Why I’m in love with the menstrual cup
Menstrual cups are not a new phenomenon but it is only recently that they have begun to gain mainstream attention. I’d learnt about them a couple of years ago and thought they were a great concept, but it’s only now that I finally got my hands on one. I haven’t come across them in medical stores yet but there are a few brands available online. I got the ALX one from Amazon. Diva Cup also had equally good reviews but ALX came with a cute cloth pouch so that tilted the decision in it’s favour.
For those who are wondering what a Menstrual Cup is, here’s how Wikipedia defines it:
“A menstrual cup is a type of cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone.”
And this is what they look like:
How it worked out for me
This was probably one of the very few times (okay, the only time) when I was actually looking forward to my periods just so I could try out this new toy. To be honest, Day I didn’t go quite well because I just couldn’t get it in. It was a little disheartening but I tried to give it another try the next day, with more patience. The most popular way to fold it is the “C” fold but I discovered that it is the other conch shaped fold that worked better for me. The second time around, it was quite easy to insert but I guess it didn’t sit right because I could feel it the whole time, especially while sitting.
It took me a day of patient experimenting but I finally managed to get it right. Once it fit, I could barely feel anything and it was quite comfortable. If you have been using tampons before, this wouldn’t feel any different. I still used a pad for safety’s sake because I wasn’t sure how things would pan out over the day but I was pleasantly surprised that there was not a drop of leakage after the cup was properly in place. However, I’d recommend that you still wear a pad or a liner if you’re a new user because there could be leakage if the cup is not properly inserted.
Now comes the best bit – you can keep this thing on for an entire day without having to change. It has been only 24 hours since I’ve used it and I can’t stop talking about how awesome it is to not have to change frequently, especially if you have a heavier flow.
I am still in the process of getting used to it but my experience so far tells me that menstrual cups are perhaps the menstrual solution that all women in their reproductive years have been waiting for, and the good news is that they are now easily available in India. Here’s why I’ve become a fan:
Let’s face it, sanitary napkins are like diapers – most are made of non-biodegradable materials and pile up in landfills, staying there for years. The math becomes scary considering the fact that around 33% of the human population uses them for a week each month! Tampons are slightly better but they are relatively expensive and come with their own set of health hazards. Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone and can be washed and reused every time you need a change. One cup is all you need to take you through a period, and they can last you for years. If you had a safe and simple way of reducing your carbon footprint, wouldn’t you give it a shot?
The average cost of one sanitary napkin is Rs.5 (more for the sophisticated “ultra” variety), while tampons cost approx Rs.9 a piece (a pack of 10 OB Tampons costs around Rs.100). That accounts for a recurrent yearly expenditure of AT LEAST Rs. 1500 per person. Now, this may not look like an earth shattering number on the face of it, but it can amount to a substantial figure over the years. A menstrual cup, on the other hand, involves a one-time investment of Rs.750 and you’re sorted for a long time to come.
Safe and hygienic
Menstrual cups are extremely safe and hygienic to use since they do not present any scope for microbial growth (like sanitary pads and tampons). They collect menstrual fluid as opposed to absorbing it, and you only have to tip it into the toilet and rinse them clean with soap and warm water. Everyone, from teenaged girls to grown women can use them.
Convenient and easy to use
I understand the initial apprehension that may come with using the menstrual cup for the first time (seriously, it is not half as messy as you think) but once you get around to it, it is really very simple. Most women are comfortable emptying their cups every 8-12 hours – now isn’t that a welcome change from pads that need to be changed every 3-4 hours (sooner during heavy flow)? You can even put them on when you are expecting your period so that you are not caught off guard – we all know how annoying it is to use pads and tampons preemptively.
Since menstrual cups form a tight vacuum seal against vaginal walls, there is no chance of leakage or soiling. You can go about your business for several hours without having to worry about changes. Since they don’t come in the way of your movement – you can hardly feel them if you insert them correctly – you can get more out of your day, just like those advertisements on telly.
Most companies make menstrual cups in two sizes – for women below and above 30 years of age respectively.
SheCup, Diva Cup, Silky Cup and ALX Care are some brands that have made menstrual cups available online in India.
Thousands of women are making the switch to this eco-friendly and cheaper menstrual solution everyday. Try it, I say!
Note: THIS IS NOT A PROMOTIONAL POST. I genuinely wish more and more women would switch to this because it’s a minor lifestyle change that can have a huge impact on our environment. If indigenously manufactured at a low cost, it could prove to be a blessing to millions of underprivileged Indian women who can’t afford or don’t have access to sanitary products.
Shuchi is the author of two romantic comedies – ‘Done With Men’, and ‘I’m Big. So What!?’. She freelances as a writer, editor and blogger, and runs a writing firm called the Pixie Dust Writing Studio. When she’s not writing, Shuchi likes to travel, read and bake awesome cakes. Find out more at http://www.shuchikalra.com. You can also tweet to her @shuchikalra.