Menstrual cups have been on the market for several decades and are now used by more than a million women worldwide. With the evolution of “conscious & responsible living”, people in India are switching to menstrual cups.
We understand that many of you might be uncomfortable with the idea but trust us, it is a game-changer. It has genuinely helped us to experience previously dreaded period days like any other normal day. Menstrual cups have changed the period experience for us into a more positive, and comfortable one. Furthermore, menstrual cups are a greener and healthier alternative to tampons and disposable pads.
Read this article to comprehend all the key points of a menstrual cup.
How To Use Menstrual Cup For Beginners
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Menstrual Cup? How Does It Work?
- What Makes Menstrual Cups A Better Choice?
- Recommended Indian Brands
- What Size To Buy
- Who Can Use
- Things To Do When Using Cups For The First Time
- How To Sterilize/ Clean The Cup
- How To Fold The Cup
- Positions To Try While Inserting The Cup
- How To Insert And Remove The Cup
- When To Empty The Cup
- Will It leak
- Backup Option
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Menstrual Cup? How Does It Work?
A menstrual cup is small bell-shaped equipment that can be inserted into the vagina to safely & hygienically collect menstrual blood during periods. The cup is made of medical-grade silicone, a material similar to the ones that are used in baby feeding bottles.
Unlike tampons, menstrual cups do not dry out your vagina or make you susceptible to vaginal infections. This is primarily because menstrual cups collect menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it as pads do.
What Makes Menstrual Cups A Better Choice?
Tampons, pads, and panty liners coupled with their packaging & individual wrapping generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. For instance, a sanitary pad could take anywhere from 500-800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable. With each female using an average of 8 pads per cycle, more than 12 billion sanitary pads are disposed of every year by women in India alone.
Apart from it being the greener choice, here are a few more irrefutable benefits of choosing menstrual cups to sole your period problems:
- Comfortably wear your desired dress, even a bikini
- Freedom to perform any physical task
- No need to stress over safe disposal – zero waste
- Reusable, can last for 5-10 years with good care
- More hygienic with no chemicals
- Saves Money – Cost-effective
- No itching rashes or irritation
- Portable & Flexible
- Doesn’t leak
- More comfortable than the pads, so you’ll forget that the cup is inside
- Helps you understand your body better
Above all, you would be saving over 5000 pads in this lifetime. So, there’s no downside to choosing cups over pads & tampons!
Recommended Indian Brands
- Boondh Cups – one size, Rs.500
- Sirona Hygiene – 3 sizes, Rs. 289
- Rustic Art Cup – 2sizes, Rs. 700- 900
- Pee Safe – 3 sizes, Rs. 279
Personal Recommendation: We have been using Boondh Cups for over 2 years now. We can state with confidence that we haven’t faced any problems and we highly recommend it.
What Size To Buy
A small size is a good place to start if you are just starting your menstrual cycle or experiencing regular flow. However, the large size is recommended if you have given birth or experiencing a heavy flow.
We started with a medium size cup and have been stuck with it since then. Purchased the same medium size again as the size fits perfectly even today.
Who Can Use
Any women! There is no vagina too small or too big. The vagina is a muscle that can stretch and compress repeatedly. So, it can definitely expand to fit a Menstrual cup and return to its normal state once removed.
However, if you are allergic to Silicone then menstrual cups are unfortunately not for you.
Things To Do When Using Cups For The First Time
We do understand that by now your head’s popping with a hundred questions about – Painful? Safe? Hygienic? Comfortable? Messy? Don’t worry. We have been there as well. The best advice would be, don’t wait until your period date to figure out how to use the cup.
- Do your research
- Watch videos
- Read articles & tips
- Have an open conversation with the ones who are using it already
Above everything, be prepared mentally. Plan to try in your home or a spacious washroom for the first time and on a relaxed day.
How To Sterilize/ Clean The Cup
- At the beginning and end of each cycle or the start of every day of your periods, put the cup in boiled water. Do ensure, you do not heat the cup in the boiling water.
