The Switch to Menstrual Cup: All You Need to Know

Pad, Tampon or Menstrual Cup, the choice is yours. However, as many urban girls and women are switching to menstrual cups, the term is becoming more and more familiar to everyone.

A menstrual cup is a silicone cup that you can insert into your vagina on the days of periods. The cup will hold and collect the blood, you can later dispose of it in the toilet bowl and reuse the same cup after washing.

The main benefit of the menstrual cup is that it is reusable and hence reduces the plastic wastage caused by sanitary pads and tampons. The disposal of the latter two is a hassle and often litter the environment. A menstrual cup is easy on the pocket as well. One cup costs around only ₹250-₹500 and can be reused for 2-4 years. This is definitely cheaper than 4 years’ worth of sanitary pads.

The menstrual cup also reduces the possibility of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but serious complication that can result from certain bacterial infections. Also, there is the added benefit that once inserted properly it is the most comfortable one of the three options of female hygiene products.

When switching to a menstrual cup what you need to take care of is finding the right size of the cup for you. The wrong cup size can cause discomfort. The insertion and removal can be difficult for beginners, but once you get the hang of it, there would not be any discomfort. And you can use the menstrual cup even if you are a virgin and have only used sanitary pads before. You just have to find the right size. And for those who had difficulty with the insertion, there are menstrual cup lubricants available in the market these days.

And no, using the menstrual cup does not take your virginity away. This common misconception is something that prevents many girls from using menstrual cups or tampons. Your virginity is just a state of having never had sex before. The hymen is prone to breakage through other physical activities too, and sometimes it does not break even after sex.

The instructions for insertion and removal would be in the leaflet that you get along with the menstrual cup. You just need to fold the menstrual cup and insert it into your vagina, pushing it in with your fingers. The cup will unfold inside and make a vacuum seal around the walls of your vagina, collecting the blood. You can keep the cup in for 6-12 hours depending on your flow. You can gently pinch the end of the menstrual cup and pull it down by its tail for removal.

Before every cycle, you are supposed to sterilize the cup in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes to ensure that the cup is bacteria-free. After each usage, you need to empty the contents into a toilet bowl and wash it with water plus Ph balanced soap or a menstrual cup wash. You are free to reinsert it after it is clean. After the cycle, you can sterilize the cup in boiling water again and store it away for the next cycle. 

A menstrual cup does not aggravate or reduce menstrual cramps. But it is leakage proof and you are free to move and sit or sleep in whatever position that you are comfortable with. According to many women who have used it, it is the most comfortable and most liberating menstrual hygiene product available in today’s world.

Article written by

-Poorna Krishnan

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