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Sanitary pads need to be made biodegradable

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care
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The word is no longer taboo. Both women and men, in recent times, have spoken out about menstrual health and there has been quite a lot of awareness over it through films and other medium.

Unfortunately, there is not as much awareness about the 'long lasting', 'stain free', 'soft' sanitary pads which different multinationals promote and which are easily available in any chemist. Experts point to the harm that these plastic-based sanitary napkins have been causing -- both to the environment and health.

"Most of the sanitary napkins in India are just thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. It is a havoc environmental challenge as these pads take around 500-800 years to biodegrade," Swati Singh Sambyal, Waste Management Manager of Centre for Environment Science, told IANS.


"And every used sanitary napkin carries two grams of non-biodegradable plastic. So the amount of non-biodegradable plastic accumulated every month is very high, a factor strong enough to raise concern over the crisis which environment is facing currently," Sambyal noted.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 report, around 48 percent rural women use sanitary napkin while in urban areas the percentage is around 77 percent.

Recent data provided by Menstrual Health Alliance India states that menstrual waste collected across the country, primarily consisting of sanitary napkins which is disposed of as routine waste along with other household garbage, is 45 percent.

According to the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2,000 soiled napkins and blood-soaked cotton are disposed of after segregation into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components.

However, the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, says that items contaminated with blood and body fluids, including cotton, dressings, soiled plaster casts, lines and bedding, are bio-medical waste and should be incinerated, autoclaved or microwaved to destroy pathogens.

"If the pads are burnt it can produce dioxine and phuron. Categorisation of sanitary pads has always been a major issue. The products used in making a pad make it under Solid Waste Management Rule but it has got blood in it," Sambyal said.

She further explained that the longer used pads are kept in the open and kept in contact with air, the more they are prone towards becoming pathogenic". "Stagnant natural blood accumulates a lot of bacteria like Escherichia coli, which rapidly multiplies at an exponential rate," she explained.

And not just on environment, but health experts also raised concern over the problems that can arise with the use of plastic based sanitary napkins.

"There are high chances of getting fungal infections due to collection of moisture. Plastic-based sanitary pads might also lead to pelvic infection which can cause allergies and irritation in the vaginal area," said Anuradha Kapur, Director and Head of Unit - Institute of Obs and Gynae, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket."

"In extreme cases, it may also cause vaginitis or vulvitis (also known as vaginal or vulva inflammation) and in some cases, might lead to pelvic inflammatory disease," she added.

However, in recent times, there has been some awareness about the damage being done to environment and methods are being adopted to dispose of sanitary napkins through disposal machines.

"MNCs who are coming up with many types of pads should also collectively or individually take up some initiatives; they need to come up with collective centres or provide with proper disposal system," Sambyal said.

Recently, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi also expressed her concern over improper disposal of sanitary napkins, saying that it can lead to serious consequences.

"They are often disposed of in ponds, rivers, which lead to blockage of drains. And if disposed of on the ground, it creates hygiene problems as it carries infection," Gandhi had said earlier.

She had also said that her ministry is in talks with Niti Aayog and other ministries for introducing a policy regarding setting up of sanitary napkin vending and disposal machines. As a measure to curb the damage being done to environment, the government on International Women's Day launched a biodegradable sanitary napkin called 'Suvidha' under the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

Launched by Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar, the sanitary napkins will be available for Rs 2.50 per pad at over 3,200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India by May 28, 2018, which is also the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Other biodegradable napkins are also available. Mostly produced by small-scale manufacturers or NGOs, these biodegradable ones are based on natural products like banana or jute fibre or even re-usable clothes.

Anshu Gupta's Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC) was amongst the first to start off with the concept of clean cloth pad. Recently a few more have joined the league like Ahmedabad-based Saathi and Tamil Nadu-based EcoFemme.

Published  

Know The Advantages Of Menstrual Cups Over Tampons!

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care
Consult

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup designed out of medical grade silicone or rubber, which can be inserted inside the vagina. It is not used for absorbing blood; rather it collects the menstrual blood.

