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Use of menstrual cups slowly picks up in the city
The World Menstrual Hygiene Day was observed on Tuesday. Started by German NGO 'WASH United' in 2014, the day is commemorated to spread awareness of the importance of menstrual hygiene worldwide and break taboos encompassing menstruation.
In recent years, the use of sanitary napkins was discouraged by doctors and environmental activists for its harmful effects on the body and environment.
Menstrual cups and cloth pads are highly prescribed menstrual hygiene products, which are also sustainable.
Many urban women are now switching to menstrual cups and cloth pads. A few NGOs in the city are also working towards promoting the use of these sustainable products.
MITU (Multiple Initiatives Towards Women) is a city-based NGO that recycles fabric to make reusable cloth sanitary pads and eco-friendly bags. Talking to Metrolife, founder Kala Charlu says that women are aware and environmentally conscious switch to cloth pads.
She adds, "To be honest, it is only the urban women who want to switch to sustainable products. We have to create more awareness."
With focus on menstrual literacy and producing affordable, reusable period products, city-based organisation Boondh has sold over 13,000 menstrual cups.
Co-founder Sonal Jain says, "There is an increase in the number of companies offering these products and sustaining, an indicator of sales; consumers switching to reusable products. The number of retailers in Bengaluru who stock Boondh products have seen a significant increase."
Kavitha Siddegowda, ambassador for Ecofemme cloth pads, says that their organisation tries to reach people through flea markets. "The sales are picking up. A lot of people are coming forward to switch to sustainable products," she told Metrolife.
Cloth pads and menstrual cups are eco-friendly and chemical- free sanitary options.
Menstrual cups and cloth pads are usually bought online from websites like Amazon, Flipkart and Shycart.
Taking into account its emerging popularity online, Metrolife contacted a few pharmacies and wellness stores in the city to check the availability of menstrual cups and cloth pads.
Most of the pharmacies we contacted did not know what a menstrual cup is.
We also visited an outlet of Health and Glow. Menstrual cups were only introduced in the wellness store seven months ago. The staff there told us that the sales are slowly picking up, with 10 to 12 pieces sold per month. They feel that the slow sales is because of the lack of awareness and that the women are mostly sceptical to try it.
Sonal further elaborates on menstrual cups and cloth pads not being available everywhere, "It begins with how the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDCSO) has not issued a regulation or guidelines on cups. Many doctors don't know about cups and don't endorse them, and hence, there is no demand generated for pharmacies to see validity in stocking them up. Besides the most important thing is that menstrual cup, like any other product, has its own learning curve and requires enormous behavioural change, communication for someone to think of it as a viable option."
Menstrual cups and cloth pads are endorsed because they are cost-efficient, eco-friendly, chemical-free and comfortable once you get used to it.