Last year, the Menstrual Cup was a mystery to me as I had heard a buzz around it but had never had a rendezvous with one. That’s when I met Ritika who had been using the cup for over four years and was an expert to talk to. She introduced me to the cup and we also did a video together to counter the inquisitive questions and understand how it is used.
Before we dwell further, I think it makes sense for you to go through the video once to understand what is a menstrual cup and how to wear one.
So what is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood). It is a healthy, reusable and eco-friendly substitute to the Sanitary Napkins and Tampons.
Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.
After the video, I tried using the cup many times but it felt uncomfortable just like how I would feel with a large tampon. It did not feel as she had mentioned and I kept wondering why would women like this over anything else? I put it back and went back to using sanitary napkins and forgot about it. Then one day I just decided to call Ritika again and ask her if I was doing something wrong as women around were swearing by it. I realised I was not pushing it ‘all the way’ in, fearing how it will get out. Ritika laughed and promised me that nothing of the sort will happen. So I tried once more I pushed it in all the way in.
It was a Eureka moment for me, as I realised I had been using it wrong all this while. All I had to do to take it out was just part my legs a little extra and don’t worry it will come back. There was no looking back for me and the last few months have been so comfortable. I do not have to worry about stains or leakages. I can wear white without fear and yes you will know when it is full or nearly full, so you need to take it out then to avoid stains. All I need to ensure is that the cup is cleaned and sterilised with soap and hot water. Did I mention that it is environmentally and pocket-friendly too?
These are some common concerns that we have taken up, but if you have any other questions, do shoot and we promise to answer those too;
How is Menstrual Cup better than Tampons and Pads?
Tampons and Pads are made of chemically bleached cotton apart from chemicals like dioxin, rayon, pesticides, artificial fragrances etc.
These are known to cause cancer of breast, cervix, ovaries and bladder.
They cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.
They also cause irritation, rashes and infections.
A woman leaves behind 17,000 used pads on the planet where each of the pads takes 500 to 800 years to decompose.
No stocking of pads and tampons every month.
One time investment to buy the Cup
How will this cup fit inside my vaginal cavity?
It will. It is just the perfect size to fit inside although women who are sexually active may find it easier to use it. In fact, once itís inside you wonít even feel it. It
wouldnít even occur to you that thereís something in there. Once inserted into your vaginal cavity, it forms a suction/vacuum that helps it stay inside with no
worries at all. So much so that you can run, swim, wear that white trouser and be sure that there will be no spots.
How is that possible?
Well, it is made in such a way that it just about fits inside your cavity and doesnít move unless you take it out. So it collects all the flow and all you have to do is take
it out, rinse and put it back!
Is that a hygienic thing to do?
It’s probably the most hygienic way of going through your periods. There’s no blood on the pads that you have to see, there’s no odour, there’s no worry of disposing of
used pads. All you need to do is sterilise it before and after your periods. During your periods, you only need to rinse it properly under running water. It is much,
much more hygienic than pads or tampons, which may cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, itching, redness, rashes, etc.
How do I clean it?
At the beginning of each period:
1. Use hot water to sterilise it. Take hot / boiling water in a mug and put the cup in it. You can also boil the cup in a vessel full of water so that the cup does not settle
in bottom and burn. You can wash the cup with mild non-fragrant soap before putting it in hot water.
2. Sterilise the cup before your periods in boiling water for 8-10 mins. Use a non-fragrant mild soap.
1. Remove the cup from the vaginal cavity and rinse it thoroughly in fresh running water.
2. You can wash it with warm/hot water with the soap strips provided or with a mild soap.
At the end of each period:
1. Use hot water to sterilise it. Take hot / boiling water in a mug and put the cup in it. You can wash the cup with mild non-fragrant soap before putting it in hot water.
2. Sterilise the cup before your periods in boiling water for 8-10 mins.
How often do I need to remove and rinse the cup during the period?
