Why I made the switch to the Menstrual Cup

Why I made the switch to the Menstrual Cup

I’ve been meaning to write this post for the last 6 months. That’s around the time I actually made the switch to the menstrual cup from disposable hygiene products. It has been, without question, one of the best decisions of my life! And I wanted to write it, believe me, I did. But so many things held me back.

For one, what would people think? I confess I over-think every single thing. So one of the biggest things that held me back was wondering how people would react/respond to this post. People rarely talk about menstruation, let alone menstrual products, without making it a hush-hush conversation. As a woman and a mom, though, I felt this is an important conversation that we can all benefit from. And I’ve done something related to this already!

Remember my post on having the Puberty talk with my tween? That’s still a topic many people read on my blog!

For another, I was a bit hesitant since I didn’t want to sing a product’s praises without trying it for a suitable length of time. I figured six months would be a reasonable benchmark, so I could factor in any concerns as well.

The third reason? There are already plenty of articles out there on making the switch to the menstrual cup. Why was I writing one more? Well, as it turns out, there isn’t nearly enough out there to convince people to make the switch. I had first heard about this product in 2014 but it was only in August, 2017 that I worked up the courage to actually do something about it.

So, you see, that’s a three-year wait. And what finally pushed me over to the other side? A comfortable, open conversation with 2 friends who had been using it. Then followed one month of reading extensive articles and blog posts (like this one!) by other users. My YouTube account saw the most action on this subject, when I watched numerous videos on the topic. Finally, joining a very supportive Facebook group on sustainable menstruation where many, many questions were answered, sealed the deal.

And that, my friends, is how this post came into being. As a mother, I cannot tell you how this has changed my life, on so many levels. As a woman, it has helped me come face to face with certain limitations in my mindset. Finally, as a person, I am hoping this will help many of you reading, to either consider the switch or recommend it to the women in your life.

I’ll first talk about my personal experience with the menstrual cup and then follow it up with reasons I made the switch. In conclusion, I shall share relevant links to websites, videos and literature on the menstrual cup, so that you may make an informed decision.

My Experience

**Longish post** (Deals with #menstruation so if that makes you uncomfortable, you can stop reading now)😃 I’ve been reading about #menstrualcups a lot over the last three years. I’ve had friends urging me to try one. But I’ve balked at the idea for all the reasons usually associated with this: 1. I didn’t know if I’d feel comfortable 2. I wasn’t clear on how to use it. 3. What if it gets stuck?! 4. What about the ‘ick’ factor? Then, last month, another friend casually mentioned that she had made the switch and it was incredible. Somehow, the casual way she said it made me think about it again. Should I give it a try? So I came home, went online and started reading again. Watched videos. Again. But this time it wasn’t casual curiosity. This time I wanted to know more. After a week, I was sufficiently brave to head over to the #Boondh website and order my first ever cup. It came home a week later. I had another two weeks to wait to try it out. Or so I thought. I was scheduled to travel on Wednesday night and horror of horrors, I got my period four days early this month. On the morning of Wednesday! Yeah, Murphy. Laugh away. I flinched at the idea of trying this thing on a flight for the first time. Almost changed my mind. But glad I didn’t. Long story short, I am thrilled with the experience. * I got the hang of the cup on the second try. * I travelled without discomfort. * I had fewer cramps. * I managed very well. Ladies, make the shift. It’s a blessing. Trust me. Ask questions in comments/over DM. Will be happy to answer 😊

A post shared by Shailaja V (@shailajav) on

In August 2017, I had finally worked up the courage to try out the cup for the first time. All the research and all the literature promised that even if I didn’t get it right on day 1, I would eventually get the hang of it. I took a deep breath and decided to give it a go.

Murphy has this annoying ability to throw spanners into your plans when all goes well, doesn’t it? That month, my cycle went haywire and I was staring at the possibility of travelling with this item! As the Instagram post above explains, that fortunately, went well!

Did I get it on the first try? No. It took me about three tries to understand exactly how to insert the cup.

Did I feel the cup inside? Again, no. I was surprised and a bit concerned frankly but it turned out to be the most comfortable experience!

Were there accidents/leaks? Initially? Yes. So I’d suggest wearing a backup pad or liner for the first few times.

Do I have any problems with the cup, six months later? NONE whatsoever. I am thrilled to have made the switch and I cannot imagine ever going back to disposable hygiene products.


I understand that you’d want to hear actual, valid reasons to move out of your comfort zone and attempt something for the first time. Here’s one: I am on the verge of turning 40 in April this year. That means, I was 39 when I made the switch.It’s never too late to start. Trust me on this.

Given below are 7 other reasons I feel every woman should make the switch.

7 Reasons You should make the switch to the Menstrual Cup. Click to Tweet

Easy on the environment

An average woman menstruates for 38 years. In that time, she throws away 150 kg or close to 300 pounds of disposable products. Worldwide, it is estimated that 432 million pads are disposed every month*. Every month! Since these are non-biodegradable, they stay in landfills for 800 years. Think about that for a second.

