Reimagining period essentials

The materials used in fabrication of sanitary napkins are said to cause discomfort, itching, rashes and scratches which could possibly lead to sensitivity.
Reimagining period essentials

HYDERABAD: Are you picking the right menstrual product? Are your period supplies safe? Are they menstrual products or menstrual plastics? Is your pad period friendly?

Menstrual products, mainly the sanitary pads contain plastics and chemicals such as phthalates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), parabens, environmental phenols, fragrance chemicals, dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. “Plasticisers of concern include bisphenols, parabens and triclocarban (TCC). Parabens are antimicrobials that are used as preservatives in feminine care products, whereas TCC is an antibacterial agent,” according to a research paper published by the Toxics Link, an environmental NGO.

The materials used in fabrication of sanitary napkins are said to cause discomfort, itching, rashes and scratches which could possibly lead to sensitivity. Hypersensitivity and allergic reaction are seen in several women who use pads encompassing synthetic compounds. “They get frequent rashes during menstrual cycles.

Once, when they retain the pads for a longer time or even for a single time, they get allergic reactions, rashes, and all those,” says Dr Vasundara Cheepurupalli, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist, Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Cosmetic Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, KIMS Cuddles. She further mentions that a lot of patients complain about the skin rash, soreness and discomfort while using certain brands of sanitary napkins. Persistent rashes may eventually culminate in scars, which may in turn lead to hypersensitivity reactions.

About the systematic design of a sanitary pad, Dr Vasundara says, “Every menstrual pad has two types of materials. One is a cotton substance along with the gel which absorbs the fluid. And another is the superficial meshy layer. Sometimes this superficial meshy layer causes irritation.”

One simple replacement to avoid such problematic conditions can be the use of menstrual cups. Multiple women are switching to menstrual cups for a better experience. Nevertheless, this product too has its share of limitations. There are so many taboos associated with the use of menstrual cups.

Period panties and reusable pads have the shortcomings of lesser absorption. Tampons on the other hand, have possibilities of inducing toxic shock syndrome, dryness, allergic reactions and increased risk of yeast infections.

A research carried out by an environmental NGO, Toxics Link, mentions, “Most of the commercially available sanitary pads have plastic as the main constituent; at almost 90%.” The research paper also states that plastic in sanitary pads disturbs the balance of the vaginal microflora.

Whatever be the case, some safeguards can be ensured from the user’s end to keep away from unnecessary infections and allergies. Frequent changing, using pads with extra cotton material, considering menstrual cups that are made of safe silicon and most crucially, maintaining hygiene should be of utmost priority.

Staying informed and taking informed decisions is a pivotal element while choosing period care essentials. Each woman’s body is a unique build and what suits one, might not go well with the other. Experimenting and exploring the functionality and affordances of the market products helps figuring out what’s best for one’s self. Prevention is better than cure. Proactive measures and consistent precautions eliminate potential risks and make life trouble-free, comfortable and period friendly.

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The New Indian Express