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Six common myths around menstrual cups
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Six common myths around menstrual cups

Despite being useful, eco-friendly and cost-effective, menstrual cups are yet to become popular due to the persistence of several myths

 

Though menstrual cups have numerous advantages, their usage remains limited due to prevalent myths and misconceptions. Payal Mandoth, a marketing professional who is strongly advocating the usage of menstrual cups through her personal social media recalls a recent incident of a young woman who, though interested, refrained from using a menstrual cup due to fear of breaking her hymen. “The thought of losing your virginity or breaking the hymen is a myth as the hymen is just a tissue that can tear and repair by itself,” said Mandoth.

Mandoth who is currently residing in Grenoble, France says that women who are not sexually active are a little scared to use menstrual cups as they have the fear of inserting the cup inside their vagina. “While some are afraid of insertion, some have misconceptions about the menstrual cup breaking the hymen. It’s important that women be aware of the difference between breaking hymen and losing virginity (which happens only through intercourse), to be able to accept and adopt the usage of menstrual cup,” she said.

Six myths and misconceptions about menstrual cups

Myth 1: Menstrual cups can break the hymen and affect virginity.

Fact: Menstrual cups can’t break the hymen or affect virginity.

Hymen can be stretched or torn by a sudden fall, certain physical activities, riding or even tampon use, says Dr B Menaka, senior gynecologist, Kamineni Hospitals, L B Nagar, Hyderabad. “Using a menstrual cup does not impact virginity. It is a flexible and small device that does not cause damage to the hymen either,” she explains.

“The hymen will have a hole in it since the time a girl is born and that’s how she gets her periods when she becomes older. Menstrual cup may expand the hole in the hymen but will not rupture it,” says Dr Meenakshi Bharath, a gynecologist from Bangalore.

Myth 2: The cup can get lost inside the vagina.

Fact: Vagina is a dead end. The cup can’t go any further inside or get lost.

The vaginal canal definitely has an endpoint, making it impossible for a menstrual cup to get lost inside, says Dr Menaka. “The cervix, a narrow passage at the top of the vagina, prevents the cup from moving too far,” said Dr Menaka.

Dr Bharath explains that a woman’s vagina is only three inches long and the menstrual cups are about two inches. “They can’t get lost inside. If the cup is not felt while trying to remove it, it just means that the cup has gone 1 cm above their fingertip and not lost inside,” she says adding that bending down and sitting in a constipated position helps in the removal of the cup.

Myth 3: The menstrual cup has to be removed while peeing.

Fact: The menstrual cup does not obstruct urine as both have different passages.

There’s no need to remove a menstrual cup while urinating, says Dr Menaka. “The cup sits in the lower part of the vagina, while the urethra (the tube through which urine passes) is in a different location. You can pee with the cup in place without removing it,” she explains.

“There are three different passages – vagina, where the menstrual blood passes, urethra, where the urine passes and anus where the stool passes. The menstrual cup goes inside the vaginal opening, and it doesn’t affect the other two exits,” said Dr Bharath.

Myth 4: You can’t use the cup if you have heavy periods.

Fact: Menstrual cups have more capacity than tampons or pads.

Contrary to this belief, menstrual cups are suitable for individuals with heavy periods, says Dr Menaka. In fact, they have more significant capacity than tampons or pads, reducing the frequency of changes, she explains.

“Menstrual cups are an advantage for those with heavy periods as they hold 20 ml of blood instead of just 5 ml as compared to other period products,” says Dr Bharath.

Myth 5: Menstrual cups are not hygienic and can easily cause infections.

Fact: Menstrual cups don’t produce or let the bacteria grow.

Dr Bharath said menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone and are safe to use. “The cup is smooth and has no surface for the bacteria to stick or grow. Washing it in tap water is sufficient and cups don’t harbor any bacteria,” she said.

Maintaining hygiene is crucial and if used correctly, there won’t be risks of infections, said Dr Menaka. “It’s essential to wash your hands before inserting or removing the cup and clean it thoroughly between uses. Place the cup in boiling water for a minute or two to fully sanitize and ensure optimal hygiene,” suggests Dr Menaka.

Myth 6: It’s unsafe to use while sleeping as blood can flow back inside.

Fact: It’s safe to use a cup as there is no backflow of blood.

“Irrespective of whether a woman is wearing a pad or a cup, the blood collection will remain inside the vagina. If one is wearing a pad, the blood flow rushes out when they wake up or when there is overflow from the vagina. If it’s in the cup, the blood will remain inside itself and won’t backflow. 

 There is no backflow or reverse flow that happens in the cervix or the uterus inside our body,” explains Dr Bharath adding that this is an advantage as one can sleep in any position and there is no discomfort or leaks.

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