Mumbai: With changing times, how something affects the world is decided by the narratives and policies framed around it. It is the same with intimate feminine hygiene – something which needs immediate attention.
The social stigma and hush-hush attitude surrounding it is being overtaken by growing health, environmental and economic costs – all of which are too much to ignore now.
The extant paradigms are changing and they have to: half of the world population is directly affected by it, while the other half indirectly. It’s time that we as a society too think of solutions which are sustainable and feasible.
Why? Poor awareness about sanitary hygiene significantly affects the safety, well-being and educational prospects of women. It influences how healthy the families they raise would be.
Lack of awareness and inaccessibility to basic amenities, particularly during menstruation, perpetuate shame and fear among girls, leading to mangled families and society – and then it forms a never ending loop.
It also ultimately risks excluding half of the potential workforce, thus negatively affecting the economy. All stakes in health, education, livelihoods along with hopes for a better tomorrow are compromised because of this one oversight.
Thankfully, the importance of feminine hygiene and the issues around it, both practical and social, seems to be gaining momentum. More significantly, the conversations around feminine hygiene are becoming radically different.
Making one-time-use sanitary pads accessible in rural and urban settings was a milestone the world dreamed of accomplishing. Now, however, with increasing awareness about the health and environmental implications of disposable pads, there is a clamour for change.
Menstrual cups: A safer, more hygienic and environment-friendly option
There are many factors behind menstrual cups now being considered the more feasible alternative to sanitary pads. To begin with, menstrual cups are created with scientifically-tested materials which have zero health risks.
Unlike pads that absorb menstrual fluid, menstrual cups collect the blood until full (which usually takes eight to nine hours). Also, with the cup on, the pH level of the vagina is nearest to its natural state than with a pad (which is chemically treated and bleached).
Skin diseases and fungal infections, so common with sanitary pads, can also be avoided; menstrual cups are inserted directly into the vagina and therefore eliminate the constant skin contact with the menstrual fluid – which in urban context means – freedom to swim, job, and work without any restrictions / fear. Each cup can last you for upto 10 years which also means monthly saving!
The fact they can also be conveniently washed and reinserted, further add to the ease of use of menstrual cups – particularly at a time where we are becoming aware of how pollution cuts across the environment and economics of human civilisation.
Waste disposal is a major issue today and the popularisation of one-time-use pads has rapidly accelerated the creation of waste and, in turn, environmental pollution. Menstrual cups, which can last up to 10 years, come as a highly-sustainable answer to this conundrum.
More comfortable and convenient
Unlike pads, menstrual cups enable women to undertake physically exerting activities such as sports and swimming without worrying about blood stains on clothes; there is a negligible risk of the fluid spilling out (since it is caught at the source).
Women can also adjust their cups to suit their own comfort by cutting the little projection at the bottom as short as possible, so that they do not feel it when going about their work.
Women can also leave their menstrual cups in way longer than either tampons or pads and do not need to take it out on every single visit to the loo; the only exception here, of course, is a bowel movement. One can usually spend up to nine hours without having to worry about it overflowing.
As a comfortable, non-toxic and reusable alternative to sanitary pads, menstrual cups present a highly-sustainable solution to this challenge too. By providing more freedom than either pads or tampons, these new-age sanitary hygiene solutions allow girls and women to lead regular lives – without restrictions.
*Disclaimer: This article has been contributed by Deep Bajaj, Founder of PeeBuddy and Sirona. The facts and figures appearing in this article do not reflect the views of Deccan Chronicle, and Deccan Chronicle does not assume any liability or responsibility for the same....