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Is The Menstrual Cup A Better Choice Than Tampons? Here Are The Pros And Cons

Is The Menstrual Cup A Better Choice Than Tampons? Here Are The Pros And Cons

Throughout the course of time, women have used cloth, sanitary pads and tampons to collect their blood during their menstrual periods. A menstrual cup has been proven to be an effective alternative to these common methods.

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup made from silicone or rubber that is designed to be inserted inside the vagina to collect menstrual blood. Rather than absorbing the blood like the traditional methods, the cup collects the blood without any leakage and can be emptied at your convenience.

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They are quite safe and if used as recommended, the most hygienic method for the process of preventing menstrual blood from staining your clothing. [1]

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    Pros of Menstrual Cup

    There are many advantages to using menstrual cups:

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    • Easy-to-use: If you have used diaphragms for birth control or tampons during your periods, then you will find it very easy to insert a menstrual cup. It can be folded to resemble a tampon and pushed in towards the back of the vagina. If inserted correctly, you wouldn’t even feel it’s there.
    • Less embarrassing odor: Unlike with sanitary napkins, the fluid in a menstrual cup doesn’t get exposed to air, so you wouldn’t have to face any embarrassing menstrual odor wafting out.
    • Lower costs: Long-lasting reusable menstrual cups save you more money in the long run than the regular use of pads and tampons.
    • More peace of mind: Pads and tampons need to  be changed every four to eight hours while menstrual cups need to be emptied only twice a day.
    • Less pharmacy visits: When you use disposable pads and tampons, it means a monthly visit to the pharmacy to buy them. With menstrual cups, a good quality reusable one will last you at least a year.
    • Less landfill waste: Since they can be reused, the piling waste of used tampons and sanitary napkins in landfills will get reduced. A bonus point is that less trees need to be sacrificed than there are to produce the paper-based alternatives.
    • Maintains Vaginal pH: As tampons and pads absorb the vaginal fluid along with the blood, the pH balance and the beneficial bacteria in the vagina get disturbed, leading to a whole host of other problems.
    • You can still have sex: It’s a personal choice whether to remove the cup or not as you can have intercourse without removing the cup.

    Cons of Menstrual Cup

    There are some disadvantages to this method, most of which can be resolved through practice. [2]

    • Insertion difficulty: Young girls and those who have never had intercourse may find the cup difficult to insert, though with practice, it becomes easy enough.
    • Fitting problems: If you have problems like fibroids or a dropped uterus, a menstrual cup may not fit properly.
    • Removal issues: Some may find it difficult to remove the cup. This is also just a matter of practice and learning to do it the right way. You need to pinch the base before you pull it out.
    • Messy emptying: If you are not careful, emptying the blood from the cup can get quite messy.
    • Sterilization: After each cycle you have to put in the effort to sterilize the cup [3] with boiling water or a sterilizing solution.

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      Conclusion

      You can buy disposable menstrual cups or opt for long-lasting and reusable ones. You can use the same cup all throughout your menstrual cycle. If you are latex sensitive [4], check and make sure the menstrual cup you purchase is made entirely of silicone.

      Many women discover that the cup is barely half filled even after the full 12 hours. But, you may need to empty it more frequently during the heavy flow days to avoid leakage. If you monitor the fullness of the cup over a couple of cycles, then you will know how long you can wait before having to empty the cup. If your cycle is regular, you can insert it before the period starts to avoid spotting on your clothes.

      Menstrual cups come in various formations and sizes. You may need to experiment a bit before you finally discover the one that suits your needs perfectly. Just like the other products for your periods, menstrual cups can be bought from grocery and drug stores or you can buy them online.

      Featured photo credit: hercampus.com via hercampus.com

      Reference

      [1] Cleveland Clinic: Tired of Tampons? Here Are Pros and Cons of Menstrual Cups
      [2] WebMD: What’s a Menstrual Cup?
      [3] The Diva Cup: Care and Cleaning
      [4] Cleveland Clinic:
      Latex Allergy

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      Last Updated on June 20, 2019

      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

      Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

      There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

      More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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      Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

      You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

      During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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      Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

      Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

      The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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      This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

      Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

      The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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      This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

      This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

      Conclusion

      While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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      Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

      Reference

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