Advantages of menstrual cups over tampons

-Tampons are disposable. Menstrual cups can be cleaned, rinsed and reused.

-Need not be changed after every few hours. One can go without changing a menstrual cup for more than 12 hours.

-Easier to use compared to a tampon. The insertion is smoother and it is generally not very uncomfortable if insertion is done correctly.

-The menstrual cups need not be replaced frequently. Tampons however are needed in large numbers every month.

-Tampons absorb almost all the vaginal fluid, leaving it dry and prone to irritation.

-Menstrual cups on the other hand, leave the beneficial bacteria in place and maintain vaginal pH.
-Menstrual cups help prevent menstrual odours as it is present internally.

Reasons why you should use menstrual cups

-Menstrual cups rarely cause allergic reactions, unlike tampons. One menstrual cup lasts an entire day, month and even years. They are also the most environment friendly choice as there is no need to dispose them after every use.

- They prevent staining, leakage and do not increase muscle cramps. There is no risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) from menstrual cups, which is a major risk from leaving tampons inside the body for too many hours. Menstrual cups are also helpful if you are a swimmer. They don’t make things difficult for you at all.

-Menstrual cups are made from 100% medically approved silicone and not cotton or rayon. If you are unable to use tampons, you may choose menstrual cups as the insertion is generally smoother. However, it completely depends on individual preference. Menstrual cups also reduce the bulk of having to carry like sanitary napkins during travel, and urgent needs to change. Thus it makes a long journey worry free. No matter what protective measures you take, remember to be comfortable. Try and maintain a diet rich in nutrients, that can help regulate the blood flow and prevent painful blood clots. Also, it is important to remain physically active to prevent muscle cramps and back pain.

Published  

Menstrual Disorders - 5 Reasons Behind It!

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care
Consult

Menstrual disorders are caused by a variety of factors and affect every woman in a different manner. In most cases, it manifests itself in the form of fluctuations in menstrual flow and irregularity in the monthly cycle. Certain disorders are not too severe and can be easily alleviated. Others are more complicated and require the immediate attention of a gynecologist.

As mentioned, there are different specific causes of different kinds of disorders resulting from a range of factors such as hormone levels, functioning of the central nervous system, health of the uterus, etc.

Some of the most common causes of menstrual disorders are as follows:

1. Hormonal imbalance: Fluctuating hormone levels in the body have a direct impact on the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can be caused by dysfunction in the pituitary gland, thyroid gland or adrenal gland. It can also be a result of malfunction in either or both ovaries and the secretion of hormones originating there.

2. Anatomic problems: One fourth menstrual disorders are caused by problems of the anatomy. These include various gynecological issues like the presence of uterine fibroids and polyps, reduced uterine contractile strength, adenomyosis (intrusion of uterine tissue into the muscular wall of the uterus), a uterus with an excessively large surface area, and endometrial cancer.

3. Clotting irregularities: Abnormality in clotting is a cause of heavy menstrual bleeding in women. It leads to exceeding blood loss from minor cuts and gashes and makes one easily prone to bruising. This may also include medical conditions such as thrombocytopenia (platelet dysfunction) and Von Willebrand disease.

4. Medications and supplements: There is a wide range of medications and nutritional or hormonal supplements which often cause menstrual disorders in women and lead to fluctuations in the menstrual cycle. These include medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, estrogen pills, Vitamin E supplements etc.

5. Miscellaneous factors: These are comparatively rare and require a greater degree of medical attention. It includes conditions such as cervical cancer, ovarian tumors, liver and kidney diseases, uterine infections, extreme psychological stress, obesity, etc. Incidents such as miscarriages and unsuspected pregnancies are also known to cause abnormal menstrual bleeding.

Published  

Know The Advantages Of Menstrual Cups Over Tampons!

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care
Consult

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup designed out of medical grade silicone or rubber, which can be inserted inside the vagina. It is not used for absorbing blood; rather it collects the menstrual blood.

