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Menstrual Products

There is a fundamental gap between what is needed and what comes under luxury. After discussing in our last blog that GST on sanitary napkins has been reduced from 14% to 0% (Finally!!)

Today we will discuss about menstrual products available in market. The women of India are often kept in the dark about the various options of menstrual products available. Sanitary Napkins being the most easily available product and topping the list of being a women’s favorite companion during her periods. There are numerous other products available as well, people are less aware of.

1) Tampons- A tampon is a feminine hygiene product designed to absorb the menstrual flow by insertion into the vagina during menstruation. Once inserted correctly a tampon is held in place by the vagina and expands as it soaks up menstrual blood. The greatest taboo related to tampons is that it cannot be used by girls who are virgin. Breaking through this superstition, let me tell (and assure you all) even a girl who has just started her periods can use a tampon without the risk of it breaking her hymen. There is no right age for starting to use tampons, it's an individual decision. However, for some girls who have a small vaginal opening, it may be difficult and uncomfortable to insert a tampon. For these girls, it's probably a good idea to wait until they've matured a bit more and the vaginal opening has stretched out. A girl also needs to be mature enough to feel comfortable inserting a tampon into the vagina. They also have to be responsible enough to make sure to change the tampon frequently as there is a higher risk of developing toxic shock syndrome if tampons are left in for long periods of time. Additionally, some young girls may "forget" that it's there, and be at risk for other types of infections. For many girls, the use of tampons early on makes them more comfortable continuing all of their regular activities (such as swimming) and less likely to see their periods as being something that restricts them. Thus for an active, responsible adolescent there is no reason she can't use tampons right away. Another frequently asked question which I came across while researching for this blog was “Can a Tampon be wore to sleep?” Well, this depends on the amount of flow a woman in experiencing at the time. If she has very heavy flow, a tampon may not be able to absorb all of her menstrual blood overnight.” It also depends on how long you're planning on snoozing.

2) The Diva Cup- The Diva Cup is a reusable (yes ladies, you read it right, its re-usable) silicone menstrual cup that collects your flow for up to 12 hours of leak-free protection. It's odor-free, and surprisingly comfortable and easy to use. When you're ready to remove the Diva Cup, pinch the base, pull it out, and wash well with hot water. (And it’s really that easy Girls!!). It's listed as the number one best-selling menstrual cup on Amazon, with over 3,500 glowing five-star user reviews, so you'll be in good company for that time of the month.

3) GladRags Day Pad- This 100% cotton pad has a winged envelope-style holder that snaps around your underwear with a removable insert to absorb your flow. This two-part system allows you to swap out the insert when you're ready, then toss the dirty one into the washing machine for easy cleaning. GladRags are more eco-friendly than disposable pads, and meant to last for five years, saving you money in the long haul. Just think about all the other stuff you could buy from that money.

4) Softcup Menustral Disc- The Softcup is a disposable menstrual disc that offers 12 hours of period protection. Though it's meant to be thrown away, it holds five tampons' worth of fluid, so you'll use fewer Softcups than you would pads or tampons, minimizing your carbon footprint. Also good news, you can actually have sex with one of these babies in for no-mess period-sex Bingo! The discs are hypoallergenic and made without BPA, phthalates, or latex. Also, Some Amazon reviewers have commented that while the Softcup discs are comfortable, they're messier to remove than a menstrual cup. So, if you don't like sticking your fingers up there or are squeamish about getting blood on your hands, you may want to consider the Diva Cup instead.

These were few others menstrual products which are available in market to make menstruation easier.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the lack of awareness has to do a lot with social and cultural issues. The fact that women talk about this subject in a shush tone or “whisper” about it (Yup, always found that ironical!) is the reason that they refrain themselves from experimenting or using any other products than a mainstream product like pads, or such product which they have been using since they first have their period and were told by their moms to use a particular product and they were told probably the same thing by their mums as well. The myths and myth creation around menstruation and a woman’s growing body is enormous and has to be chipped away slowly.

Thankfully, conversations around period-positivity are catching up and there’s zeal to explore alternative period management

The issue here is that we all might as well know that these products exist or that how they work yet, we refrain ourselves from using them. This can only be abated through more and better education about such products and menstruation in general. What needs to improve is the level of education. The educated urban woman is as clueless and period-shy as her rural counterpart.


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