A menstrual cup, on the other hand, is made of medical grade silicone or TPE and can be reused for up to 10 years!

*TIP: For young girls just starting on their menses, a cup may be difficult to get used to. Do look at the alternative of eco-friendly sanitary pads as an option.

Easy on the pocket

How much do you spend on pads or tampons each month? Anywhere from INR 200 to 400, I am guessing, if the popular sanitary napkin brands are anything to go by. That’s each month, right?

Now, a menstrual cup costs anything from INR 500/= to 2000/= and that’s (largely) a one-time investment. I cannot begin to tell you how this makes me feel. Yes, there would be times when you may feel like changing the cup based on comfort or convenience but that won’t happen every month. A change may occur once in 6 months to a year, if that. Once you’ve found the best cup for you, it’s a lifelong relationship.

*TIP:Β  How to choose the right menstrual cup: A guide and comparison chart.

Very portable & easy to clean

The menstrual cup is a compact item that easily fits into any handbag or clutch. You can carry it with you everywhere! All you need access to is running water to clean the cup and re-insert it. And you’re good to go! Travel becomes incredibly simpler with this life-saving product!

*TIP: Carry a bottle of water if you think you may not have access to toilets with clean water,especially when traveling by road/train.

Hand holding menstrual cup next to a bunch of flowers
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Safer than Pads or Tampons

One of the biggest draws for me when I made the switch was realising that the cup doesn’t absorb the blood, like a pad or tampon, but collects it. This also means that the cup doesn’t have to be emptied for up to 8 or 9 hours, whereas pads need to be changed every couple of hours.

Cups are made of medical grade silicone which makes them non-toxic, compared to other items. Tampons have been known to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome and pads have a chemical comparable to chlorine bleach added to them which makes them look extra white!*

*TIP: If a cup freaks you out, start with switching to cloth pads. There are some fantastic options available in the market today!

Lesser Discomfort

Ever found yourself worrying about a leaky pad in the middle of a work meeting or a presentation? How about physical discomfort such as rashes? With the cup, you have no such problems. You also get to learn a lot about your anatomy as you use the cup regularly.

*TIP: It may be a little awkward initially, to touch blood, as you use the cup. With a few attempts, this problem goes away. I guarantee it.

Fewer cramps

As a teenager and as an adult, the one thing I have always dreaded is the inevitable onslaught of debilitating menstrual cramps. Some days would be so bad that I’d double up in pain, pop a painkiller (or two), clutch hot water bottles to my abdomen and back and be rendered completely ineffective.

Now, this may be a personal experience, but my cramps reduced by 80% after I switched to the cup. I believe there is a scientific explanation for it although I am not sure what it is exactly. Point being, I can now survive a period without painkillers! That’s an amazing thing!

*TIP: Persistent cramps can also be a sign of other menstrual problems such as PCOS or fibroids, so do check with your gynecologist on the topic. I’ve had PCOS but treatment and exercise helped with that.

Freedom to indulge in activity

If you are the kind who enjoys physical activity such as walking, jogging, running, playing a sport or swimming, I have great news for you! You can do all of these while wearing the cup!

It’s incredible how much freedom you have when wearing these things! No fear of leakage and no trouble with needing to change pads midway through a high-powered exercise routine!

*TIP: Inversions during Yoga are generally not advised, with or without the cup, so be judicious in this case. Most cup manufacturers have options designed for women based on their activity levels, from sedentary folk to high-impact fitness enthusiasts. Choose your cup accordingly.


So, with that, I ask you, does this make you consider the idea of making the switch? I know it can be intimidating and overwhelming, so if you’d rather talk about this with me you can do the following:

Leave a comment here on the post and ask me any question. I will get back to you.

If you’re not comfortable talking about it here, send me a private message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or even better, send me a mail to: shailaja @ shailajav dot com

What can you do right away?

Share this post πŸ™‚ Tweet it, pin it, stumble it, share it on Facebook, anything at all.

Women, tell your friends about the cup. Men, if you’re reading, share it with the women who can use this post.


Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and all views expressed in this post are based on my personal experience as a user of the menstrual cup. Neither am I affiliated with any brand that sells personal hygiene products nor do I endorse any specific cup. Kindly use your own discretion while purchasing any product.

This post does not contain any affiliate links.


*Featured and Pinnable images courtesy: Shutterstock

Cited references:

  1. Be careful when you dispose that napkin
  2. Β Most feminine hygiene products contain toxic chemicals

 

Helpful Links and Resources to all things related to the Menstrual Cup

Choosing a menstrual cup

Menstrual cup comparison chart

How to insert a menstrual cup

Choosing the right cloth pads (If you’re still not convinced about the cup)

 

Video Channels I recommend:

Hygiene and You

Precious Star Pads

Facebook support groups for Sustainable menstruation

Sustainable menstruation India

Menstrual Cups Worldwide

 

Comments

comments

28 thoughts on “Why I made the switch to the Menstrual Cup

    1. Thanks for reading, Shantala.

      I agree it can take a big leap of faith. But once done, it’s very liberating. Do give it a go and in the US you have access to some of the best brands available.

