Menstrual collectors are an efficient, ecological and economic alternative to replace common absorbents. And they are becoming increasingly popular, either because of their cost-effectiveness or because of the search for sustainable and healthy lifestyles.
However, until recently, there were few studies proving its safety and effectiveness. Fortunately, scientists finally decided to study this product further.
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A recent study points out that menstrual cups can be as effective as other feminine hygiene products in preventing leaks, as well as lowering the risk of developing bacterial infections and not harming women's natural vaginal flora.
Still, the studies were a bit vague, so researchers at The Lancet Public Health published a new paper this week that reviews the previous study.
In the new study, the researchers could not determine whether menstrual cups were safer than internal absorbents with respect to the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) - a rare but life-threatening condition related to the use of internal absorbents. In fact, the authors identified several cases of TSS linked to menstrual cups, although the risk appears low, they said.
This study is of enormous importance, as it is one of the first rigorous scientific reviews about the collectors.
Toxic shock syndrome
First described in 1978, this is a very rare disease that can affect both sexes and is characterized by the set of symptoms caused by toxins from Gram-positive bacteria, especially Staphylococcus aureus. These toxins trigger a series of severe reactions that can culminate in acute renal failure and death.
A large part of the cases of SCT was associated with the use of tampons, because the accumulation of menstrual blood collected for many hours and the composition of the internal absorbents formerly used favored the proliferation of the bacteria.
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The materials used in the manufacture of menstrual cups - silicone, rubber or latex - do not favor the proliferation of bacteria as in the case of tampons. However, prolonged use can open space for infection, although it is rare as with internal absorbents.
For now, doctors generally recommend that menstrual cup users treat the product in a manner similar to how they would use a tampon - removing and cleaning every 8 hours.
The conclusion is that menstrual cups are indeed more efficient and economical than conventional absorbents, however it is not yet certain whether or not they may pose the same risks of contracting toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Sources / LiveScience / Drauzio Varella / BBC