Why Indian Women Should Switch To Menstrual Cups And Discard Sanitary Pads; All About Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are an environment-friendly and reasonably priced solution to sanitary napkins and tampons.
Menstrual cups can be reusable and eco-friendly
- Menstrual cups are reusable and eco-friendly
- Menstrual cups are reasonably priced than sanitary pads and tampons
- Menstrual cups are a boon for developing countries
Gone are the times of spending hundreds of rupees in buying those expensive sanitary napkins, which are neither too comfortable, nor too environment-friendly. The modern-day solution to have a hassle-free period is menstrual cups. Made up of medical grade silicon, a menstrual cup is worn inside the vagina during menstruation. Depending on the women's flow, the cup needs to be removed and cleaned for hygienic purposes. While the concept of menstrual cups continues to be fairly new in India, gynecologists have continued to encourage their use instead of cloth, sanitary pads and tampons.
How to use
A menstrual cup is first folded in a c-shape, and then inserted into the vagina. It unfolds automatically after insertion and creates a light seal against vagina walls. At times, one might need to twist the cup to ensure that it is fully open inside the vagina.
Also read: Debunking Popular Myths About Menstruation
Dr Ragini Agrawal feels that menstrual cups are wonderful. She says, "They can be reused and sterilised, and they come at a much reasonable cost than sanitary napkins. Given the increasing levels of damage to the environment, replacing sanitary pads with menstrual cups is the need of the hour."
She goes on to mention how sanitary napkins have components of plastic and chemicals which prone women to risks of cancer and infections. However, the lack of education and awareness in the country are the primary reasons why women are not convincingly using menstrual cups.
"Many organizations are now working towards sensitization about menstrual cups. They are making people aware about the huge cost difference between them and sanitary napkins and tampons," she adds.
Also read: This is Why Your Breasts Hurt Before Your Periods
Agrees Dr Anjila Aneja, who also feels that menstrual cups prevent risk of infections. "Menstrual cups do not absorb blood like tampons or sanitary pads. This makes menstrual cups more hygienic and prevents chances of infections. They can be used for 4-5 years and are hence quite convenient," she says while adding that "Indian women will be better off using menstrual cups as compared to sanitary napkins and tampons"
“There are so many cultural taboos and blocks in Indian women’s minds that making them aware of something like menstrual cups becomes difficult. Menstrual cups can be used by girls of any age group. Younger girls, who are not sexually active, might need smaller-sized cups,” says Dr Anjali who feels that menstrual cups are a long-term solution to many concerns related to menstrual hygiene and well-being.
One of the biggest advantages of using menstrual cups over tampons is no risks of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome - a rare bacterial and deadly disease which one is likely to get for using the same tampon for a long period of time.
A boon for developing countries
For a developing country like India, the use of menstrual cups is highly suggested as many women in the rural parts of the country do not have access to sanitary napkins. Women and girls refrain themselves from social gatherings while on their menstrual cycle. They fear leakages and inadequate sanitation facilities. Menstrual cups can surely work wonders for these women!
Also read: Dear Parent, Here's How You Can Talk To Your Children About Periods
Do's and don'ts
While there are many hygiene and financial benefits of using menstrual cups, one must ensure proper sterilization of the cups and complete avoidance of usage of the same cup by multiple people. Dr Ragini suggests that one menstrual cup must only be used by one individual ad should be sterilized with hot water.
(Dr Anjila Aneja is the Director and Head at Fortis La Femme in New Delhi)
(Dr Ragini Agrawal is Senior Gynaecologist and Head, W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon)
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