By- Sowmya Gogineni
Newbie but a quick learner!

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Sowmya Gogineni

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Don’t ‘Whisper’, Stay free! - All About MENSTRUAL CUPS

Health

Don’t ‘Whisper’ Break free!

ALERT: This article is for all the women who are not aware of MENSTRUAL CUPS, who are on the fence and unable to decide, and for those who have misconceptions about them. You may feel gross at times, but I’ve tried to keep it as raw as possible so that you make a wise choice once you finish this read.

Menstruation remains something that must be shrouded and hushed. Globally, around half of the female population is in the menstruating age but talks about menstruation are always in euphemisms like ‘That time of the month’ ‘Aunt flo’ ‘crimson tide’ etc. Even the discussions on menstrual hygiene are always in ‘whispers’ (no pun intended).

Menstrual hygiene is of utmost importance because failing to do so can cause bacterial or fungal infections to the reproductive tract. According to BBC magazine, a whopping 70 % of Indian women suffer from reproductive part infections due to poor menstrual hygiene practices. Though it is advisable to use clean and proper sanitary products, most women do not use them because of lack of knowledge, misconceptions and mainly because they are unaffordable and non-reusable.

In such conditions, the most affordable, reusable, and eco-friendly option is Menstrual cups.

What are menstrual cups?

A menstrual cup is a small funnel-shaped cup made of silicone and is inserted into the vagina to collect the period fluid. Nowadays, most of the cups are made of medical-grade silicone because they are flexible and skin-friendly.       

Why aren’t they widely used?

In my opinion, they aren’t popular mainly because of the below-mentioned reasons.

  • Mainly because of the strategies used by the manufacturing companies to keep their business running. The feminine hygiene market is so huge that projections for the year 2025 are around $37 billion. The manufactures opted to publicize other sanitary products, especially tampons, to keep their business running because a woman uses around 5,000 to 15,000 menstrual pads or tampons on an average in her lifetime. 
  • Due to cultural restrictions, that the idea of touching one’s body part or bodily fluids is not recommended and approved by society.
  • Another reason is that the menstrual cup might ‘get lost’ in the body. It isn’t practically possible, and it pretty much stays in place for the whole time.

Though economical and eco-friendly, the menstrual cups had lost their prominence gradually. Lately, menstrual cups have increased in numbers in the recent past because of the awareness to reduce disposable sanitary waste.



Benefits of using a menstrual cup:

  • They almost have no side effects and are regarded as a safe option by medical professionals too.  
  • Cup is for everyone, irrespective of age and marital status. There are various sizes available in the market, i.e., S, M, L, XL, and it is easy to choose because of the guidelines provided by each brand.
  • They are the cheapest option available in the space of menstrual hygiene yet highly effective.
  • Are eco-friendly as there is no waste to dispose of. Each cup lasts for a minimum of five years and a few for as long as ten years.
  • They hold more bodily fluid than tampons. An average tampon can hold up to 5ml and whereas the cup capacity can be 18 ml to 40 ml depending on the brand and size you choose.
  • The cup needs to be emptied once in 6 to 8 hours, and all it needs for cleaning is clean water and soap.

Though menstrual cups are mostly a safe option, a few issues could be the deal-breaker.

  • Finding the right fit may be a challenge if you are unaware of the length of the cervix. However, your doctor can help you with that.
  • It may feel gross at times and face difficulty in insertion in the first few times.
  • A few studies say that it MAY damage the hymen, but few deny so. So if you are unmarried, and it is a cultural issue for you to have the hymen intact, please consult your gynecologist before using the menstrual cup.
  • In a few extreme cases, the side effects are TSS and allergic reaction. TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome),  a bacterial infection if the cup is of the wrong size. A few women may be allergic to the silicone material that may cause a reaction. In this case, consult your gynecologist immediately.
  • If the cup isn’t washed and sterilized properly after each cycle, it may lead to infections.

 I have been using a menstrual cup for six months now, and I can say that it is more advantageous when compared to the other menstrual products. It is almost hassle-free. At times it is as comfortable as not having a period at all. I can easily swim, run, and do intense exercises during my periods. So if you are on the fence, take the plunge.

Try the menstrual cup and experience a hassle-free period! You will thank me later for suggesting a menstrual cup.


HAVE A HAPPY PERIOD!










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