Time to switch to menstrual cup

Chennai: There are many menstruation products like tampons, pads, cups used by women.Menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation.

Unlike tampons or pads, cups collect menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. Menstrual cups can be cleaned easily and reused. The product can last for 4-5 years and is environment-friendly.

“Menstrual cups are fine to be used. Nowadays, it is being used an alternative to the tampon and pads. There is mental block for women in using cups since it has to be inserted into vagina. Because of this, it is not becoming popular in our country. There is also a perception that hygiene may be low, but it may cause less infection than tampons,” said Jayashree Gajaraj, gynecologist, Fortis Malar Hospital.

“The reasons why in India it has still not taken root could be availability, or the cost may be little more than other available methods. It is used only by a small percentage of women,” she added.

When asked about the pros and cons of using menstrual cups, she said there are no major disadvantages. When you compare it to other methods like tampons, menstrual cups are better. “We cannot compare cups with sanitary napkins in our country because there are still women using cloth. The comparison should be more between people who are using tampons and cups.”

“Every girl goes through tough time at the starting stage of her periods. If the painful cramps were not enough, the ordeal of secretly changing the sanitary napkins and disposing them has to be dealt with. ‘Why us,’ ‘Why only girls?’ These are the questions that run in the minds of every adolescent girl. I literally went through hell during my school days. Staining my uniform during school hours later at my work place was my biggest fear. Just when I thought enough is enough, I came to know about menstrual cup through a friend of mine who posted about it on Facebook. I didn’t hesitate even a minute and started using it. My attitude towards periods changed in a minute,” said Ramya, an office-goer.

“The advantages of using menstrual cup are more compared to the minuses. There is no need to hide the napkins any more. The uneasiness and the wet feel while using napkins is a thing of the past. Fear of staining clothes is no more. Long-distance travel is not an issue anymore during periods as there is no need to keep changing often like in the case of sanitary napkins or tampons. Periods is synonymous with foul odour. Well, not anymore. Menstrual cups are a boon to us. I hope many women get to know about this and convert to it like I did,” she added.

“A lot of people have this misconception that only married women should use these cups. But that is not true, as you get these in different sizes according to your age group. Our uterus differs from time to time so, there is no harm in unmarried women or teenagers using these. You can also wear any of your pretty saree / dress during these 5 days without an issue,” said Ramya.

Saranya, a college student, shared her experience on using menstrual cup: “There are a lot of myths when it comes to using menstrual cups. I was reluctant to use it in the beginning. But considering the sanitary waste that a woman generates during her lifetime, it is time we moved towards sustainability by adopting alternatives like menstrual cups and cloth pads. It is just not about the garbage, but during the course of time, one will also get to know about the reproductive system which many girls are shy to discuss. Though I have not completed a cycle with the cup, I am trying my best to swap the disposable pads with cups soon.”