Dubai: When an Indian expatriate in Dubai experienced some niggling gynaecological problems that she traced to her chemically coated sanitary napkins, she did not suffer silently in embarrassment branding it a ‘woman’s’ burden. Instead, she decided to talk about it and do something to benefit herself and other women too — make 100 per cent cotton, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, chemical-free sanitary pads! And all this in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meet Seema Gupta, 37, an entrepreneur who created Orgabliss, an organic and affordable sanitary napkin for women in the UAE.
Belonging to a business family from Ludhiana, Gupta, the mother of two pre-teens, explained to Gulf News: “I felt the issue of women’s health was as important or vital as the health issues exposed by the pandemic and it required immediate attention. Men talk all the time about their personal hygiene products, their after-shaves, their razor blades and what provides the perfect shave. However, women are often too embarrassed to talk about sanitary napkins or their monthly periods and the accompanying health issues they face every month. I was experiencing frequent Urinary Tract Infections. Therefore, I began researching about this.”
I would like to tell women, shed your inhibition and feel free to discuss your health in mainstream conversation. Prioritise your health over other mundane issues and take charge of it. You need to set an example for your future generations.
– Seema Gupta
Her research pointed to some ominous facts. Gupta said, “After speaking to many gynaecologists and health care experts, I discovered that many sanitary napkins are made of toxic substances and hazardous chemical ingredients. This is the root cause of the increasing detrimental health condition. Being a woman, I understood how harmful it is, not only for our own creed but also for the environment. Hence, I decided to bridge the gap.”
Gupta’s evidence collection was first hand. She took the help of her sister-in-law in Ludhiana, India, who was ordering bulk loads of pure cotton sanitary napkins for personal use and for donation to female orphanages. “I switched to using these products and immediately experienced a big relief in my symptoms every month, with the incidence of UTI dropping drastically.”
Breaking the taboo
This also got Gupta thinking on the importance of organic sanitary napkins. However, the response from her friends was derisive to say the least. “When I told my friends about this plan, they just felt I was being foolish. Sadly, the mindset of most women today allows them to spend thousands on facials and branded bags, shoes, jewellery or cosmetics but don’t think much of a personal use article such as a sanitary napkin as no one sees it. However, here was the point.”
Gupta began producing sanitary napkins and panty liners using special technology in India. “My napkins are 100 per cent cotton. We use a special Japanese SAP technology, which absorbs and locks liquid keeping the individual dry and odour free. We also use an organic fabric chip that is able to release 6,120 ions per centimetre cube when this chip comes in contact with blood or water, it triggers production of oxygen, keeping that intimate part breathable and destroying harmful bacteria. Few people know that when a woman menstruates, about four billion bacteria are released from the uterine walls. Our negative ion technology helps keep infections, pain, cramps at bay. It also helps induce proper rest and sleep at night.”
“What’s more, the biodegradable plastic and back sheet film leave no carbon footprint behind, hence keeping our mother earth safe and secure in the long run. It’s a win-win for all,” claims Gupta.
Gupta, who has had a very good response from women in UAE, says: “I would like to tell women, shed your inhibition and feel free to discuss your health in mainstream conversation. Prioritise your health over other mundane issues and take charge of it. You need to set an example for your future generations.”