I love living in South Africa! The country itself might have its ups and down, but how many countries can you list that give women a day dedicated to them? 9 August, every year is a public holiday called ‘Woman’s Day’. Very few other countries, if any, have a special day for their women. South Africa is one step ahead, the entire month of August is dedicated to women. Women of all races, sizes, colour and origin. Even in all our diversity we are quite similar. All women go through the same challenges, but two of the biggest challenges that we experience are childbirth and the dreaded ‘monthly’. You can call it whatever you like but its still a very uncomfortable time for every woman, and men fear our emotional ‘sudden’ outbursts and steer clear. The wise scientists and geniuses of this world have tried to ease our burden with the invention of pads and tampons. This multi-billion Rand industry is proof that, as women, our comfort and beauty comes first.
I recently read an article by Dr Mercola about the safety of sanitary pads and tampons, and I must say that it shocked me right out of my oblivion on our feminine products. If you look at your sanitary towel of choice you will see that they do not mention what the product is made from as it is considered a ‘medical device’. The only information available shows 2 main products comprising of rayon and chlorine bleach. The bleach used on the rayon is to give it that fresh, white, clean look. This is chlorine based and its by-product are dioxins which are very toxic and known to be cancer-causing. Of course the amount of dioxins created are extremely small, but remember that you are exposed to these pads and tampons 4-7 days every single month for a large number of years. Dioxins accumulate in your body and the side effects only appear many years later. Rayon on the other hand is manufactured from cellulose fibres derived from wood pulp . To become the material it is, the wood goes through severe processing. It is not indicated what this processing is or what chemicals are used. Rayon fibres create a moist environment conducive for bacteria, which causes certain infections, especially when a pad or tampon is worn for more than 5-8 hours (mostly when sleeping). Another item added to sanitary towels and tampons are fragrances, which are not clearly listed, and do not show what they are or what their side effects could be when they are absorbed into the body.
A medical condition has been linked to the use of tampons known as TSS. Toxic shock syndrome is a serious but rare syndrome that is caused by staphylococcus/ streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms include a headache, rash, dizziness, muscle aches, decreased urination and a fever. If TSS is not treated by medical professionals, organ failure may occur. To reduce the risk of TSS, avoid using tampons or alternate with sanitary towels and if you must use tampons, use low absorbency tampons and make sure you change them every 5-8 hours at least.
I grew up believing that the only options out there are pads and tampons until one day while watching the Oprah Winfrey show I heard about menstrual cups. I must say, I was not sold on the idea the first time I heard about them but, with further research, they started to look more and more like the best option. If you think about it – in South Africa the average woman spends about roughly R60 a month on her ‘monthly’ expenses that accumulates to R720 a year, R3600 every five years. Many women spend a lot more than that. That is a lot of money to spend on disposables, especially if there are other options available……..
Meluna cups are made from Thermo Plastic Elastomer, the very same material that is used to make replacement heart valves. The cup is as comfortable as using a tampon. It is completely hypo-allergenic as no cotton, silicone or latex is used in manufacturing this product, and this removes the chances of getting toxic shock syndrome.
- These cups can be kept in place for up to 12 hours.
- The cups are completely recyclable.
- Similar to a tampon but requires less changing, so you can go about your daily activities without worry.
- The cup collects liquid instead of absorbing it, and so minimizes bacteria formation due to a humid environment . This also results in less ‘mess’ during your monthly
- Hygienic- after a few hours you simply remove the cup, empty it into the toilet bowl, clean and replace it.
- They help you save financially. A Meluna cup can be is re-usable for up to 10 years.
- The cup has no added chemicals like phthalates and BPA,Meluna cups rarely fill, so chances of spillage are minimal.
- The cups vary in size so you purchase the right cup for your amount of flow.
- It is Eco-Friendly. At the end of your cycle, you sterilize your cup by boiling it in a pot you keep specifically for this purpose, and store it in the supplied micro-fibre pouch supplied with the cup when you purchase.
This is what women who have used the cup have to say….
” I find the Meluna Cups not much different from using a tampon..except that you don’t have to worry about toxic shock syndrome. They can be worn at night and need to be ‘changed’ less, therefore making the the period experience a whole lot easier while doing your bit for the environment. Knowing that you are healthier avoiding bleaches and potentially harmful chemicals is a plus. I have noticed less painful periods since using the cups and have not had issues with them since I have been using them” Anonymous
“Being a woman just got easier” Adrie L Pretoria
“It has changed my life, having periods has become an almost unnoticeable part of my life rather than a huge inconvenience” Robyn February Capetown.
Being a woman is not easy, we are expected to be superwomen, juggle work, be the shoulder to cry on for the best friend, raise children, be CEO’s of business and still whip up a restaurant standard dinner meal when we get home. What makes us women what we are? The ability to embrace every single aspect of womanhood. And that is why we have an entire month dedicate to us……a very happy womens’ month to all the women.