Have you resigned to the fact that stained panties and soaked tampons are part of your reality until menopause makes its entrance? What if I tell you that there are other options that just might save you from these messy situations? Read on to know more!
If this is your first time to hear about menstrual cups, you might think that these are new-age inventions. But did you know that it was first introduced way back in the 1930’s? Initially, it didn’t get a warm reception for religious and cultural reasons, but as we’ve seen today, its 80-year trajectory panned out differently.
Menstruation in a cup?
Menstrual cups are bell-shaped devices made from flexible material (silicone, latex or rubber) to be used inside the vagina to collect menstrual blood. It can be left in place for 4-12 hours before it is emptied, rinsed, and re-inserted. You’ve read that right; menstrual cups are reusable!
You can use a cup all throughout your period, but you must empty and clean it more often on heavy flow days to avoid leakage. This sounds familiar, right? But, compared to sanitary pads and tampons, which absorbs the blood, menstrual cups are set in place to collect it. The way it works may seem foreign to most women in Singapore, but those who have tried it vouch for its reliability.
However, some would say that there is a learning curve to using the cup. Not all women are comfortable during the first few tries of inserting it. But once you get the right size and fit, it can give you the comfort and confidence to move even on your red days. One study even concluded that a menstrual cup is a satisfactory alternative to tampons.
But, are menstrual cups safe?
The fact that cups are left inside the vagina for several hours raises concerns. Fortunately, with proper use and care, menstrual cups are safe to use. A 2017 study done on Kenyan schoolgirls indicated that there is no evidence that menstrual cups are hazardous.
However, menstrual cups are not advised for women who have an intrauterine device (IUD). The movement caused by the placement and removal of the cup may dislodge it. While there are studies which found no evidence of this risk, it is still important to discuss this with your OB-GYN so you can be properly advised.
Getting by with a little help?
More women today embraced the use of menstrual cups, with some even praising it for changing their lives. While it’s true that it can do the job, we’ve discussed that it’s not a perfect option. This is reflected in the contradicting feedback surrounding this device.
Some complain that, just like pads, it also has a chance for leakage probably due to an improper fit, particularly among those with a tilted cervix, or heavy flow. For days like these, sanitary pads may be needed for additional support.
But, did you know that women today are lucky that even concerns over having clean panties during these “leaky” situations are also covered? Enter Period Panties – probably what one would call a menstrual sidekick that prevents heavy flow from victimizing your favorite underwear!
Besides the promise of clean panties throughout your period with their layers of protection, period panties have the capacity to replace tampons, liners, and cups. It’s just like your usual underwear except that it can protect you from light, medium, to heavy flow – sometimes even absorbing up to 2 tampon’s worth of fluid.
These panties are designed with moisture-wicking, breathable cotton that draws wetness and dries fast. This means that you don’t get the discomfort you often feel with soaked pads. On top of that, they are also leak-resistant, so you brush off any worries over accidental stains. This should give you the license to wear white pants even in the middle of your period!
Furthermore, these period panties also come with odor-controlling technology that neutralizes smell, giving you 24-hour freshness.
For pragmatic women, period panties can be a budget-friendly addition to your feminine hygiene repertoire because these are washable, reusable, and easy to maintain (just remember to skip the bleach and fabric softener). Having to wash these panties is a preferable downgrade than sacrificing your sheets, towels, and other items of clothing like bloody casualties of war every time your period floats by.
Finally, put a period to embarrassing stains!
Let’s face it ladies, we are familiar with the struggle of pads slipping out of place, winged ones bunching up to the side, tampons filling up too fast, or your menstrual cup leaking over. Period panties gives you peace of mind because they are leak-proof to protect you from menstrual flows of different intensities.
As they become increasingly popular in Asia, women are now offered more options as different brands put their own spin on them. Some even went as far as creating a compartment where you can place a warm compress to help relieve period pains! Some also dial up the aesthetics so that these special garments still look chic and fashionable.
Why you might want to make that switch
Menstrual cups and period panties for menstrual management became popular subjects of discussion today because it fits well into our social awareness narrative. With the clamor for environmental consciousness, many are now seeking sustainable solutions.
Your feminine needs don’t have to harm the environment.
As reusable forms of menstrual support, menstrual cups and period panties allow you to minimise the waste you contribute to landfills every year, compared to using tampons or sanitary pads. These are also cost efficient because some of these cups can be safely used for years before replacements are needed. This means that you also save yourself from your monthly trips to the pharmacy.
So, would you like to make that switch today? For any concerns, always talk to your doctor first for proper medical advice.
Get down and dirty with some real talk to understand how you can maintain feminine hygiene and ensure safety with these options. For your questions, talk to Dr. Pamela Tan today at +65 6254 2878 (Thomson).
Dr Pamela Tan is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Singapore. She finished her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and earned her post-graduate degree at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. She is an accredited specialist by the Specialist Accreditation Board (Ministry of Health), and a fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. She subspecialises in colposcopy and is certified to perform Level 3 minimally invasive keyhole surgeries such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy and cystectomy. Dr Pam also supports the natural birthing method and she strives to provide a personalised care and treatment for each patient.