It may seem like I’m overreacting about using menstrual cup, but this is perhaps the most empowering thing I’ve received as a woman. Periods, for me, have always been dreadful. I stopped being physically active when I started menstruating. I stopped participating in sports, dance and didn’t even feel like getting out of my bed till the end my period. I bleed heavily on initial days and pads would never stay in place and leak whenever they feel like.
It took me years to properly use them and made me compromise my comfort because I was always afraid to stain my clothes. I don’t know how girls around me were somehow comfortable like they had accepted their bittersweet relationship with pads, but I would always complain and cry about discomfort of periods and sanitary pads. This is my first period without it and I feel so free and overwhelmed. I’m posting this to encourage other women to use it with FAQs.
1. What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is made from soft medical grade silicone. It is worn internally but, while tampons and pads absorb menstrual fluid, the menstrual cup collects it. A light seal is formed with your vaginal walls, allowing menstrual fluid to pass into the cup without leakage or odour. This seal is released for removal, allowing you to empty the contents, rinse or wipe and reinsert.
2. How to use it?
The menstrual cup is designed to be folded and inserted into the vagina, then removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every 8-12 hours. The cup holds up to 3x more fluid than a pad, you don’t need to worry about frequent removal/reinsertion. You have to sterilize it once a month before or after using it.
3. Why use Menstrual Cup?
I don’t have to worry about any issue associated with pads ever again! It’s super comfortable. You don’t feel anything. Insert it in and you don’t have to worry about it for next 12 hours. It doesn’t leak at all. You can do anything even go swimming without sharks hunting for you. LOL.
Till recently, Only 12% of the 355 million women of menstruating age in India could afford disposable sanitary napkins. Despite this, these 42.6 million women would go on to throw 21.3 billion sanitary napkins into a landfill in their lives where each napkin will take centuries to decompose. Today 6 out of 10 women have access to them. That means even more pads are making it to landfills. Again, the menstrual cup is reusable for up to 5-10 years after a single purchase. You add less and less waste to environment every time you bleed.
On an average, a woman spends anything between Rs. 100 to 150 on sanitary packs every month. This amounts to Rs. 3,600 in two years and Rs. 9,000 in five years. This cup cost me Rs. 400 and is offered by different companies between range on Rs 400 to Rs. 800. So I’ll be saving around Rs 17,000 in 10 years!
The cup is made from soft medical grade silicone and is latex-free, hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. It is not associated with TSS or vaginal infections. It is non-absorbent, it will not cause dryness and does not disrupt your body’s natural pH levels (35% of the fluid tampons absorb is natural moisture!).
4. Aur hymen ka kya? Toot gaya to?? Shaadi kaise hogi???
There’s a difference between losing your virginity and breaking your hymen. Hymen is fragile ring like structure that can even break while performing simple physical activities. Some women are born without it and some have their hymen intact even though they’re sexually active. There’s no physical proof of virginity of a woman like men. Hymen and virginity are myths created to control women. So chill, relax!! Choose your comfort over everything. Also please educate yourself and others about female anatomy, sexuality and sexual health. Know more about The Virginity Fraud in this Tedx speech given by Nina Brochmann & Ellen Støkken Dahl.
So go get one.. for yourself, for your mom, sisters, girlfriend, wife, friends and make their lives easier while saving your money and environment. ❤️
Now let me post my personal experience of using a menstrual cup to clear out doubts and hesitation that a lot of you may be facing if you are looking forward to use it.
1. Putting it inside.
I think that’s the biggest issue a lot of you may be worried about. It looks too big, how will I use it? There are many ways in which you can fold it. C fold is the most common one, I tried it but it wasn’t much comfortable so I shifted to 7 fold, in which you fold one part of it inside. It was easier to put it inside and to open it. Use your finger to make sure it’s open. After inserting pull it a bit outward to create suction, if you feel a bit suction it’s very likely it got opened. It can cause a little discomfort but relax, squat down, do it, don’t worry.
If you’re using it for the first time, I recommend you to use a pad with it atleast on the days of heavy flow. You can’t estimate how much blood you lose while making a comparison with how much pads does it takes on each day. I was out on second day of my period and thought I’ll be back home before the cup fills. Either I bled more that day or couldn’t estimate the quantity, it leaked a bit, yet it held more quantity than its capacity. So I suggest you to wear pad when you use it for sometime or check it in like before 5 hours because it takes a while to use it as everyone has a different body. You will eventually figure it out.
Unlike claims that you can’t feel it inside, I do feel it inside but it doesn’t cause any discomfort, like it’s just there but it’s far better than sanitary pad. Maybe it’s the stem that I feel which pokes my inner labia a bit. Perhaps my cervix is lower than other women and I can’t get the stem completely inside. I’ll probably trim the stem. If you feel like trimming it too, please smoothen the edges with a nail filer. Maybe then I won’t be actually able to feel it inside.
Instead of using normal soap, I’m using intimate wash to clean it because I don’t want any soap residual to cause any discomfort inside and it’s probably a better choice.
Overall I felt great, more than my comfort I was happy about creating lesser waste. It used to take 10-12 sanitary pads every month. I chose comparatively cheaper cup amongst the ones that were available online because I wasn’t sure at first, but there are cups available in better quality as well. I’ll suggest everyone to use it, it’s definitely a better option. It won’t be hassle free in beginning, it will take effort but it will be worth it.
The author is a psychology student of DU interning at Ministry of education, Delhi govternment. Follow Lakshita here.