Menstrual Cups - A journey towards a healthy, sustainable and eco-friendly menstruation...
My journey with menstrual cups started about a year back. The first time someone told me about this, my reaction was - "There's no way I'm inserting something that big into myself, no matter how beneficial it is!".
After that everywhere I went, I came across it again and again, until the point when I finally convinced myself to invest in one. But even after the purchase, it stayed unused in my cupboard for months. My fear was getting the better of me after all!
One fine day, I decided it's high time I at least gave it a try. I read multiple blogs on how to use it, saw numerous videos and read-up whatever I could about it. On D-day, I braced myself to go for it, no matter what. Obviously, I was scared! But I kept reminding myself that the most important thing to do was to keep breathing and take it slow. I had occasions when I freaked out and dropped the cup , had times when the cup opened up even before I could insert it, but I was determined to keep trying, and lo and behold, after multiple failed attempts, the cup was inside!
It was easier than I had imagined, no pain after insertion, not that difficult to insert either. The cup went in pretty smoothly too. This gave me the hope that probably it was my fear that had blown the situation out of proportion. Now that the cup was inside, all I had to do was wait. I was not sure about leakages, so I wore a sanitary napkin as well, and went about the day. There was a little leakage as it was my first time but zero-to-no discomfort. I was feeling pretty good about myself!
But soon my mind started playing tricks on me and my fears were back! I started freaking out about what would happen if the cup had gone too deep and I was not able to get it out in time. Now, all I wanted was to remove the cup!
I sat on the toilet seat and started pushing as hard as I could. But no matter how much I pushed, the tip of the cup kept slipping from my fingers and I started freaking out more. I told myself that I had no other way other than to keep pushing, because, I most certainly could not just keep it inside of me! So I kept pushing and then, when I had enough of the cup to hold onto, I pinched the cup and plop, it was out in a second!
This was my first time! I did not want to do it again in the same cycle, so I decided to wait until the next. It took me another 2-3 cycles to finally get a hang of it, and then, I wore it for an entire cycle, changing it twice a day. That was it! I had tasted the freedom of going an entire cycle without the icky sanitary napkins (which I had always hated, anyway!), and I knew right away, that I would never go back to using anything else!
There's been no looking back since! I've used this during travels, gone swimming with these on, even worn jeans and light coloured clothes. I was that person who was never comfortable wearing tight pants or light coloured clothes when I had my periods, so this freedom was a big deal to me! I would sometimes even forget the cup was inside me, that was how comfortable and carefree it made me feel.
Some things according to me to keep in mind when you're using the cup are:
Taking it slow and first understanding your body. Using your finger as a guide, before you first insert the cup, helps you insert it better because you know what angle to put it in. It's your body after all, and there's no shame or disgust in doing so.
Keep breathing. I mean this literally. This actually helps your muscles relax, hence aiding in the process of insertion and removal. We generally tend to tense up when under pressure, so anytime you feel like the cup is stuck, check if you're relaxed. In all probability, you must be tensing up. Once you relax, things flow along a lot easier.
Give yourself time to learn and get comfortable. There may be spillages while handling the cup or leaks sometimes, during your initial days, but it'll get easier with time. Again, remembering that the blood is part of your body and accepting it as a natural phenomena helps in dealing with any disgust or icky-ness.
Reminding yourself of why you're doing this, whatever the motivation might be, will surely help you get past any initial hiccups. For me, it was about cutting down on the waste I was sending to landfills, and this helped keep me motivated, on the days when I felt like it was too much of an effort.
Cutting the nails on your primary operational hand is a very important step for comfort and hygiene related reasons, which I learnt the hard way.
Sanitising the cup prior to inserting it, before every cycle, is also very important. Just boiling it for 5 minutes in water, does the trick.
These cups can be used by anyone - sexually active or not. There are numerous videos and tutorials online for the same.
This is the cup I use. It is a boondh cup. I decided on this after hearing about it from multiple people and reading reviews about it. It's a single size cup so basically, its designed to suit everyone. That was one more plus point of choosing this particular brand.
Here is a video on how to use the cup - Demo of Menstrual Cup. I've also shared some tips and tricks here, so make sure you watch the complete video.
I hope this blog helps you take that first step! Let me know in the comments below.