I have been a pad girl my whole life. Judge me all you want but I haven’t even used a tampon because the sheer idea of inserting something inside my body and keeping it there for a long period of time scared the life out of me. So when the time came to switch to a menstrual cup, I was in a dilemma. But then seeing that using a menstrual cup only came with benefits—personally and for the environment, made the process of switching to it relatively easy. I was determined to make it work because of three reasons: it’s going to save me a lot of money, drastically reduce how many times I need a change and even more drastically reduce the waste I produce.
So here’s me penning down my experience using a menstrual cup for the very first time. If you are someone who’s in two minds about making the switch, I hope this blog will help you make that decision.
My first time using a menstrual cup:
1. Choosing the size
So most brands have menstrual cups available in three sizes, which is small, medium and large. The sizing labels may differ according to each brand. But few things to keep in mind while picking the right size is your age, your flow and whether you’ve given vaginal birth. Most brands have a size guide on their website which will make it easy for you to choose the right one. I used Sirona‘s cup quiz to figure out the size most suitable for me.
There are plenty of brands you can pick from. I got mine from Sirona. But a few other brands that I have heard of from my friends (and good ones) are Pee Safe, Boondh, Sanfe and Plush. You can browse through their websites and social media pages to look for yourself.
3. Getting acquainted before my period
My cup arrived about a week before my period so I decided to use it then itself to familiarise myself with it instead of diving right in for the first time on my period. Along with the cup, I also got a detailed guide on the various folds I could try and the positions that would be best to insert the cup in with minimal discomfort. My first attempt at getting it inside took about 15-20 minutes. I made sure all my muscles were relaxed and I was focused and after several tries (and sighs) I finally managed to insert it properly. Given that it was my first time, it caused a little discomfort at the time of insertion but when it was inside, I couldn’t even feel it. Make sure that once it’s inside, it’s fully open without any folds or creases. You can feel the bottom of the cup to see if it has opened up or not.
4. Period day 1
Soon, them Niagara Falls arrived and I was quite excited about them because I was finally going to use the cup and fulfil its purpose. Weirdly enough, I had a bit of a hard time inserting it in again but neither did I lose patience or faith and 10 minutes later, it was up and open. Mind you, there was absolutely no discomfort and I slept very well. However, the next morning, I had a bit of a panic attack when I couldn’t get it out. The suction made it really hard for the cup to move or shift around. But then I reminded myself once again that I needed to calm myself down and relax my muscles in order to take the cup out easily.
What I did was pinch the cup from both sides to release the air and held that pinch in place and moved the cup a little. Once the suction broke, the cup came out easily. The mistake I did the first time was pulling the stem of the cup without pinching the bottom first to break the suction.
5. Period day 2
Not going to lie, my excitement to use the cup again had dropped a little because of the stressful experience I had while getting it out the first time. But then I went ahead and used the cup anyway and at the end of the day, the same thing happened—difficulty getting it out. But this time, I realised much quicker to relax my muscles, pinch the cup well and good and just move it around a little bit to break the suction. And within no time, it was out.
6. Period day 3, 4 and 5
So day 1 and 2 had given me good practice so I went ahead and used the cup on my third day as well and not only did inserting it get easier, getting it out also got easier. Sure I wasn’t quick as a fly, I was slow but it’s my first time so it’s all cool! Day 4 and 5 were the same. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!
Having used the cup successfully, I only have one thing to say—I love it! I don’t think I ever want to use a pad anymore. I am supremely happy with my decision to switch to a menstrual cup and there is definitely no going back!
Important things to keep in mind:
- Have faith and don’t lose patience.
- Remind yourself that you’re new at this and it’s okay to take your time.
- There is nothing wrong or gross about getting a little bit of blood on your hands.
- The folds and position you use may not be the same for someone else so that’s okay.
- The cup cannot get lost inside because it has no place to go except to stay put in that little tunnel.
- You can pee and poo safely without any discomfort when the cup is inside.
- Relaxing your muscles helps BIG TIME while insertion and removal.
- Keep your nails short so you don’t hurt yourself in the process.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before using the cup.
- Get an appropriate wash for the cup. Don’t wash it with any of your normal body washes. I have heard rave reviews of Sirona‘s cup wash and cup steriliser.
- Post use, once you’ve emptied the cup in the toilet, do not hold it under cold water. Wash it with lukewarm water. Cold water will potentially trap the smell and your cup will soon start to stink.
- If at any point you feel uncomfortable, remove the cup instantly.
On that note, I hope I managed to instil some motivation and confidence in you to make the switch. Trust me, it’s life-changing!
To be a part of more such interesting conversations, don’t forget to join Girl Tribe by MissMalini!