Menstrual cups are safe and equally effective as pads and tampons, a major scientific review has shown.
The report, published recently, was done by British researchers who looked at data on the cost-saving devices, extracted from 43 studies involving more than 3,300 women and girls globally.
The report findings showed that the caps are safe and able to provide roughly the same level of protection against leakage.
Further, the report highlights that the products are cost-effective and environmentally friendly compared to tampons and pads.
70 per cent of women surveyed said they were comfortable with continuing to use the cups, once they grew familiar with them.
“Even though 1.9 billion women globally are of menstruating age — spending on average 65 days a year dealing with menstrual blood flow — few good quality studies exist that compare sanitary products,” said senior review author Penelope Phillips-Howard of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
“We aimed to address this by summarising current knowledge about leakage, safety and acceptability of menstrual cups, comparing them to other products where possible,” she explained in a journal news release.
The authors further stated that menstrual cups seem to be an effective and safe alternative to other menstrual products.
The authors calculated the cost of a cup could be as little as 5 or 7 per cent of the monthly cost of disposable pads or tampons, respectively (assuming 12 pads or tampons were used per period).
Earlier, research done in Kenya showed that more than 1,039,000 school girls were missing classes at least 4 days in a month when they are in heir menstrual cycle. It is estimated that these vulnerable girls skip classes for 39 days in a year because of the same. This situation puts them in a disadvantaged position with their male counterparts.
In case the girls showed up in school while on their menstrual cycle, the report found out that they were using inappropriate and unhygienic materials that do not offer sufficient protection.
Most of the time, these girls are forced to use these unhygienic materials because they cannot afford to buy sanitary pads.
Menstrual cups could be a cheaper option which appeals more in low-income countries, where resources are often scarce for women.
The authors recommended that information on menstrual cups be provided in puberty education materials. “Policymakers and programs can consider this product as an option in menstrual health programs.”
The first modern menstrual cups were invented in 1937. The menstrual cup was made from latex rubber and made in a way that does not cause discomfort. It also allowed women to wear “thin, light, close-fitting clothing” without belts, pins or buckles that could show.
Despite the menstrual cups being there for a long time, they have not been widely embraced as the majority of women still prefer pads and tampons.
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