Advantages of menstrual cups over tampons

Tampons are disposable. Menstrual cups can be cleaned, rinsed and reused.
Need not be changed after every few hours. One can go without changing a menstrual cup for more than 12 hours.
Easier to use compared to a tampon. The insertion is smoother and it is generally not very uncomfortable if insertion is done correctly.
The menstrual cups need not be replaced frequently. Tampons however are needed in large numbers every month.
Tampons absorb almost all the vaginal fluid, leaving it dry and prone to irritation. Menstrual cups on the other hand, leave the beneficial bacteria in place and maintain vaginal pH.
Menstrual cups help prevent menstrual odours as it is present internally.
Reasons why you should use menstrual cups
Menstrual cups rarely cause allergic reactions, unlike tampons. One menstrual cup lasts an entire day, month and even years. They are also the most environment friendly choice as there is no need to dispose them after every use. They prevent staining, leakage and do not increase muscle cramps. There is no risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) from menstrual cups, which is a major risk from leaving tampons inside the body for too many hours. Menstrual cups are also helpful if you are a swimmer. They don’t make things difficult for you at all. Menstrual cups are made from 100% medically approved silicone and not cotton or rayon. If you are unable to use tampons, you may choose menstrual cups as the insertion is generally smoother. However, it completely depends on individual preference. Menstrual cups also reduce the bulk of having to carry like sanitary napkins during travel, and urgent needs to change. Thus it makes a long journey worry free. No matter what protective measures you take, remember to be comfortable. Try and maintain a diet rich in nutrients, that can help regulate the blood flow and prevent painful blood clots. Also, it is important to remain physically active to prevent muscle cramps and back pain.

Published  

Menstrual Disorders - 5 Reasons Behind It!

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care
Consult

Menstrual disorders are caused by a variety of factors and affect every woman in a different manner. In most cases, it manifests itself in the form of fluctuations in menstrual flow and irregularity in the monthly cycle. Certain disorders are not too severe and can be easily alleviated. Others are more complicated and require the immediate attention of a gynecologist.

As mentioned, there are different specific causes of different kinds of disorders resulting from a range of factors such as hormone levels, functioning of the central nervous system, health of the uterus, etc.

Some of the most common causes of menstrual disorders are as follows:

Hormonal imbalance: Fluctuating hormone levels in the body have a direct impact on the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can be caused by dysfunction in the pituitary gland, thyroid gland or adrenal gland. It can also be a result of malfunction in either or both ovaries and the secretion of hormones originating there.

Anatomic problems: One fourth menstrual disorders are caused by problems of the anatomy. These include various gynecological issues like the presence of uterine fibroids and polyps, reduced uterine contractile strength, adenomyosis (intrusion of uterine tissue into the muscular wall of the uterus), a uterus with an excessively large surface area, and endometrial cancer.

Clotting irregularities: Abnormality in clotting is a cause of heavy menstrual bleeding in women. It leads to exceeding blood loss from minor cuts and gashes and makes one easily prone to bruising. This may also include medical conditions such as thrombocytopenia (platelet dysfunction) and Von Willebrand disease.

Medications and supplements: There is a wide range of medications and nutritional or hormonal supplements which often cause menstrual disorders in women and lead to fluctuations in the menstrual cycle. These include medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, estrogen pills, Vitamin E supplements etc.

Miscellaneous factors: These are comparatively rare and require a greater degree of medical attention. It includes conditions such as cervical cancer, ovarian tumors, liver and kidney diseases, uterine infections, extreme psychological stress, obesity, etc. Incidents such as miscarriages and unsuspected pregnancies are also known to cause abnormal menstrual bleeding.

Dr. Vijay Mane
Dr. Vijay Mane
BHMS, Homeopath Family Physician, 22 yrs, Pune
Dr. Reshma P. Ransing
Dr. Reshma P. Ransing
BHMS, Family Physician, Pune
Dr. Anuja Lathi
Dr. Anuja Lathi
MBBS, Dermatologist, 13 yrs, Pune
Dr. Amit Murkute
Dr. Amit Murkute
MBBS, Dermatologist Hair Transplant Surgeon, 6 yrs, Pune
Dr. S K  Toke
Dr. S K Toke
DNB, Pulmonologist General Physician, 11 yrs, Pune
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