India is a land of approx 340 million of women at a menstrual age. Still, it is considered as a big Taboo in our society and people are not willing to talk about it. The reasons can be many from feeling shy to talk about it or cultural taboo & restriction or some sort of misogyny or what some of our so-called protector of religion and religious book taught us or one of the main reason can be our patriarchal and male-dominated society. With this one can easily say why only 35% of the total women out of 340 million i.e. just 120 million use the proper method of menstrual hygiene like using of Sanitary Napkins or Tampons or other reason can be financially problem or unaffordability of these important and necessary things. And what rest 65% of women use during there 3-7 days of the menstrual cycle: unhygienic Cotton clothes, some sort of dried grass or polythene that causes health hazards as well as they are unhygienic.
Medishala talked Dr Tripti Kiran one of the Top Gynecologist in Patna about Menstrual Hygiene and she introduced us a new innovative way to safeguard our environment and maintain women’s hygiene during menstrual cycle.
In this blog, we will see a new and innovative way and a step ahead in the field of not only in menstrual hygiene but also a way to safeguard our environment from the generation of a huge number of menstrual waste and i.e. MENSTRUAL CUP. This thing is not new but actually not widely used and available until a few years and decade back. As menstrual waste like used sanitary napkins and tampons great a huge amount of waste which is non-biodegradable.
What Is Menstruation And Menstrual Cycle Or periods??
This section is just for raising awareness among women and a brief guide to all the new ladies, entering into one of the beauties of nature menstrual age and also letting the people know it is no Taboo or things to feel shy about. Just like breathing, blinking, and peeing it is also a totally natural process. Just how we get concern when any of these processes of breathing or digestion get stopped and we begin to panic menstruation is just like that (in some case not having menstrual cycle can not be the reason of panic instead it is considered as good news or expecting a baby we will discuss that later in this section).
- The first period in a female usually begins at the age of 12-15 years and this time known as menarche.
- Menstruation usually stops between the age of 45 and 55 years and this time it is called menopause.
- The menstrual cycle is considered as a regular natural change that occurs in the female reproductive system specifically in uterus and ovaries that makes pregnancy in the female possible.
- This menstrual cycle results in the thickening of the lining of the uterus, and the growth of an egg takes place, which is required for pregnancy.
- The egg is released from an ovary in every fourteen days in the cycle the thickened lining of the uterus provides nutrients to an embryo after implantation.
- If pregnancy does not occur, because the egg doesn’t receive male sperm then the lining is released or discharged and this is what known as menstruation.
- It is called a healthy discharge when it is At ovulation. Discharge is typically clear, stretchy, and watery. After ovulation. Higher levels of progesterone cause discharge to appear white this can be thick and sticky Just before a period. The discharge may be white with a yellowish tinge Just after a period. There may be some brown discharge, made up of old blood leaving the vagina
- After every 21-35 days, the menstrual cycle comes back depending on a teen to adult women.
- Women use sanitary napkins & tampons to collect the discharge and fluid coming out of the vagina.
- One should change her pad every 4 hours as the flow stabilizes. However, this may or may not be sufficient at the start of your period when you bleed more heavily. At this time, you may have to change your pad every 2-3 hours. This is totally on the wish and own personal hygiene.
- During before and after periods a woman can go through various mood swings, behavioral swings, stomach cramps, pain in the joints and even headache.
What Is Menstrual Cup??
A menstrual cup is a small, bell-shaped cup that a person can insert into their vagina to collect menstrual blood during a period. They are made of medical-grade silicone, rubber, or plastic and are usually reusable. People simply empty the cup, wash it with soap and water, and insert use it again.
Women can wear a reusable cup for up to 6–12 hours depending on the requirement before it needs to be removed, washed and use again. Anyone with a heavier menstrual flow may need to empty their cup more frequently depending on their body requirement.
3 things that are highly required to use this menstrual cap are: a private place to use and empty it, clean water and a hygienic condition as this menstrual cup will be in direct contact from the sensitive part of the body so even little bit of unhygienic condition to using it can lead to infection and other things. So it is best advised to wash the hands well with soap and water before inserting or removing a menstrual cup.
How To Use This Menstrual Cup??
