Menstrual cups are my newest obsession. Period. Get it? While they’re hardly a new phenomenon to hit the wellness market, they have increasingly become more and more common in India. When it comes to switching, I’m sure there’s a lot of you wondering where to even get started. Let me just say that, a couple of months ago, I was in the same boat. My regular habit of using pads and tampons was getting toxic, not only for the environment but also due to the amount of money I had to spend each month on stocking up.
While the concept of menstrual cups piqued my interest, I was unsure how to go about making the switch. In particular, I was worried about the hygiene factor. Collecting blood and pouring it out seemed disgusting TBH. Not to mention, the thought of inserting something seemingly foreign into my vagina was unthinkable. (I used to use tampons, so my logic behind this doesn’t make sense at all). When my best friend (who has a heavy flow and painful cramps) told me that using a menstrual cup changed her life, I was pretty much ready to call her out on her BS. Until I gave it a shot myself. And boy, has my life changed.
I decided to take notes on my first experience with a menstrual cup so that I can help all beginners out there as well. Here was my experience over the course of five days.
I woke up at 4 am on a Monday morning with cramps that could take down a city. Not only was I supposed to go work out early in the morning, but I had to host a live video at work that day. Clearly, none of these things happened, as I was bed-ridden for the better half of the day. Nevertheless, I decided to get my sh*t together and give the menstrual cup a try. I use the one by Gaaia, in size small, designed specifically for beginners.
Before I inserted the cup in, I made sure to place it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes (as instructed). While that went down, I opened up YouTube and learned how to insert a menstrual cup. Turns out there is more than one! After a lot of trial and error, I found the punch-down fold to be the best fit for me. It took me a lot of tries (about 20 minutes in the bathroom) and a lot of deep breathes to finally get it in. My recommendation for all first-timers is to stay calm and not stress out about the whole process of insertion. That will only make it harder, trust me.
My first thoughts, once the cup was in place, were pretty positive, to be honest. All those women who mentioned that the cup would make you feel like you weren’t on your period were partially right. In that, it did feel extremely awesome to not have to bleed into a pad, but it didn’t really help me with my cramps.
My flow is the heaviest on the second day of my period, and I knew I was going to be at work for the majority of the day. Precautions had to be taken, amirite ladies? I decided to wear one normal-sized pad as well for extra protection, just in case there were any leakages. So, the cup can be kept inside for a maximum of 10-12 hours. However, by lunchtime (around 2 pm), I leaked. TMI, I know. I’m not sure if I put it in properly so the cause of the leak is undetermined, but then I re-inserted it (which was a feat in the office, might I just add).
I’d say for the first two days, I had to re-insert the cup around once every 6-7 hours, which is pretty amazing compared to pads and tampons. I’m also happy to note that, while sleeping, it never leaked, and I didn’t wake up to a crime scene in my pants at all.
Starting my third day, my flow was consistently lesser, and hence the change of cup happened once in the morning, and once before going to sleep. So freaking easy. I genuinely felt much better to not have to keep going to the bathroom every few hours to change. Moreover, doing your businesses (if you get my drift) is so simple because the cup is suctioned in your vagina, and no amount of, well, pushing, can let it out.
To take off your cup, all you have to do is tug at the stem until you get a grip on the base of it. Then, push the base together to release the suction and break the vacuum.
So, usually by my fifth day, I only spot. For the sake of my research and also the environment, I ditched my usual liners and decided to wear the cup. I know what you’re thinking, how is it possible to insert it without blood acting as lubrication? Don’t worry about that! Without going into specifics, our vagina is naturally lined with lubrication as well that helps you in this case. In any case, despite having hardly any bleeding, the cup made me feel more secure.
A former sceptical-turned-fan girl, I am in complete and total support of menstrual cups now that I’ve used it. Not only is it better for the environment (hello?! you’re cutting down on all that waste!), but it also is so much more practical to use. My final verdict is hell yes! If you’re looking for an easy, safe to use and sustainable way to deal with that time of the month, meet your new best friend.
Will you make the switch to a menstrual cup?
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