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Huda Shaikh
15 Jul 2019 . 1 min read

My Relationship with my Menstrual Cup; We Love Each Other


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Let me first start by talking about how my relationship was with sanitary napkins. For about 15 years of my life, I used sanitary napkins thinking that they were ‘’the only option’’ and I had no way out.

Like every other girl/woman I suffered from rashes, itching due to the chemicals present in sanitary napkins and the biggest pain at times was removing the napkin, discarding it by rolling it in a newspaper or paper bag. All the more buying a sanitary napkin pack every month without fail before it was "That time of the month’’ again a task, you see. God alone knows as to how much of money I spent behind it in the last 15 years.

Every month I would grab a pack or two to mark the beginning of my monthly friend-my periods. Even worse was moving or tossing around the bed at night in order to get a good night’s sleep. 

The fear of staining the dress if the sanitary napkin is not in the right position, the fear of getting up to a stained bedsheet, the fear of someone seeing the spotted bed sheet was absolutely profound.

Those nocturnal visits to the washroom just to see if everything is in place gave me sleepless nights. From using the best pads available I did it all. But somehow the fear of red spots or stains gripped me every now and then.

However, one fine day, I came across a lady who was into sustainable menstruation and spoke to her for lengths about a menstrual cup. In fact, she was the one who introduced me and my friend to the menstrual cup, she gifted us a cup by the way. We did an interview with her for our period movement in order to spread the word.

I understood how helpful the usage of a menstrual cup could be for a woman and the environment but had absolutely no guts to insert it. The thought of inserting anything in the vaginal cavity was scary. But! But! But! Picture abhi baaki hai.

In my case, the use of a menstrual cup was born out of need. I was on my way to Pune for work and all of a sudden felt like my periods had arrived. My periods had arrived five days before the actual date and to my dismay, I wasn’t carrying a sanitary napkin along. 

Plus, on my way, I could not find any medical stores and all I could do is sit and regret or curse myself for not carrying a pad along with me. But I realized that the menstrual cup given as a gift to us by the lady was still lying in my bag. However, all the way I was wondering as to how I would insert the cup and what if the cup did not go as per plan!

But, finally, I reached the place which had absolutely nothing around. No medical shops, no restaurants, NOTHING! I headed to the washroom straight and found that they had a supply of hot water and a clean bathroom! OMG, it was such a relief.

Firstly, I washed my hands thoroughly with a mild hand wash which I carry usually whenever I head out. Then I quickly removed the menstrual cup washed it under warm water. I washed it again with some hand wash wiped it with wet wipes and now came the toughest task…The insertion! 

I gathered courage and remembered of the ways a menstrual cup can be inserted into the vaginal cavity and it was inside within the first attempt. It did not pain nor did I feel uncomfortable while or after inserting it. The only thing that I felt was opening up of the cup inside the cavity. Post which I continued my work without any discomfort, emptied and cleaned the cup before reinserting it once again.

I travelled to Mumbai with the menstrual cup inside me and felt so good about it. It was inside me as if it is a part of my body.

So based on my experience and the knowledge I have gathered so far on women’s health, here is a low down on the menstrual cup.

WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP?

It is a bell-shaped or funnel-shaped cup which is made of medical grade silicone.The menstrual cup has a stem below and needs to be inserted into the vaginal cavity during menstruation. The cup collects the menstrual blood and stores it which needs to be emptied every 6-8 hrs or at the max 12 hrs.

I completely understand that the idea of inserting something with your bare hands into your vaginal cavity would sound like, “Ewwww how can I do it?!” but believe me there is nothing dirty about it.

 The vagina has a self-cleaning mechanism and the blood you see isn’t dirty. Plus while inserting you aren’t likely to have your hand full of blood, so let that thought go away. It is pretty simple to insert the cup and ‘’Practice makes a man perfect’’ woman in this case;).

While removing it, do not pull the stem, rather use your thumb and middle finger to pinch the bottom of the cup in order to release the vacuum. Do not panic, just relax while you need to remove it.

Types of Menstrual cups

Menstrual cups are primarily of two types-

1)  A cup which is designed for women under 30years depending on the size of their vaginal cavity and this is usually a small-sized cup.

2)  A cup which is designed for women above 30years and is bigger than the under 30years cup, because usually women post 30yrs are married and have given birth to kids and a bigger cup can be easily accommodated into the vaginal cavity.

Some brands also have a smaller size of the cup for girls who have just started menstruating. I use Diva cup which has 3 different sizes and I usually use the Diva Cup for women under 30 yrs i.e Diva cup model 1.

The average menstrual blood holding capacity of the menstrual cups is usually till 20-25ml and some might also go up to 30ml depending on the brand.

What are different types of folds which make the insertion of a menstrual cup easier-

  • C fold (known as U fold also)
  • Punch down fold (works best for me)
  • 7 fold
  • Origami Fold
  • S fold
  • Diamond fold

Youtube has many videos on how to fold a menstrual cup. You can look out for those videos and check which fold works for you the best. Also if you are finding it difficult to insert while on your period then use a water-based lubricant which is mild. You can check for them online.

How to use a menstrual cup?