First and the most basic thing wash the hands well with soap and water before inserting. To insert menstrual cup fold the top of the cup and push it into the vagina, aiming it toward the lower back. Depending on personal choice and comfort some people find insertion easier when they are squatting. Others can prefer to be standing, sometimes with one foot raised, on the edge of the bathtub according to personal comfort. At first, might be Folding the cup correctly can seem complicated to many, but there are several simplified methods to try. Some of the more popular fold methods include:
- C-fold or U-fold: Pressing the sides of the menstrual cup together so that from the top it quite resembles like a long oval. Fold the cup in half, so it looks like the letters C or U.
- Punch-down fold: Putting a finger off yours on the top rim of the cup and push it into the center of the cup near around the base, forming a triangle.
- 7-fold: Press the sides of the cup together so that from the top it resembles a long oval. Fold one side down diagonally, so it looks like the number 7.
How To Remove The Menstrual Cup??
To remove the menstrual cup, a person can bear down slightly, as if they are something like a bowel movement. Some people find it helpful to use the vaginal muscles to push the cup farther down. Using the forefinger and thumb, reach into the vagina and grab the stem of the cup, gently pulling it down. Pinching the base of the cup brakes the suction of the cup from the vagina and it becomes easy to pull it out. Try to keep the cup upright to avoid spilling any blood-filled inside the cup. During the first time use the tension of spilling out blood will be there but with the time you’ll get used to it.
Take a break and relax for a few minutes if you are feeling anxious and tensed or even frustrated at first to remove it either go and watch few videos on youtube about the proper method to remove it and calmly remove it and don’t worry that menstrual cup of yours won’t get lost inside your vagina forever.
How To Wash Your Menstrual Cup??
This is the only reason why the menstrual cup is not more preferred over sanitary napkins and tampons as these cups are reusable and no tension of disposing of it like napkins will be there just wash the cup in a proper and hygienic manner and it is ready to use again.
Keeping a menstrual cup clean is very essential. Every time a person removes it, they should wash the cup properly with soap and water right away after the use. If one can boil the cup in water for 5–10 minutes between each menstrual cycle it would be great as sterilizing will kill maximum bacteria and germs from it. Keep the cup from touching the sides or bottom of the pan. As already mentioned a private space is required to clean, wash, and drain the blood out of these cups so, can be difficult to empty and clean a cup thoroughly in a public bathroom.
What Are Few Pros And Cons Of Using Menstrual Cup??
- Lower costs and less waste generation.
- Less embarrassing odor as compared to sanitary napkins.
- Vaginal pH remains normal and beneficial bacteria stay in place.
- Fewer visits to the pharmacy to ger a new piece of pads for every menstrual cycle.
- More time between changes.
- Intercourse is possible with the cup in place.
- Easy to use.
- More mess.
- The difficulty of insertion for some.
- Cup removal issues can be faced by many during first-time use.
- Maintenance like sterilizing washing and all.
How It is Boon For Menstrual waste Management??
According to stats provided by Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI) on an average more than 12.3 billion disposable sanitary napkins to take care of every year, the majority of which are not biodegradable and compostable. Disposing creates a different type of risk to the environment. where burning releases carcinogenic fumes in the form of dioxins and furans and throwing up in open is the home for many diseases.
In this 15% of the napkins are disposed of by burning, 25% are disposed by burying, and around 12% is disposed in the toilet and flushed down which ultimately leading to blockage of the toilets pipes. With only two cities in India – Bengaluru, and Pune those are implementing solid waste interventions to effectively segregate and identify menstrual waste during routine garbage collection.
It is estimated that over 1 billion non-compostable sanitary pads are making their way to urban sewerage systems, landfills, rural fields and water bodies in India every month and that is a serious rising concern.
Many girls and women lack access to those waste management options that exist due to their limited ability to negotiate for solutions because of a continued culture of silence associated with menstruation and so-called taboo. Lack of access to disposal options may lead girls and women using otherwise hygienic products in an unhygienic manner like using a pad for longer than it should be which leads to many health consequences.
So, maintaining personal hygiene is sole an individual choice, if it is done in a proper manner then it’s well and good but if not then it can lead to many health-related problems and even leads to some serious disease. with the use of the menstrual cup, not only women can get a better and more advanced way to deal with her body during the menstrual cycle but also they can contribute a lot in the marginalizing of waste management and that will be a huge contribution towards environment. Apart from this, you can book an online Appointment from top gynecologist listed on Medishsla present there just to help you out. So book an online appointment today.