Your Health: No Wings Or Strings Attached

1 Nov

Angela Shelton, who has been using Instead Softcup for eight years, says she can be active for 12 hours straight.

FOR over 70 years, women all over the world have relied on pads and tampons to take care of their menstrual needs.

But now, a new invention is promising to empower women to live life to the fullest everyday of the month, no wings or strings at t a c h e d .

The Instead Softcup is said to replace all other menstrual care and protection products.

Launched last week in Malaysia, the Softcup is a clean and convenient SALTWATER nasal sprays, warm compresses and other do-it-yourself remedies can help lessen the misery of inflamed sinuses, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic.

Writing in the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, they detail some of the steps people can take on their own to battle sinusitis.

Sinusitis refers to inflammation in the sinuses, the air-filled cavities that surround the nose and nasal passages.

Symptoms include pain and pressure in the forehead, cheeks and area around the eyes; nasal congestion and discharge; ear pain; and reduced sense of taste and smell.

Sinusitis often begins when a cold, which is caused by a virus, leads to inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.

Sometimes, this leads to a bacterial infection, which then creates a longer bout of sinusitis-last – ing longer than 10 to 14 days.

Other causes of sinusitis include allergies, a deviation in the wall between the nostrils (deviated septum) and harmless growths called nasal p o l y p s.

Sinusitis caused by a virus typically clears up on its own. But when symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days, a secondary bacterial infection is often the culprit, according to the exper ts.

In such cases, antibiotics may be necessary. There are, however, simple do-it-yourself methods for easing sinusitis misery.

One measure is to use saline (saltwater) washes or sprays to flush out the nasal passages, removing thick secretions and allowing the sinuses to drain.

Drinking plenty of fluids also helps drain the sinus cavities by diluting m u c u s.

A little warmth may also help. This can mean “steaming” the sinuses by covering your head with a towel as you breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water, or placing warm, damp towels on the face, over the sinus cavi t i e s.

Finally, avoid drinking and smoking.

Alcohol can worsen the swelling in the sinus cavities, while cigarette smoke – including secondhand smoke — further irritates the nasal passages. – Reuter s method of feminine hygiene.

How does it work? The menstrual flow comes out of the uterus through a very small opening in the cervix.

The rim of the cup is lodged between the pubic bone and the back of the vagina.

It collects the menstrual flow internally and is designed to fit easily and comfor tably.

It has the capacity to hold twice as much menstrual flow compared to tampons and offers a maximum wear of up to 12 hours.

It’s also said to reduce dampness, reduce odour and allow normal physical activities such as swimming, running, traveling and even sexual intercour se.

“Softcup is entering a new horizon in its bid to make ladies more comfor table.

“But in the Malaysian setting, to insert something into the vagina is something alien to our culture.

“However, women need to conquer their fear and try to be comfortable,” says deputy health minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

The product has already made waves in Hong Kong and China and it’s going to be introduced in more than 30 countries over the next few years.

Certified sexuality educator, counsellor, researcher and secretary general of the World Association for Sexual Health Dr Beverly Whipple says the Softcup is absolutely necessary and that there’s simply no two ways about it.

“For 70 years, women who used tampons have had to live with the fear of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

“Those who used sanitary pads risked health ailments from the dioxin used in the sanitary pads.

“Better absorbent tampons and pads don’t necessarily mean that it’s better for women. The use of these menstrual care products has raised some health concerns “W h at ‘s unique about this product is that it collects, and doesn’t absorb.

“It also gives women the freedom to swim, fly, travel, take part in sporting activities and even have sexual intercourse.” Laboratory studies, she says, have shown that the Softcup doesn’t promote the growth of bacteria.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecological oncologist Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz says women should be aware of their anatomy.

“I’ve heard stories of school girls thinking they’re going to bleed to death when they get their period.

“Some think that their cervix is in their chest, others think their uterus is behind their spleen.

But let’s not talk just about women, men are even worse when it comes to knowing their anatomy.” There needs to be continuous education and publicity, he says, so that women do not fear probing into their anatomy.

“In 1982, when I was practicing, women never wanted to open up and tell me what was wrong with them. They expected me to g u e s s.

“But now, they walk into my office with a whole list of problems that they want me to fix.

“Malaysian women are beginning to understand their bodies better.” It is timely, he says, that a safe alternative for menstrual protection is introduced in Malaysia.

“Having received feedback and observed the use of the product among women, it is found to be not harmful to women’s internal tissues and doesn’t promote infection.

“There is no age limitations on its use and it is suitable for all women, even virgins.

“The human vagina is very accommodating.

“If a woman knows how to relax and feel comfortable with herself, there won’t be any problem in inserting this new product.” Although Dr Abdul Aziz hasn’t seen any woman who has suffered from TSS, he says that it’s very possible.

“It can happen. Menses is an excellent food for bacteria. Although bacteria plays its part in controlling the acidity level of the vagina, it can also be absorbed into the body’s c i r c u l at i o n .

“Many women who come to me complain about losing their tampons. Usually while taking out the tampon, they accidentally snap the thread. It’s very common.” He says the Softcup eliminates that problem. It will not only make women feel healthier, but it will empower them to live a more fulfilling life.

Actress, filmmaker, writer and director Angela Shelton is an eight-year user of the product.

She said the first time she used the Softcup, it felt weird, but now she refuses to use anything else.

“It doesn’t involve any acrobat action to put it into your cervix. And once it’s in, you don’t even feel it.

“I’m very much an outdoor person, I love to hike and run. Now, I can be active for 12 hours straight without worrying.” Angela says she started using the Softcup because her friend had contracted TSS.

“I’ve left a tampon in a glass for two hours and was shocked to see how dirty the water had become.

“Can you imagine what had been going into your body?” The Softcup will be available here soon.

New Straits Times

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