Once in 8 to 12 hours is enough. Usually, once while taking the morning bath and once before going to bed is sufficient. For days with heavy flow, you can do it more
frequently. It will take 3-4 cycles for you to get used to the cup. That will determine how often you need to empty the cup, which way is easier for you to insert and
remove the cup. This process will also help you understand your body better. If the cup fits perfectly, there will be no spotting at all. There are only two reasons why
spotting should happen:
1. The cup hasn’t opened up inside.
2. The cup is full
How do I know if the cup has opened inside?
It’s fairly simple. You will feel it pop open. It might take 1-2 mins or less than that, but you will feel it. If it hasn’t opened, try rotating it 360 degrees while it is still
inside. That should work.
How to store it?
After your periods, sterilise the cup in boiling water for 8-10 mins, let it dry completely and store it in the cloth pouch provided. Keep it in an airy, clean place. Do not store it in an airtight container.
What do I do if I get my period while I am travelling?
If you do not have access to hot water to sterilise it before use, simply wash it with a soap in running water and insert. Once you are back at home, sterilise it
normally and insert again.
Does it hurt when being inserted or removed?
No, it does not. You must learn how to do it with the help of practice and finding your own comfortable way of doing it. But it does not hurt.
Do I need to replace my menstrual cup with a new one?
Usually, one cup will last a lifetime. If proper care is taken regarding sterilisation, there should be no issues. You need to order another one only if you lose the
What do I do if I cannot take it out of my vaginal cavity?
Once you have used it, you will never be bothered with this question. However, for first-time users, this might seem like a big fear-factor.
If you find yourself in a situation when the cup is not coming out, hereís what you should do:
1. Relax. It will come out easily.
2. Squat on the floor with your legs apart.
3. Slowly put bowel pressure (like you are pooping), pinch the bottom of the cup to release the vacuum and pull the cup out.
4. It will come out smoothly.
5. Do note that simply by putting bowel pressure the cup won’t come out on its own. You will have to pull it out with your fingers.
Itís my first time. How do I begin using it?
First-time users should do a couple of dry runs. Basically, use it when you do not have your period to get used to it. Once you have comfortably learned how to insert,
remove and clean it; this will become a lifestyle shift. Also remember, it is much easier to insert and remove the cup during your periods since there is a good amount
of lubrication because of your blood. So if it doesn’t seem to be working out on the dry runs, don’t worry.
What else should I keep in mind?
1. Wash your hands with a soap while, before and after removing/inserting.
2. The cup, when used by a virgin, may break the hymen.
What if there is odour or stains on the cup?
Add 1 tbsp of soda bicarbonate or baking soda in a mug of hot water and soak the cup in the solution for 8-10 minutes. Wash and dry in sunlight for some time.
Small ñ For women of age between 18 to 25 years and Height less than 5 ft
Circumference 4.0cm* Height 7.0cm
Stem Length :25mm;
Large ñ For women above 18 years and Height above 5 ft
Circumference 4.5cm* Height 7.0cm
Stem Length :25mm;
Move on to the cup ladies, here is why;
- Easy to use
- Lower cost
- Chemical free
- No embarrassing odours
- More time in-between changes
- Delicate vaginal pH stays in tack
- Significantly fewer trips to the drug store
- Great for the environment and reduction of waste
I am sure after discovering the cup you are going to be like why didn’t I know of this earlier?
However, everything has its cons and here are what you need to be aware of;
1. There can be chances of an Infection without proper care:
Your cup and your hands need to be cleaned well before insertion. So thinking of using this during hiking trips may not be a great idea.
2. Improper fit:
Everybody is different and the cup can sometimes be a problem for eg if you have fibroids or a dropped uterus, it may or may not fit in properly. But you have many options available in the market now and I am sure you can find one of your size.
3. Allergic reaction:
If you are allergic to silicone then this can cause an allergic reaction in your body.
But these are very regular issues and with proper care you can avoid any of these.
p.s. This is not a sponsored post. All the experiences mentioned are my own.