independence to its users.”

Our team worked with the Myna Mahila Foundation to ensure that we were developing a product that would be effective for menstruators in low-resource environments. The Myna Mahila Foundation distributes menstrual products to women living in slum communities in Mumbai, India. These women had very little access to running water and sanitary facilities. 

Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improving healthcare access and health outcomes; and reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities (Health)

Our solution's stage of development:

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?

We are currently completing the prototyping stage of Sprxng's development. To date, we have developed our final prototype through our focus groups, and we have filed our applications for our intellectual property. We are looking to do more testing before we enter the pilot stage.

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

New Haven, CT, USA

Team Lead:

Phyllis Mugadza

More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The core technology in our product is our novel therapy for menstrual pains. The therapeutic technology works by making use of negative pressures created by the device when a bulb is compressed at the base of the stem. 

Sprxng will be the first menstrual product that includes a tested therapy for menstrual pains. 

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States

How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.

We have not yet launched our solution. 

Our initial target customers will be menstruators in the United States and Canada because the majority of menstrual cup and menstrual disc users are in these countries. Currently, the global menstrual cup market stands at 1.3 Billion Dollars, with North America holding the major market share at 54%.

To date, we have 84 people signed up to use Sprxng during our pilot. These signups were through our website, following a pitch competition that we entered. 

After successful launch in the United States and Canada, and generation of revenue, we anticipate moving quickly into the developing world where we’ll have a discounted pricing structure.

What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?

Goal one: To reduce school and work absenteeism among menstruators. We plan to achieve this by delivering a product that meets the needs of menstruators globally.

Goal two: To reduce chronic pain conditions in women. We plan to achieve this by continuing to develop our pain therapy and expanding its application. There have been Obstetrician-Gynecologists from three universities who have expressed interest in potentially licensing the therapy we have developed for dysmenorrhea. Our therapy demonstrates promise in preventing chronic pain conditions in women such as endometriosis, in addition to alleviating pain from menstrual cramps.  

Goal three: To promote sustainable menstruation through the use of our product. We plan to achieve this by building meaningful partnerships that will enable us to widely distribute our product.

Goal four: To change the narrative around menstruation. We plan to achieve this by using gender inclusive language in our marketing materials and during our interactions with customers. With the mission of combating menstrual stigma and the idea of menstruation being a "taboo" topic, we plan to promote conversations around menstruation on our website and through our social media. 

How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?

We plan to measure the effectiveness of our product by collecting feedback throughout our pilot. We have developed three scales to measure the effectiveness of our product: A pain scale, an ease-of-insertion scale, and a convenience scale that covers the drainage of the device and its removal. These scales have been developed and used by our focus groups. 

We have developed progress charts to track our progress towards our goals during our pilot. The charts will track engagement on our social media platforms, as well as data from surveys submitted by those who participate in our pilot. 

What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?

Currently, our main barriers are funding and manufacturing. We are looking for funding to complete the testing stage of Sprxng's development before we can enter the pilot stage. Before we can enter the market, we have to complete our FDA registration which is another cost that we are seeking funding for. We are also looking for funding to cover the cost of low-volume manufacturing of our product for the pilot.

Outside of funding, our team is looking for technical expertise/mentors to advise us during the pilot stage.

About Your Team

How many people work on your solution team?

3 full-time staff, 4 part-time staff, 2 contractors.

How long have you been working on your solution?

1 year and 10 months

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Sprxng is a solution that was designed by engineers who menstruate! 

To reach this point in Sprxng’s development, we pulled together a team of mechanical engineers and medical professionals. Phyllis is a Mechanical Engineer who is also pursuing a Masters degree in Public Health. Anya has extensive research experience and has worked with a few nonprofits to distribute menstrual products to homeless shelters, incarcerated women, and teenagers in India. Nishah has worked with a nonprofit that aims to end menstrual poverty through the distribution of sanitary products. Nishah has run several campaigns on social media that have focused on Menstrual Hygiene Management.

Our advisors are Dr. Alyssa Siefert (PhD in Biomedical Engineering) and Christina Mainero (MBA, MPH). Alyssa Siefert is a Clinical Data Analyst at Foresite Capital and Christina Mainero is a Senior Managerial Consultant at Kaiser Permanente. Our faculty advisor is Dr. Valerie Flores. Dr. Flores is the assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Flores guided the team as we developed the therapy for menstrual pains. 

Our team qualifies us to reach the next milestone we have set for ourselves which is the testing of the device that will lead to our FDA certification. Following this testing stage, we will conduct our pilot. 

What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Sprxng currently has partnerships with the following organizations:

The Yale UX/UI society: through this partnership, we are developing and designing our marketing materials.

Yale Helix: Helix is a healthcare startup incubator and consultancy program. They have helped us on product development as well as on focus group and study participant recruitment. 

Wiggin and Dana LLP: Wiggin and Dana LLP is a full-service law firm. Through the Wiggin Opportunity Initiative, we have partnered with Wiggin and Dana to receive pro bono legal services. To date, they have helped us with our entity formation as well as our patent and trademark applications. 

Your Business Model & Resources

Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Girls Save the World Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.


If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Girls Save the World Prize to advance your solution?


Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Pozen Social Innovation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.


If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Pozen Social Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

Sprxng aims to improve the quality of life for women and girls around the world. Menstrual health directly affects progress towards nine out of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), therefore, the issues surrounding menstruation should be solved in their entirety. Menstrual pains are keeping women and girls away from school and work. Disposable products that constantly need to be changed take away productive time from a menstruator's day. Furthermore, menstrual stigma disempowers menstruators and has been shown to cause harmful, psychological effects. Menstruation has become a human rights issue.

Our team has dedicated the last year and ten months to develop a holistic solution to these challenges faced by menstruators. We have spent even more years experiencing these challenges ourselves, both through our own personal experiences with menstruation, and through working with communities in low-resource environments. Because of its drainage mechanism, Sprxng has demonstrated its effectiveness in environments where women don't have access to a toilet with a seat. Sprxng's built-in applicator gives autonomy to menstruators who have mobility impairments. Sprxng's pain therapy has been described as a game changer for menstruators globally.  

Our team will use The Pozen Social Innovation prize to cover our costs for testing and development, FDA registration, and manufacturing. By being awarded this prize, we hope to raise awareness about the realities of menstruation and to garner support for our solution.

I will end by pasting a section of an interview from an article published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“My periods are a nightmare,” Nyanjuma Galoth, 20, told UNFPA at a civilian protection camp in South Sudan. “They are very painful, and I can’t get any sanitary products.” It is a major source of stress, she said. “The days that I am lucky, I get a few sanitary pads from my friends, while other days, I end up using rags to absorb the blood flow.” It is like “a terrible sickness,” she said. 

We hope that you will support our team in ending this "terrible sickness."

Solution Team

  • Phyllis Mugadza Founder and CEO, Sprxng LLC
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