A l'UM la science [S02-ep17]: From the impact of menstrual protection on women's health to BioWooEB

This week in A l'UM la science Ignacio Bravo, virologist at Mivegec, reveals a rare comparative study on the impact of tampons and menstrual cups on women's health. The report takes you to the BioWooEB laboratory for biomass, wood, energy and bio-products, in the company of François Pinta and Kévin Candelier. Finally, Agnès Pesenti invites you to the next Bar des sciences on March 16 at the Dôme. A program broadcast every Wednesday at 6pm on DivergenceFM-93.9. You can also find us on your podcast platform.

And on this March 8, 2023, International Women's Rights Day, we've obviously come up with a subject for you... pussy! I can hear you now: " Every year it's the same thing, we're supposed to be talking about the fight for women's rights, and we keep getting the same drawings of uteruses and clitorises, the same debates about days off for painful periods! " It's as if our identities, our questioning as women, our awareness and our ways of taking hold of the world in order to engage in politics couldn't extricate themselves from the frills of our panties and our mythical feminine nature.

So no! Absolutely not! We weren't going to be talking smack on a day like this. And then we came across this study which began with this simple observation: " There are relatively few studies on the impact of menstrual products on women's health ". So, while there are studies on the impact of my morning coffee or my sedentary lifestyle at work on my health, studies on the impact of watermelon vaporizers, time spent on the Tiktok app or pigeon droppings, there are few or no studies on the impact of sanitary protection products on women's health. Yet on the consumer side, French women alone use over 5 billion items of sanitary protection every year. In historical terms, the phenomenon isn't exactly new either, since the very first tampons are thought to date back to ancient Egypt, and women haven't stopped menstruating since. In fact, this observation alone is a reminder of the extent to which, even in 2023, talking about "foufoune" in a patriarchal society is still tantamount to politics.

Our guest today is not a political scientist, sociologist or specialist in women's rights. Ignacio Bravo is a virology expert at the Mivegec laboratory for infectious diseases and vectors, ecology, genetics, evolution and control. He took part in this comparative study of the immune profile and vaginal microbiota of tampon and menstrual cup users. The study was published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Read more:

CNRS press release: Comparison of immune profiles between menstrual cups and tampons.

Article: Does exposure to different menstrual products affect the vaginal environment?

In the second half of the show, we take you to the BioWooEB laboratory for biomass, wood, energy and bio-products, in the company of François Pinta and Kévin Candelier.

Finally, Agnès Pesenti, head of the scientific culture department at the University of Montpellier, will talk to us about Brain Week, as the next Bar des sciences is partnering this event with a discussion on the theme "Well-being in education: How and why?" It will take place on March 16 at 8pm at brasserie le Dôme.

At UM la science you've got the program, here we go!

Coproduction: Divergence FM / Université de Montpellier
Lucie Lecherbonnier
Lucie Lecherbonnier / Aline Périault
Reporting and editing: Aline Périault
Production: Tom Chevalier

Listen to the program "A l'UM la science" on Divergence FM 93.9

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