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Body Talk: The Menstrual Cup That’s A Period Revolution

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what is a menstrual cup

Welcome to our Body Talk series where our in-house Nykaa editors cover educational and important conversations on body health.

That visit from Aunt Flo is every girl’s least favourite time of the month. 16 years and approximately 192 periods later, after having somehow gotten used to wearing the monstrosity the world calls sanitary pads, I came across this seemingly crazy, albeit very intriguing invention *cue drum roll* – the Menstrual Cup.

The first time I heard about them, I thought they were a) gross, b) scary, and c) not going anywhere close to my vagina. So what exactly is a Menstrual Cup? It’s a flexible, funnel-shaped cup made of medical-grade silicone that’s inserted inside the cervix where it collects the menstrual blood instead of absorbing it like a tampon does. Like Sirona Menstrual Cup For Women that’s made with high-quality, toxin-free, odor-free and hypoallergenic silicone. Just like me, Neha Kothari, Senior Analyst at Citibank too thought it to be equally gross, “Ewww! Why would I ever want to put it inside my vagina and collect blood in it?” Apparently, women the world-over are singing its praises, there must be something to it. As they say, ‘there’s always a first time’. This pressed all the right buttons mostly because I’m devoted to staying environment friendly for eons now. Since we can wash and reuse the menstrual cup umpteen times, it enables us to reduce our carbon footprint in the environment. I knew I had to give this a go.  

But it doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone. And it sure didn’t for me. Neither did it for Jivita Budhrani, Assistant Manager at ASCENT Foundation, who struggled and eventually succeeded. She divulges, “It took me all morning to figure how to insert it. I knew I would be spending all day doing this.” Patience is a virtue, eh?

Although one cue that genuinely bolstered up my process came from Sharanya Iyer, Travel Blogger at TrulyNomadly. She urges you to, “Try it first on a dry day. You know, on a day you don’t have your period. It’s not that bad when you get the hang of it.” Boy, did I take her up on it! Aside from this, what I also realised along the way is that ordering just any cup doesn’t cut it. You need the right cup size for your body (there are different sizes available based on your flow, your sexual activity, and even the length of your cervix). Try SanNap Menstrual Cup which comes in three different sizes. Don’t get overwhelmed, ‘cause it’s not rocket science.You can try these too: Pee Safe US FDA Approved Reusable Menstrual Cup with Medical Grade Silicone for Women - Large (1N), Sanfe Medium Reusable Menstrual Cup For Women - 1 Pc, iCare Hygienic Menstrual Cup Large

how to wear menstrual cup
how menstrual cups work

Here’s e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g you need to know about Menstrual Cups before using it for the first time:

  • Keep calm and don’t rush it. It’s going to take you more than a couple of attempts to wedge it into your cervix correctly. I memorized the instructions on the box, watched the how-to YouTube video about 5000 times, only then did I try it out. What may begin with a rough start will definitely have a smooth-flowing, oops, sailing end.
  • Breath in. Breath out. Repeat. It’s important to relax when you’re putting it in. And don’t panic when you can’t get it out. Trust me, it gets easier. P.S: Squatting helps.
  • Hygiene level: To the max. When using pads or tampons, there are toxins that get absorbed into our body often leading to what’s called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Want to know some horror stories? Google it. And guess what, you can say goodbye to that period smell which, as we all know, is very real.
  • One menstrual cup will last you up to 10 years. Listen to the sound of all that money you’re saving. Ka-Ching!
  • Psst: It takes 500-800 years to decompose a sanitary napkin. Can you even imagine the repercussions it has on the environment? There’s no comparison with menstrual cups that’re eco-friendlier in nature, right?
  • Unlike tampons and pads, you don’t need to change it once every few hours. Now, you can go 10-12 hours straight without making a dash to the ladies’ room. Hello tension-free traveling!
  • The first time is horrible, but it does get better. You do feel uncomfortable when it’s wedged up and takes some getting used to, but by Day 2 you’ll be quite capable of forgetting it’s there at all (especially since you don’t have to worry about changing it every couple of hours).
  • It can leak… sometimes. But that’s ONLY if it’s placed improperly or if you have heavy flow. I wore a pad along with the cup for the first two days, just in case.
  • Warning for those suffering from hemophobia: It is a blood bath. Accept that your hands are going to get a wee bit bloody when you’re emptying the cup and washing it. Nothing washing your hands like you normally do can’t solve. iCare Hygienic Menstrual Cup Large has an added advantage since it comes with cloth pads.
In a nutshell, did I struggle? Hell yeah. Was it as gross and uncomfortable as it sounds? Not anymore. Am I going to use it for every period? Maybe not at a stretch the first few times. But overall, it wasn’t as scary as I’d anticipated it to be. In fact, it’s so effective (12-nonstop hours of Netflixing is enough proof), that Fagun Mehta, Founder at Concept And Design, confesses to making the switch, “I’m never going back to pads or tampons again.”
I’d urge you to give it a go and join the Cup Club. It’s legit.  
All images used in this article are for representation purposes only 
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