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Menstrual hygiene: Key facts and products’ pros & cons | 05 June 2020

Menstrual hygiene: Key facts and products’ pros & cons

Menstrual cup

Menstrual Hygiene Day was observed at the end of May and with the aim of continuously educating the public, Zarine Udwadia-Durup, pharmacist at Behram’s Plaisance Pharmacy, shares some important key facts about menstrual hygiene along with the pros and cons of available products. Following is the interview with Mrs Udwadia-Durup.


Seychelles NATION: What are some of the relatively new and more common types of menstrual hygiene products?

Zarine Udwadia-Durup: There are various menstrual hygiene products available to catch menstrual flow. These include pads (disposable and reusable types), tampons, menstrual cups, menstrual discs and period pants.

Pads and tampons are probably the most commonly known and practical options but menstrual cups have been increasing in popularity over the past few years, possibly due to the fact that they are reusable and environmentally friendly.

A menstrual cup is a reusable silicon/rubber funnel shaped cup that is inserted into the vagina. Unlike pads and tampons which absorb menstrual flow, these cups collect it and need to be emptied every couple of hours. Once emptied, all you need to do it rinse or wipe the cup down and then reinsert it.


Menstrual discs are of a similar concept but are not reusable and can be a bit messier to handle when removing them.


Period pants are a newer concept. These are basically what they say they are: underwear which function as a sanitary pad. They can hold menstrual flow for up to 8 hours and are machine washable, thus, making them more economical and environmentally friendly.


Seychelles NATION: Are there any which are more highly recommended?

Zarine Udwadia-Durup: It all comes down to personal choice and whatever makes you feel comfortable. Below is a table of some of the main products and their pros and cons.






Disposable pads

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to find in shops
  • Low health risks
  • No risk of toxic shock syndrome
  • Come in a variety of sizes depending on your menstrual flow
  • Not environment friendly
  • More expensive long term compared to other menstrual products
  • Some women experience bad odours especially on days where flow is heavier


Non disposable cloth pads

  • Cheaper long term than disposable pads
  • Environment friendly
  • Made from organic and natural fabric
  • Machine washable


  • Washing and drying can be time consuming
  • Can be bulkier to wear compared to disposable pads
  • More contact with menstrual blood



  • Used internally so are more discreet than pads
  • Can be found in most, if not all, shops
  • Can be worn when swimming and during other sports
  • Less risk of developing bad odours
  • Increased risk of developing toxic shock syndrome and vaginal infections
  • Have to be changed more regularly than other menstrual products
  • Not environment friendly


Menstrual cups

  • Cheaper long term than other menstrual products
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can hold more blood than tampons
  • Can be changed less often than tampons
  • Much lower risk of toxic shock syndrome and other vaginal infections
  • Less risk of developing bad odours
  • Can be difficult to insert and remove
  • Risk of leakages if not inserted properly
  • Can be difficult to find the right size
  • Removal can sometimes be messy
  • May not be very suitable for women with fibroids, vaginal prolapse or uterus and cervix problems
  • The menstrual cups need to be sterilised between each monthly cycle


Menstrual discs

  • Can be worn safely for up to 12 hours
  • Women can have intercourse even when the discs are inserted
  • Low risk of toxic shock syndrome and other vaginal infections
  • Less risk of developing bad odours
  • Can be used by women with vaginal prolapse or other uterus and cervix problems



  • Non reusable
  • Not environment friendly
  • Removal can be messy and difficult


Period pants

  • Cheaper long term than disposable pads
  • Environment friendly
  • Made from organic and natural fabric
  • Machine washable


  • Washing and drying can be time consuming
  • More contact with menstrual blood



Seychelles NATION: You mentioned that there are some noteworthy key facts relating to menstrual hygiene stated in the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) Press Release (May 25, 2018); can you tell us what these are?

Zarine Udwadia-Durup:

  1. On average a woman menstruates for about 7 years during their lifetime.
  2. The first period can be met with either celebration, fear or concern. For every girl, this signifies an important transition to womanhood – a time when they would benefit from the support of family and friends.
  3. Many girls do not have complete and accurate understanding of menstruation as a normal biological process. Educating girls before their first period – and, importantly, boys – on menstruation, builds their confidence, contributes to social solidarity and encourages healthy habits. Such information should be provided at home and at school.
  4. Poor menstrual hygiene can pose physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. Many girls and women have limited options for affordable menstrual materials. Providing access to private facilities with water and safer low-cost menstrual materials could reduce urogenital diseases.
  5. Girls and women with disabilities and special needs face additional challenges with menstrual hygiene and are affected disproportionately with lack of access to toilets with water and materials to manage their period.
  6. Many women and girls do not have access to materials to manage their menstruation, especially in times of emergency – natural disasters and conflicts. In emergencies, Unicef provides dignity kits to women and girls, which include sanitary pads, a flashlight and whistle for personal safety when using the toilet.
  7. Globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services and in Least Developed Countries, only 27 per cent of the population has a handwashing facility with water and soap at home. Managing periods at home is a major challenge for women and adolescent girls who lack these basic facilities at home.
  8. About half of the schools in low-income countries lack adequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene crucial for girls and female teachers to manage their period. Inadequate facilities can affect girls’ experience at school, causing them to miss school during their period. All schools should provide running water, safe and clean toilets for adolescent girls.


  1. Unicef is working with local communities, schools and governments to research and provide information about menstruation, promote positive hygiene habits and break down taboos. Unicef also provides adequate facilities and supplies, including toilets, soap and water to schools in some of the poorest regions.”


For more information, contact Behram’s Plaisance Pharmacy:

-                       Telephone: 4 345 783

-                       Email:





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