The safety of menstrual cups in women of low socio-economic status in Zimbabwe: pilot study
Background: Poor women in Zimbabwe struggle to find appropriate affordable menstrual care products and often use pieces of blankets, cloths and toilet paper. Menstrual cups are a re-usable alternative which can be kept for many years.
Objectives: To assess the safety of menstrual cups when used by women in the poor socio-economic stratum.
Design: This was a prospective interventional study where 52 sexually active women from Epworth district in Zimbabwe aged 18-45 years who had been experiencing monthly periods and who had no intention of falling pregnant within 1 year were given and trained in use of menstrual cups and followed up for 12 months.
Results: Fifty one (94%) were still using the cup at 12 months follow up and they all wished to continue using the cup. Eighty three percent (43) of participants would recommend the cup to another woman. The majority (92%) did not experience a change in menstrual cycle lengthy or volume of flow while none of the women sought treatment for a pelvic infection. There was no onset or worsening of dysmenorrhoea in 83%, dyspaurenia in 94%, pelvic pain in 92% and vaginal discharge in 92% of the participants during the 12 months of cup use.
Conclusion: This study shows that the menstrual cup is acceptable, safe and a convenient menstrual care management device which can be used by women of low socio-economic status in Zimbabwe.