Hey! Are you struggling with the rashes from the plastic pads? Are you afraid to get toxic shock syndrome from tampons? Are you unable to wear your best dresses because of the pad? Are you tired of changing the pad after every 6 hours? Are you worried about the plastic waste that you are contributing to the environment from those pads? YES, I can hear you.
Menstrual cups can change the whole picture for you. You might be familiar with this product or you might not have ever heard about this less popular human creation which was invented back in 1937. There might be some questions popping up into your head about menstrual cups which even I had earlier. Eventually, after 6 months of research and too many thoughts, I decided to give it a try. So, here’s my experience in the form of a Q and A:
What is a menstrual cup?
It is a bell-shaped cup made of flexible medical grade silicone that is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual blood (instead of soaking or absorbing).
How is it used?
To insert a menstrual cup you need to fold it. Since it’s flexible you can easily fold it into different shapes according to your convenience. Initially, you might have to try different folds to find out which one works best for you. The various folds are:
C fold –
7 fold –
Punch down fold –
and there can be many more, just bring out your inner artist and discover the best for you. Personally, I like the C fold, it is easy to insert and opens up easily, while in case of the other 2 folds it took time to completely open up inside and create the seal.
After folding it you have to insert it inside your vagina and slightly push it up towards your cervix. When the cup enters the vagina it pops open and the brim creates a suction seal which doesn’t allow the cup to move and you are good to go now.
But if it doesn’t move then how will you remove it? Which brings us to the next question.
How to remove a menstrual cup?
To remove the cup you have to break the suction to get it out. Simply, squeeze the lower end of the cup and rotate it a little bit clockwise and anticlockwise to break the suction. After this, you can easily pull it out.
What does it feel like inside your body?
It feels like nothing and by nothing I mean, NOTHING.
You can not feel it’s presence inside your body. Having a look at any cup it might be hard to believe for you but call it “magic” you can not feel it.
Is it painful?
Since the vagina is accommodative and the cup can be folded into the smallest of size, fitting it in is not an issue. I didn’t experience any pain while inserting it.
But it can be slightly painful for some if you don’t insert it correctly or remove it incorrectly. In the process of learning how to insert or remove your cup if the cup pushes against your urethra it can be a bit painful. To avoid this, you should use a cup that is a bit stiff at it’s lower end so that you can grip it easily and break the suction and slightly softer at the upper 2/3rd part so that it doesn’t hit the urethra while popping open.
How to know that you have inserted the cup correctly?
To find out that the cup is completely sealed hold the stalk of the cup and try to pull it out, if it is correctly inserted you will feel a resistance due to the suction force and it won’t move from its position. And if it moves easily then you have to insert it again or adjust the brim with your finger to form the seal.
Does it leak?
No. Once the cup is properly placed and the suction is created it would not leak, Period.
Your cup can leak only in two cases:
You haven’t placed it right.
Your cup is completely filled and overflowing.
you might see slight staining on your panty but that is because of the blood that had already dropped out into your vagina before placing the cup.
Is it safe?
It is made of medical grade silicone or TPE which are inert polymers and safe for the body. But always make sure while purchasing a cup that you check the material used to make it. You might also be allergic to certain materials which you should avoid using.
How often do I have to change it?
This is the best part. Since these cups are reusable it can last you around 10 years. Shocking, right?
You just need to remove and empty it after every 8-10 hours (depending on your flow) then wash it under running water and put it back. Do not use any detergent or cleansing agents or perfumes, it will disturb the pH of your vagina.
The cup will be filled up to its capacity by 8-10 hours and if you don’t empty it by then it will leak out. In cases when your flow is light and the cup has not filled completely still you have to empty it out otherwise it will leave a stain on the cup and might also leave an odour.
Can it get lost inside?
No. It has a stalk which helps to grab it easily, the length of the stalk can be reduced by just cutting the end if it is longer for you.
If in case you are not able to find the stalk too then squat down and try again; even then if you are unsuccessful then go to your GYN doc to remove it for you.
How to chose your size?
It might be overwhelming to decide which size will work for you. There are sizes from small to extra large and the difference is based on the length and capacity of the cup. Basically, if you have a low lying cervix then go for the size small (else it will bulge out); if you have a higher cervix then go for medium or large size. For women who have given birth size large or extra large would work.
To know the length of your vagina try to reach to your cervix – if you are able to get your whole finger in, you need the size large; if half of the finger gets upto cervix then you need size medium; if only 1/3rd of the finger reaches to cervix then it is size small.
How much does it cost?
The price range varies from 1500/- to 7000/- but since it lasts you for years it is overall cheaper than the disposable sanitary napkins.
Why is it lesser known?
Since it is a long lasting product consumers don’t buy it every month nor every year. So, the companies do not invest much in the advertisement. There might be paid promotions but not a large scale advertisement or publicity.
CAUTION – if you are someone who gets grossed out by seeing blood on your hands then this might not be the product for you, you might get your hands dirty.
That is all the information I thought would be helpful for anyone who is curious about menstrual cups or someone who has not heard about it. There are a lot of menstrual products available and we need to choose the one that works the best for us. I found that menstrual cups took away the uncomfortable feeling and the rashes from the sanitary napkins, now I no more fear of sneezing during my periods (*wink*), no fear of showing off the pad lines from those skinny jeans, no fear of harm from tampons and now there is no need to buy pads every month. I am using it for 9 months and it had worked well for me till now.
Hope this information will help you chose the best product for you.