  1. Before you use a menstrual cup, please sterilize it by boiling it in water for 5-10minutes and do not leave it unattended as it might stick to the bottom and damage your cup.
  2. Every time you remove the cup, empty the blood in the toilet bowl, wash it thoroughly maybe with a mild soap, wipe it with intimate wipes and then reinsert.
  3. When you are taking bath you can dip it in Dettol for some while and then wipe and reinsert.
  4. Once your periods are over sterilize the cup, wipe it and place it in the pouch which comes along with the cup.

Where would you get menstrual cups?

You shall get menstrual cups online as it is difficult to source from a nearby medical store. Most of the medical stores are unlikely to keep menstrual cups because very few women out there use it. In short, menstrual cups aren’t popular. You might find brands like Sirona, Shecup, Mooncup, myecoperiod, stone cup, silky cup, rustic art and so on. You can select your size or consult a gynaecologist before doing so.

Why should you use menstrual cups?

I mean there are way too many reasons to use a menstrual cup. I use it because it is absolutely comfortable, saves my money and I don’t have to change it every now and then.

  • It is eco-friendly, which means your environment is absolutely safe unlike the usage of sanitary napkins which lead to landfills and environmental pollution.
  • It is pocket-friendly. You can use a menstrual cup for 5-10 years if you maintain and keep it clean. So you do not have to spend every month! Just buy a sanitary napkin once and you are stress-free for years.
  • No rashes, no irritation or itching. It does not make you feel comfortable or lead to irritation because it is inside the vaginal cavity and stays right there till you plan to remove it.
  • It is leak-free. So the stem keeps the menstrual cup in place. There is no leakage and the blood won’t come out from anywhere. So no tension of staining clothes or sheets.
  • You can use it overnight. So it can stay there for about 12hrs without you having to worry that it shall get dislodged or stain your sheets.
  • Menstrual cups do not dry your vagina. It can help in preserving the healthy bacteria which protect you from infections.
  • Menstrual cups eliminate odour. Period blood has no smell. The period blood gets mixed with the chemicals present in the sanitary napkins coupled with sweat and leads to odour. Hence a menstrual cup helps in eliminating the smell.
  • You won’t feel the cup once you have inserted it. It is absolutely comfortable and becomes a part of your body.

Why not use a menstrual cup?

While it does not have any side effects you might find it messy at times, may not find the right fit or may find it difficult in inserting the cup. However, you can easily overcome all this! If you are not at home and have to use a public toilet, then carry wet wipes or intimate wipes with which you can wipe the cup and reinsert.

For the right fit, you could consult your gynaecologist or doctor and look for the different sizes and brands online. As I stated above practice makes a woman perfect. Look at the different folds online and try inserting it. Once you know how to insert it the entire process is going to be hassle-free.You would never look back at sanitary napkins or tampons all your life.

So simply leave your fears aside and go, give it a try. You won’t regret it ever.

 

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Huda Shaikh
Nutritionist| Clinical Dietitian| certified diabetes educator| Menstrual health advocate | health blogger| Fitness enthusiast| recipe designer

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Responses

  • A*****
    Happy to hear the details of cup first time I heard this
  • H*****
    Hi Bella, Absolutely and using a menstrual cup is so hassle free.You don't feel like it's in your body :)
  • B*****
    I use it too, it works like a charm. Highly recommend using Menstrual Cup 👍. I also do a bit of contribution towards green world by using the cup as I do not have to dump pads into trash and pollute the environment. Go green gals 🤘.
  • H*****
    Hi Sonia,Thank you :) I absolutely agree with every word written by you.
  • S*****
    This is the best revolution in a woman's life, besides freedom from changing pads every 3-4 hrs, we can also contribute to keeping our environment clean. Since I am using, I must confess I don't feel like I am having periods in those days. Well explained blog.
  • H*****
    Hi Tulika,It is absolutely comfortable if inserted properly.You won't even feel that it's inside you.No rashes,no stains precisely nothing at all :)
  • T*****
    I have heard it about earlier also but is it comfortable?
  • H*****
    Hi Monika,Please do give it a try :) it is best thing I have come across so far.
  • H*****
    Hi Sana,I am glad you found it helpful.I was planning to write this since so long :) have just put down my experiences and the best knowledge I could gain by researching about it.
  • H*****
    Hi Madhu Goswami, The price varies from brand to brand :) it could be as high as 1200 or as cheap as Rs.300-400
  • V*****
    Not more than Rs 300 Per cup....
  • M*****
    nice information g.iska price kya hota hai.its a wonderful thing for ladies.
  • S*****
    Hi Huda This has been so very helpful. For a long time now I have been planning to try the menstrual cup, as the thought of damaging the environment has lately become very disturbing for me. I'd followed Rega Jha's videos on the usage on how easy and hassle-free menstrual cups are. But this blog I would say is the best one so far. Keep on <3
  • V*****
    We have menstrual cups with us at reasonable cost so it can reach easily to needy female , any one needed can contact us on 7000270779.
  • M*****
    Well...i hear about it first time...firstly i will check details on YouTube about its use, then i will decide whether to purchase or not...thanks for giving instructions about this new way to be free from periodic fear..🥰
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