I’m 34-years-old. I care about the environment, and have known about menstrual cups for years. Yet, it took a sample from the good folks at Hiccup to get me to try out a menstrual cup. You see, this is the problem when it comes to women’s health and bodies. We don’t talk about it enough, and when we do, it’s often in rants and complaints. The dominant narrative around menstrual cup has been that they are messy and take some getting used to. When I asked our Instagram followers for tips on how to use menstrual cups, the responses ranged from ‘don’t be freaked out by blood,’ to ‘don’t wear it if you’re going out, at least initially’.
So you can’t blame me for thinking that finally trying out a menstrual cup would mean that I’d be dealing with a pool of blood on my bathroom floor, and blood-soaked fingers that looked more murderous than menstrual. The thought of having to sit in on my period made me gag. This is one of my personal pet peeves – that women are expected to put their lives on hold while they are menstruating. If I hadn’t promised Meenal, the kind-hearted founder of Hiccup, that I’d try out the cup, I probably would never have done it.
I can now confidently say – a menstrual cup will change your life.
Yes, there will be some blood on your fingers. Yes, you might leak the first few times. But with practice, this gets better, I promise. Meanwhile, here are all the wonderful things I learnt about menstrual cups that only your BFF will tell you (if they use one).
Squatting makes both insertion and pulling out easier
In a wise move (if I may say so myself), I phoned a friend before I began my menstrual cup journey. ‘Squat when you’re putting it in,’ she told me. ‘Makes it easier to insert.’ Of course, the first time I inserted the cup, I totally forgot about this nugget of a bleeding sister’s wisdom. While removing the cup, however, her words came whispering back to me. ‘Squat when you’re…’ How about I also squatted while pulling it out? Voila! It worked like a charm. The second time around, I sat all the way down in a malasana and the cup came out without much resistance.
You tend to forget that you’re on your period
A menstrual cup, when inserted properly, is snug and comfortable. Unlike a tampon, you don’t feel a stick poking your insides. Or, a pad which is impossible to forget, thanks to the thickness and the chaffing. Given how unobtrusive a menstrual cup can be (ironic, I know), it’s quite easy to forget you’re on your period
You still need to use other products
Now, assuming your cup is fit perfectly and it doesn’t leak, you still need other products. Throughout my period, I used panty liners – you know, just in case it leaked. It did the first two days, but not much. One change of panty liner in 7 hours. At night, I used a pad. Also, on days that you’re spotting, you might be better off using a panty liner.
Sterilisation is supreme
Well, everyone tells you this. But it can’t be emphasised enough. Sterilise like there’s no tomorrow! Me being me, I also washed my cup with hot water and mild soap (fragrance-free, of course), and then sprayed the cup with this. There’s no such thing as ‘too clean’.
A cup is actually the least messy of all sanitary products
Yes, this one surprised me too. Sure, when you pull out the cup, blood spills. But, that’s about how messy it gets. You wash your hands and move on. No worrying about staining your underpants or the bedsheets. No smelly pads or tampons piling up in your trash can. None of that!
Pro tip: Remove the cup in the shower, and just turn on the faucet/shower to wash off spillage.
You can carry a small purse or just a wallet even on your period days!
Oh yes! Wouldn’t it be awesome to not have to carry pads or tampons around when you’re on your period? To step out for that date night with just a sleek clutch? Or out for brunch with your best friends with just cash and keys in hand? Ah! The dream! Nope… that could be real life if you use a menstrual cup.
You gain time by using a menstrual cup
Changing pads or tampons eats into your time. A single trip to the loo may not feel like much, but those extra couple of minutes add up over months and years. With a cup, you can be in and out, and gain all these extra hours in the process. What will you do with all this time?
I write. I read. I do yoga. I hula hoop. I love cats and dogs in equal measure. I'd say the same for wine. My zen motto: "Eat kale for the body, cake for the soul." Find me on IG: @prachigangwani87