|Nwadiuto Onuoha, founder and inventor Luv Ur Body|
I came across a product and was intrigued to find out that the particular one I saw was invented by a Nigerian female legal practitioner. After carrying out my research, I contacted her and she graces my Leading Woman page this week.
Nwadiuto Olamma Onuoha is the company secretary/chief legal and regulatory officer for Helios Towers Nigeria, the leading tower collocation service provider in West Africa. She attended Queen Mary College, University of London, where she obtained an LL.M in Communications Law and Regulation. She has over 14 years experience in corporate law, telecoms legal and regulatory advisory with particular focus on the Middle East Africa region (MEA).
Prior to joining Helios Towers Nigeria, Nwadiuto had worked in almost all segments of the Nigerian telecommunications sector including the role of AGM, head, legal and regulatory/company secretary in Visafone Communications (CDMA), and at senior manager level in Airtel Nigeria (GSM). She has also served as chief legal and regulatory officer for UNOTELOS, a value-added service company, and CCIC FZ, a Dubai-based interconnect clearing and financial reconciliation company.
She is mom to beautiful 11-year-old Oyindamola and is the inventor of the ‘Luv ur Body’ brand of menstrual cups for women, a leading menstrual cup brand sold globally. Nwadiuto grew up mostly in Miami Florida, Texas, and partly in Nigeria where she had a loving, secure middle-class upbringing with focused parents who made the sacrifices necessary at that time to give her and her siblings the needed exposure to other cultures and people as well as a well-rounded education. This exposure fed her appetite for reading, exploring new things and eventually the push towards studying law as a profession.
A menstrual cup is a small silicone bell-shaped device inserted vaginally like a tampon to collect a woman’s menstrual flow internally. It is said to be safer, eco-friendly, cost-effective, and generally regarded as a more convenient alternative to pads and tampons and without side effects. How then did the legal beauty find herself inventing menstrual cups and championing its course for three years now?
“I decided in 2011 to invent my own menstrual cup purely out of ‘need’. I had never been one to use pads and needed something more convenient, leak- and odour-proof than the tampons I was using. Something that would give me more worry-free hours without having to check if my skirt was stained each time I stood up,” she tells me.
“I knew menstrual cups had been in existence since 1926 but were not available in Nigeria and that just like me, a lot of women suffer from heavy flow, were tired of doubling pads or doubling pads with tampons and needed relief from friction sore and sogginess. So I thought to re-create the concept and share it with other women. Since the menstrual cup only needs to be emptied every 12 hours, as a frequent flyer and someone who experiences pretty heavy flow due to uterine fibroids, I’ve found the menstrual cups invaluable and it works better for me,” she says, adding that she is glad the menstrual cup she invented is doing well both locally and internationally under the brand name ‘Luv Ur Body Menstrual Cup’.
The ‘Luv Ur Body Menstrual Cup’ has been referred to as a top-notch product because it’s the largest in volume capacity available on the market and is the first and only menstrual cup that is aesthetically engraved all over, aside from the basic advantages of menstrual cups generally. The engraving on the ‘Luv Ur Body Menstrual Cup’ acts as slight friction/resistance with the bumpy inner wall of the vagina called rugae to prevent the menstrual cup from slipping or sliding out when a woman bends down during bowel movement, coughing, sneezing or laughing. All other brands are smooth outside and tend to slip out. The vent-shaped suction aids greater suction release during removal for emptying, she tells me.
Asked about the duration of its usage, Nwadiuto explains that due to its ample capacity, the menstrual cup gives a woman up to 12 hours odour- and leak-proof menstrual protection, even on very heavy flow days. “It is so comfortable it can’t be felt once fully inserted vaginally. It’s re-usable and thus is more cost-effective. It’s more eco-friendly because it eliminates waste disposal issues associated with non-biodegradable feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons,” she says.
Safety is indeed very vital, I am sure you will agree with that. On that premise, I ask her about the safety of the product and what approval measures have been put in place and Olamma confidently tells me it is completely safe to use as it eliminates the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) associated with tampons and reduces the risk of ovarian and cervical cancer associated with pads and tampons due to the dioxins and free radicals in the chlorine used to bleach them white, not to mention the additives and adhesives these pads and tampons contain.
“Our brand is made out of bio-compatible medical grade silicone approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the USA, NAFDAC, and performance tested by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and not plastic or rubber. Medical grade silicone is trusted and used by the medical industry because it’s implantable in the human body for decades and does not support the growth of micro-organisms. That’s why it’s used for artificial hearts, kidneys, and all medical tubings like catheters.
So, it’s 100 percent safer,” she informs me. So, how has Olamma’s legal background helped her in the running of her business? “I’ve been a lawyer for over 14 years now and it helped me greatly during the registration of all intellectual property rights for the product in 32 countries worldwide and all the regulatory approvals needed with global regulators like the FDA, NAFDAC, SON and patent offices, not to mention conclusion of all contracts necessary to get from concept to product stage. I didn’t spend a kobo on legal fees,” she explains. Findings reveal that the shape makes for an easy insertion process and fits comfortably in the vaginal cavity. The design, texture, and quality of the menstrual cup are what Nwadiuto tells me make this a trusted product all over the world. The first menstrual cup called the “Tessaway menstrual cup” was made in the USA in 1932, and there are over 25 brands worldwide today. There are more brands of menstrual cups globally than there are of tampons.