Empowering Indian Women: Embracing Menstrual Cups for Health and Sustainability

Indian women already face challenges with job and home responsibilities; added to that, cramps and hormonal changes make life miserable for them during menstruation. The impact of a lack of sanitary supplies becomes a task. Given the notion that menstruation is taboo, many women find it difficult to speak openly about their views or experiences on menstrual hygiene, frequently viewing it as a delicate topic. The majority of Indian women also lack access to basic menstrual supplies, so they are forced to make do with whatever is available. To make things simpler, menstrual cups can be useful, but the fear of discomfort, lack of familiarity, and cultural taboos make some women hesitant to use them. The lack of menstrual hygiene leads to an Increased risk of vaginal and urinary tract infections, conditions like toxic shock syndrome, reproductive health issues, and limited participation in daily activities, education, and work due to discomfort and embarrassment.

A study was conducted at a tertiary care facility in eastern India by Cureus Journals. Women of 18-50 years of age, educated until secondary level, were included in the study, to be conducted over three months. Satisfaction with the menstrual cup was quantitatively assessed. Side effects, the quantity of blood flow and frequency of cleaning the menstrual cup, and how many participants will continue to use it were also asked. After the third menstrual cycle, 68.9% of participants stated that they would continue their menstrual cup usage. The mean total satisfaction score improved from 5.4 (first cycle) to 12.6 (third cycle). The majority (67%) had no side effects, 10% had irritation and leakage, and 13% had an unpleasant odor. The study shows that menstrual cups are a better alternative. Adaptability increases gradually through proper counseling, peer support, and practice.

Overall, the study suggests that menstrual cups are a promising and preferable alternative for women, emphasizing the need for education and support to enhance their acceptance and effective use.

According to the Menstrual Hygiene Alliance of India (MHAI), 336 million girls and women of reproductive age in India use about 1 billion sanitary napkins per month or 12.3 billion sanitary napkins annually. Menstrual cups are reusable products that are composed of medical-grade silicone, rubber, and latex. They are an environmentally beneficial and sustainable substitute for disposable pads and tampons. Unlike disposable sanitary products like pads and tampons, menstrual cups are reusable and can last for several years. This reduces the amount of single-use menstrual waste, including plastic wrappers and used products, that ends up in landfills or incinerators. By choosing menstrual cups, individuals not only save money but also contribute to a more environmentally responsible and waste-conscious approach to menstrual hygiene management. It is an eco-friendly and the most cost-effective alternative to disposable tampons and pads, which is the best alternative for a highly populated land like India.

In conclusion, the case for Indian women to switch to menstrual cups is compelling. The environmental benefits, as demonstrated by the staggering statistics on disposable sanitary product waste, are undeniable. By making the transition to menstrual cups, women can significantly reduce their ecological footprint while also saving money in the long run. Furthermore, the health advantages, including the reduced risk of infections and discomfort, cannot be overlooked. Menstrual cups empower women to take charge of their menstrual health in a sustainable and cost-effective way. With proper education and support, this shift can contribute to a more eco-conscious and healthier future for Indian women, making it a choice that is not just practical but also empowering. It's time to make the change and embrace a more sustainable and comfortable way to manage menstruation.