Tampons, sanitary napkins, or menstrual cups for women are all popular using items to deal with the hardest part of the month throughout their lives. For centuries women are using different items to save leakages and avoid any discomfort caused by blood flow every month. With passing time needs change and so do women’s requirements – now women need more protection for menstrual blood because it is a story of every woman every month and it is hard to restrain movements every time. Moreover, now people are more aware of hygiene and safety against different infections. You may be surprised to know that women suffer from various dangerous infections in many countries due to unhygienic products during their periods. In India, only 26% of women use sanitary pads or tampons, and the rest are prone to infections. Lack of menstrual hygiene is known as the fifth largest killer of women in the world.
Also read about Painful menstrual cycle
Why safe sanitation?
Safe sanitation is extensively essential for women during menstrual cycles as it can be a matter of life and death. Things are changing gradually, and there are lots of options available like sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups for women. Every product is useful and helpful to go through women’s most challenging week. Sanitary napkins are the oldest hygienic product that is commonly in use by modern women. On the other hand, menstrual cups are a new product which is getting popular very fast. It gets hard to decide which one is a better option than others. But do not worry here about menstrual cups and sanitary pads for women along with pros and cons to let you decide which one might be a better option for you.
Sanitary Napkins are the most significant women’ friend during menstrual every month! According to a study in America, more than 36 million women use sanitary napkins as their first choice for a menstrual period. Sanitary napkins for women are absorbent materials that stick to the inside of your underwear. Here are a few pros and cons of sanitary napkins.
- Pads or sanitary napkins are a much better option than tampons if you want to wake up with cleans sheets and clothes. Sanitary napkins save you from leakage and bloodspots.
- Sanitary napkins are easy to lace and give you a sense of cleanliness and hygiene.
- Many sanitary products help you pass the period odor-free. There is no doubt that they can control the flow effectively; besides, they resist odor which is the standard issue of millions of women.
- It is easy to use, and there is no hassle in it; you can pick it to wear it and go on with your daily stuff.
- Sanitary pads save you from many vaginal infections. There are almost no TSS changes, a common bacterial infection caused by a lack of menstrual hygiene.
- Pads or sanitary napkins sound familiar; so many women are comfortable using them. Also, tampons and menstrual cups need to be inserted, and most women are not satisfied with the idea.
- Pads come in variety so you can choose them according to your flow heavy or light. They also hold a better flow compared with a cloth and other materials.
- There are chances that you might get rashes and itching.
- Sanitary napkins are not an eco-friendly choice.
- You will feel discomfort while moving because they can get wrinkled up in the centre with lots of movement.
- Pads are visible in some types of clothes.
- Despite the variety, there are chances of leakages when you do not change the time to time.
- Wearing a napkin for long may cause some infections – so you may have quick washroom visit often.
Menstrual cups for women are getting more popularity these days. According to gynecologists, these cups are a more safe way to handle menstrual blood flow then tampons and sanitary napkins. Also, there are fewer chances of leakage and discomfort. There are many reasons menstrual cups are in talks for some time now. These are eco-friendly, safe and unlikely to leak.
Moreover, its inexpensive choice – menstrual cups can are reusable, and you can use a single cup for years. According to a scientific survey, around 70% of users of menstrual cups reported continuing its use throughout their life. In numerous economic and health magazine studies and medical journals, it has been elaborated that sanitary napkins are not affordable and not easily accessible than menstrual cups worldwide.
What is a menstrual cup?
Comparatively, a new and rare product many people do not know what menstrual cups is. Menstrual cups are a type of reusable feminine product use to control menstrual blood flow. It is small in size, flexible funnel shape of cups made with rubber or silicone often. You may need to insert it into your vagina to collect and catch the period fluid. Once it is full, you can remove it and use it again after washing it.
Menstrual cups can hold more blood than other methods, i.e. pads, and tampons. Besides being an eco-friendly alternative, you can wear a cup for up to 12 hours without any fear of leakage or getting an infection.
There are many reasons one should switch to menstrual cups, but one hurdle makes women think twice before using it, which is it is hard to insert it for the first time. To ease the issue here is a step by step guide for menstrual cups use:
Before purchasing cups:
The first step is to buy a menstrual cup! Menstrual Cups are available in different standard sizes according to your age and other aspects, so as a beginner, you may consider the following things:
- Your age; women under thirty should use small cups to get perfect safety and ease.
- Consider how your flow is; heavy or low – use the menstrual cup accordingly and change within 12 hrs.
- Consider the firmness and grip of your cup. Also, look out for cup capacity so you can get a better idea for how long you can use it.