- Wash the cup with water and clean it thoroughly before inserting it every time.
- After use, store it in the small cloth bag that the cup came with.
How To Fold The Menstrual Cup
Folding the cup reduces the diameter which makes things easier for you as you cannot insert the cup as is. Although there are different ways to fold this flexible cup, the following folds are more popular and are used by many.
- Punch down fold – Agalya’s choice
- C fold – Atchaya’s choice
- 7 fold
This video will help you with the different ways in which you can fold a menstrual cup. Try & figure out what works best for you.
Positions To Try While Inserting The Cup
Experiment with the below positions and see what works best for you.
- Indian toilet squat
- Half sitting or squatting
- One leg raise
While we have tried them all, the best position that has worked for both of us is to sit on the western toilet seat, spread both legs apart, and gently insert the cup.
How To Insert And Remove The Cup
Fold the cup position yourself more comfortably and insert the cup. You would hear a pop sound (which occurs most of the time) which is an indication that your cup has opened and is ready to collect the blood.
While removing, carefully squeeze the cup to an extent where the vacuum is broken. You will be easily able to pull out once the vacuum created is popped off. Don’t try to pull as is. While removing if the blood spills, clean it with water or tissue. There is nothing to be awkward about here as it is your discharge.
Ensure to wash your hands with soap before and after the process. If you experience pain, stop using it for the next 1-2 cycles. Be easy and don’t force it. It is absolutely normal for it to take at least 3 cycles to get a hang of the process.
When To Empty The Cup
When you start, empty the cups at the same frequency at which you usually change the pads. After a couple of cycles or more, you will instinctively know when your cup needs to be emptied.
In general, it usually takes 8-12 hours. This largely depends on the size of the cup and the blood flow.
Will It leak
It will NOT leak. If inserted correctly, there is NO leakage AT ALL! Place your hands around the rim of the cup or try pulling out a little to check if the vacuum is created and sits perfectly.
During our first cycle when we used a menstrual cup, we used a cloth pad in order to check leakage. Use both until you are confident enough.
Have reusable cloth pads as a backup if you lose your cup or you accidentally drop it in a toilet. Have at least 2-4 cloth pads handy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will my hymen break (lose virginity) if I use a Menstrual Cup?
No. Your hymen won’t break by using a menstrual cup. The hymen; is often considered “proof of virginity” by many. It is not a magical door that seals Vagina. The hymen is an elastic tissue that has holes, from where the blood flows out during your menstrual cycle.
Virginity is a misconstrued cultural and emotional construct, rather than a physical one. It has no bearing on your physical body or character.
- Will the cup get lost in my vagina?
A menstrual cup is safe to use. It is big enough that it cannot pass through the cervix; it stays in the vagina and cannot reach the uterus. So, it can never be lost inside your vagina.
- Can I poop or pee while using a menstrual cup?
These are 3 different holes in the female genital region. The urethra is where we pee, the vagina is where we menstruate, and the anus is where we poop. Since each hole is different, you can pee or poop with a menstrual cup, and no discomfort will be caused cause of the cup.
- How to empty the cups if I’m outdoors or while traveling?
Dig a hole in the sand and empty the menstrual cup. Cover it with sand on the top. Wash your hands and cup with water and reinsert it.
- Will Vagina lose its elasticity if I use a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups do not lose your vagina or permanently stretch. Due to its elastic property, the vagina is going to return to its normal state, not expand.
Happy Menstruating! and have a comfortable time during your periods. Share this blog with your friends and family who are still using disposable sanitary pads that are harmful to their bodies. It is very important for people to understand how their body functions and to make healthier choices. With limited access to mainstream information on these matters, it is important to generate awareness. So spread the word, and recommend (don’t force) them to use menstrual cups which are safe and healthy, in addition to being the greener option.
Stay tuned with us, for relevant content.