Ladies, who said tampons and pads were your only saviours during the monthly crimson tide?
Menstrual cups have been around for a few years, but not much has been spoken about these little female hygiene wonders. Read on for everything you need to know about menstrual cups and you may be convinced to change your choice of period protection for good.
First Things First, What Exactly Is A Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a little bell shaped vessel with a stem at the bottom that collects menstrual blood instead of absorbing it like a tampon or pad. It has tiny holes below the rim to create a suction seal once inserted in the vagina.Once it collects blood, it is removed, emptied and then re-inserted.
They Aren’t As Uncomfortable As They Sound
Cups are as comfortable as tampons. You may feel a little uncomfortable for a bit after you insert it for the first time, but that feeling will go away and you won’t even know it’s there. Just like with a tampon, if it’s making you feel really uncomfortable, it could be because you haven’t inserted it right. Oh and you never have to worry about rashes and chafing like with pads.
How Do You Insert It?
If you’re a regular tampon-user then this shouldn’t be difficult and if you’ve been one to favour pads, don’t worry you will get it in a few tries.
Begin by washing your hands.
Next, push down the sides of the cup to create a ‘U’ shape, or push down the top rim of the cup in the centre to create a triangle shape. This makes it smaller and easier to insert into the vagina. You didn’t think you would be putting that big bell-shape inside you as it is, did you?!
Holding the cup firmly in the folded position, bend or sit in a comfortable position and insert the cup making sure the stem is pointing towards your palm and the opening is pointing towards your vagina. You don’t need to insert it too far like with a tampon.
Use the stem to rotate the cup and adjust it for proper suction.
To remove, wash your hands before gently tugging at the stem till you reach the base. Then squeeze the base, remove the cup and empty it. Wash and re-insert as required.
They Require Less Frequent Changes
Pads and tampons require changes every few hours, depending on your flow, with menstrual cups you can forget all about it for up to 12 hours. Since, the blood isn’t getting absorbed by your body, there is no risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), which means it’s perfectly safe to remove it, wash it and insert it back just twice a day. It can match the stage of your period: from the heavy flow days to lighter days, one size can handle it all.
What Sizes Do They Come In?
Most menstrual cups come in 2 sizes – one for pre- childbirth and women below 30 and one for women above 30 that is slightly bigger, so it’s perfect for those who have experienced childbirth.
Don’t Be Grossed Out, They Are A Great Option
Does the fact that you have to take it out when it’s filled with blood and wash and reinsert it make you a bit squeamish? Well it shouldn’t! The pros definitely outweigh the fact that you find it a bit gross:
- You may find the cost of a cup quite pricey (anything between Rs. 1,000 - Rs. 4,000) but they’re way more cost-effective than the amount you spend on tampons and pads in a year, since one cup can last you for a couple years.
- You can insert them in the morning and forget about it till evening, without worrying about changing it like with pads and tampons.
- You don’t need to worry about disposing of it every time you need a change.
- They hold more liquid than tampons.
- They are eco-friendly since you’re not eliminating waste into the environment like with tampons and pads/
- They are made from medical-grade silicone and don’t interfere with the vaginas self-cleaning functions like tampons.
- Travelling and sleeping is made much easier as you don’t need to worry about leakage or changing your pad or tampon every few hours.
- You don’t need to remember to carry tampons/pads in your purse anymore.
The Few Cons:
- A menstrual cup requires a bit of maintenance for hygiene reasons. You need to wash it every time you remove it and insert it. Also, be sure to sterilize it in warm water and soap before and after your period.
- It takes some practice and getting used to the insertion and removal of it.
- Some brands come with a pouch, but otherwise, you need to figure out how to safely store them in between periods.
- They could get discolored after some time.
What Cup To Buy?
A few great brands that are available in India are:
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