Apart from the physical discomfort, Periods become a major hassle when you are made to feel ashamed for a bloodstain on your clothes, when you’re forced to sit in one corner of the house and when you have to hide your cloth pad like a murder weapon. All these things make a woman feel that periods are the biggest headaches of women’s life whereas menstruation is one of the most natural things that happen in a woman’s body. The extra stress of shame adds to the physical discomfort making it worse.
I spoke to Padmashree on how she dealt with heavy bleeding during her period.Padmashree belonged to a joint family before her marriage, she had had a tough time dealing with taboos associated with menstruation. She had to constantly worry about where and how to dry her cloth away from everyone’s eyes. She says that the drama of hiding her cloth and being extra cautious about periods was more painful than actually being on the period.
Padmashree has used both commercially avail sanitary napkins and cloth, her experience with sanitary napkins was not that great, unlike today sanitary napkins earlier were bulky because they had 90% cotton in them; had only one size which was small and did not provide full coverage. Being a heavy bleeder a single pad was not enough, she would use 2 pads at a time and sometimes even 3 which was extremely uncomfortable and also gave painful rashes. Whereas her experience with cloth was much better, a cloth could be as long as she wanted; enough to give full coverage and could be folded as many times she wanted. In fact, she mentioned that a cloth could manage her heavy flow much longer than the sanitary napkin. If a sanitary pad could hold the flow for 4 hours the cloth could hold it for 6 hours, the only issue with cloth was that it would leak if she didn’t change in time but that’s true for a sanitary napkin too. She says she could manage with the cloth for 6-7 hours at work without worrying about changing while being comfortable without getting rashes.
When asked about which menstrual hygiene product she prefers, she suggests that the traditional method of using a cloth is way better than commercial sanitary napkins because these napkins are now 90% plastic and filled with toxic chemicals which have been proven to be harmful to women’s health. Nowadays cloth pads or period panties are aesthetically designed and are leak proof with buttoned wings to hold them in place. The added benefits of cloth pads are that they are completely eco-friendly and totally harmless to the body; a sustainable method that has been used for ages.
But now, Padmashree swears by a menstrual cup and here’s why!
As quoted by Padmashree, “A cup is nothing but FREEDOM everything on Earth!”
A cup gives freedom from bad odour,
You don’t even feel like you’re on your period while using a cup,
You can dance, swim, run and literally do anything on earth, no more painful side rashes, You can have 8 hours of undisturbed sleep without worrying about leakage. Although Padmashree has to empty the cup more frequently because of her heavy flow, she is one happy cup user! She says, however sleek, long and dry the sanitary napkins are; they can never make you forget your periods! The smell, the rashes and looking for dustbins to trash them are a thing of the past now!
Padmashree’s suggestion to the new cupverts:
Don't feel ashamed of your periods, they are the most natural thing that happens to women, it is a sign of good health. A positive perspective towards your periods will make your periods hassle free.
With respect to use of menstrual cup don't stress too much, when you stress you end up contracting your pelvic muscles; take a few deep breaths before inserting, figure out when you need to empty and re-insert the cup by trying it for a couple of cycles, and very soon you will have a clear idea on its usage.
To sum up Padmashree's experience, cloth pads are way better than sanitary napkins but if you want to make life even simpler, go for the CUP! It's life changing and liberating. All you can think is why didn't you find the cup earlier!!