Period- the word alone brings to mind a whole range of strange occurrences. The menstrual experience varies for each person, from ovaries that seem like they are fighting a battle to the death, to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome, physical and emotional changes that occur one or two weeks before the cycle begins). However, there is one similar thing and that is the environmental impact of that time of the month.
Most of us have been accustomed to the conventional ways of managing our period i.e, using tampons or pads. An average woman uses approximately 20 pads/tampons per month, equating to 240 per year which over the average lifespan of a menstruating female (approximately 40 years worth of periods) gives us the grand total of 9,600 feminine products used during one woman’s lifetime. When multiplied by the 3.5 billion women in this world, that’s a humongous amount of potentially avoidable waste. The surprising fact is that it actually takes up to 500 to 800 years for tampons and pads to break down in our landfills. Thankfully, in recent years, companies have been innovating eco - friendly and body- safe hygienic options for women and one of the best is a menstrual cup.
What exactly is a menstrual cup? A menstrual cup is a cup inserted and worn much like a tampon. However, the cup does not absorb fluid like a tampon, it collects it. The cup is generally made of medical grade silicone or rubber which can be easily folded for insertion into the vaginal canal. Once in position, the cup opens up and forms a seal around your vaginal walls and collects any menstrual fluid. It can be worn up to twelve hours so you only need to remove and re- insert the cup during your cycle twice a day depending on how light or heavy your flow is. When used and worn correctly, you will not even notice that you are wearing the cup and often even forget the fact you are on your period at all. Gone are the days of sanitary towel paranoia and risks of leaking.
A lot of women do worry that their periods are too heavy for a cup to handle. But, most cups can hold more fluid than an average high absorbency tampon. This means less trips to the bathroom, less leaks and less mess. This in turn also means more time to do the things you want to do - not to be dictated by your period. Another advantage of using a menstrual cup is that there is significantly lower risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) associated with menstrual cups. TSS occurs when naturally occurring and harmless bacteria in the vagina enter the bloodstream. This is a more common event when menstruating women insert a higher absorbing tampon than necessary and can cause fatal damage. Menstrual cups have been proven to be a much safer alternative and can be worn for 12 hours a day. And the best part about using a menstrual cup is that you can freely indulge in outdoor activities like hiking, clubbing and even swimming - no discomfort, irritation or mysterious sensations.
A lot of pharmacies in Nepal do sell these cups of joy. However, I urge you to go online, look for the best brand and size for yourself before investing in one of those. Organizations like Maria Stopes International and Putali Nepal are selling and also educating women about the healthy and sanitary menstrual cups. The cost of a menstrual cup starts from Rs 1500 and will save you a whole lot of money considering that menstrual cups do not have an expiration date. So, make sure you try one out yourself and experience the period revolution.