- If you have given birth, vaginally consider the size accordingly.
- Smaller cups are for women under 30 or with C-section deliveries and larger for women more than 30 or the one who delivered babies vaginally.
Before putting in:
For the first time inserting menstrual cups can be difficult, and to avoid any inconvenience, you may grease the corners. By oiling it with water-based lubricant, the process will get easier and comfortable.
Steps to put in menstrual cups:
- Wash your hands properly
- Apply the lubricant to the rim for comfort.
- Now it is the time when you should be folding the menstrual cup – i.e. tightly fold the menstrual cup in half and hold it in one hand with the rim facing the vagina.
- Take up the right body posture to insert the cup with comfort.
- It is time to insert the cup with rim up into your vagina (if you have used tampons before it is almost the same as putting tampons in without an applicator). The menstrual cup will near your cervix a few inches below.
- Once the cup is in the vagina, rotate it. It will eventually open and create an airtight seal to stop any leaks.
Things to consider here:
- Do not worry that it will fall out because there is a built-in vacuum in the vagina and it will stay intact until you take it out yourself.
- You can jump, dance, do daily activities, and move like you want it will stay at one place always.
- Once you have inserted in, you will not feel any unease that you have something inside if it is placed correctly.
- If you still have any issues putting it correctly inside you ay consult your gynecologist.
How to take it out:
- It would be best to take it out every 12 hrs maximum whether your flow is heavy or slow. Here is how you can do it
- Wash your hands properly before proceeding.
- Place your finger (index) and thumb into your vagina. Pull the stem out gently when you reach to the base.
- Pinch to the base to release the seal and pull the menstrual cup down and remove it.
- Once it is out to empty the fluid into the toilet and washes it properly before second-time use.
- Disinfect and clean it properly.
Things to consider:
- Once it is empty, do not use again until it is disinfected and cleaned correctly.
- Do not forget to take it out at least twice a day.
Pros and cons of menstrual cups:
There are numerous reasons menstrual cups are getting trendy, but everything has its own share of positive aspects and drawbacks. Here are a few pros and cons of using menstrual cups:
- Menstrual cups are a far safer choice than tampons. They can absorb blood better, and you may not be prone to getting TSS (Toxic shock syndrome – it is rare bacterial infection women are prone to get it during menstrual cycles, and it is associated with tampon use. Menstrual cups are made of medical graded rubber, silicone or latex. It collects the blood instead of absorbing, which saves from many problems.
- You may not get any skin irritation, dryness, and rashes around your skin that you might get after using sanitary pads/napkins. Sanitary napkins can give you rashes and tampons come with artificial fragrances that can cause irritation and skin allergies. Menstrual cups are free from any of these effects.
- A menstrual cup can hold more blood than tampons and pads. A cup can hold about to ounces of flow; on the other hand, tampons can hold up to third of an ounce.
- When you are using tampons or sanitary pads, you may need to change it within a few hours to avoid any infection and leakages. On the other hand, a menstrual cup can stay intact for 12 hrs even so you perform daily activities with comfort. Also, these cups will make safe many washroom trips.
- Many women think that it may dislodge the IUD, but it does not clarify any doubts you can consult the doctor.
- Menstrual cups and tampons both go inside the vagina – but tampons absorb vaginal moisture, disturbing the pH balance and may cause infections and dryness. On the other hand, menstrual cups do not affect anything to keep you healthy inside.
- Do you get irritated with wetness feel at night and dirty sheets in morning? After using menstrual cups, you will not. Insert it and have a careless sleep you will wake up without any spots and discomfort.
- Menstrual cups are reusable, and if you take care of them properly, a cup can withstand for six months to ten years.
- Menstrual cups are reusable that makes them eco-friendly and helps to leave fewer carbon prints on earth. On the other hand, pads and tampons are not reusable, and pads material is plastic, increasing pollution.
Here are a few cons that you may have to face while using these cups:
- First of all, many women are not comfortable to insert a cup inside the vagina for so long. Secondly, it isn’t easy to insert it and take it out for the first few times. I mean, you may get comfortable after your first cycle, but most do not, and it can get harrowing.
- Inserting is one issue removing the menstrual cup can be messy, complicated and awkward. Sometimes you cannot pull it properly, and then you may not avoid spill during the process.
- You may find it challenging to find the right size and might need to try a few before going for one.
- There are chances of infection if you do not sanitize it correctly every time after use and if you do not put it properly.
Sanitary Napkins for women or menstrual cups both are right choices for your cycle. Most gynecologists recommend menstrual cups due to their non-ending benefits, and once you get comfortable with it you can avoid many of its drawbacks.