      Any other questions, feel free to ask πŸ™‚

  1. I have been thinking of giving it a go too, but the big hindrance is non availability of running water inside toilet stalls, so I am not really sure how one can wash it in the public or office bathrooms. I mean you will have to go out of the stall into the sink area. Or am I missing something here.
    I tried tampons and they are so ehhh… Didnot like them at all.
    I will order one cup any way and see how that goes.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted 5 Short Poems – Love, Life and TravelMy Profile

    1. I totally get that, especially in places outside India where there isn’t access to running water inside the stalls. You can carry a small bottle filled with tap water, rinse the cup, empty it in the toilet and re-insert it. That’s what many women do, especially in the US πŸ™‚

      Never tried tampons so can’t speak for that, but this, this is amazing! Let me know if you need any other help.

  2. I made the switch around a year ago. and there has been no looking back ever since. The initial months, I had issues too. But slowly did get used it. Your posts surely brings in more awareness about the product and hopefully more people would make the switch, for themselves as well for the environment.

    1. Thank you, Ramya! Isn’t it an amazing thing? I can’t believe I stayed away for so long. Kicking myself for the delay! But, better late than never, right? πŸ™‚

      I certainly hope more people make the switch soon πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the kind words.

  3. I have been a part of the same FB group for ages. I first heard about it many years ago and somehow never got around to trying it. Somehow, I am still a fence sitter. Not sure if I will give it a try. One of the reasons is that I am hoping to be done with periods in the near future.

    But thanks for sharing your experience. I am sure it will help many women.
    Rachna Parmar recently posted Domestic Abuse – It is Never Okay to SufferMy Profile

    1. Oh I totally get that fence sitting position. I was there for 3 years πŸ™‚

      Actually, now may be a great time to try it. You can wear it on the days when you suspect it may arrive without having to check often. Works great for irregular periods. Such a life saver πŸ™‚

      Of course, no compulsion. I understand it takes a leap of faith.

      Thanks, Rachna. Hope it will help a few women make the shift.

  4. Thanks for this, Shailaja. I have been contemplating switching to this. But there is no one in my circle who uses this so I didn’t know what or which one to buy. This brings me back to the next question, which brand should I buy and from where did you purchase yours?

    1. Hey Naba, there are plenty of brands actually. I went with a very simple one, as mentioned in the Instagram post above. But I am planning to buy another one based on the comparison chart I have linked in the post.

      I will Whatsapp you on things to keep in mind while making the purchase. So glad you’re thinking about it πŸ™‚ That’s the first step.

    1. Hey Balaka, that’s great about organic pads! Are they bio degradable ones?

      As for infections, I have had absolutely ZERO of those since I started using the cup πŸ™‚ With pads I used to have that problem.

  5. Thanks for sharing a detailed take on cups. I want to switch but was insure as you were in those 3 years. But now, feel more comfortable to try out.
    Please also suggest some good brands, as e-comm sites are full of options.

    1. Hey Dipika! You’re welcome. I am thrilled this is making you consider it.

      Regarding brands, I would suggest looking at the comparison chart I have mentioned in the post. Else, join the Facebook group I have recommended. They have a good discussion session on different brands.

      I have heard good things about SheCup, StoneSoup and RusticArt. All three are Indian brands.

    1. Oh yes, they do! At least for me, they do πŸ™‚

      Thanks, Tulika πŸ™‚ I am hoping that a few people will be convinced to make the switch based on this. Fingers crossed.

  6. Great article! I made a switch to tampons a year ago and love the freedom and rash-free experience. I don’t think I’ll ever insert a cup down there. Plus, I’ll be happy to not produce period waste if nature would be nice enough to spare me (us) the inconvenience! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for reading! Glad that tampons are working for you, Suman πŸ™‚ Curious though. Why would you not insert a cup down there? What keeps you back?

      As for the Nature bit, I don’t think we have that in our control πŸ˜‰

  7. Trying to love a sustainable life, I have been exploring options in reducing my garbage for ages. This is one such area which has been plaguing me and I hear you when you say it took you 3 years. I am still on the fence about it as I seriously am not comfy with inserting it – yes thats my block. ANother thing is my flow is not huge anymore and I have a feeling I am running towards menopause sooner than later; so I have been mulling over cloth pads and researching those. ANother month and I think I will be there.
    As usual Shy you write so effortlessly about such a taboo topic and are honest about your own reactions, making it so much easier to relate to it.

  8. Thanks for this post, Shy! I am glad you wrote it! I guess I will get back my periods within 2 months! I am already worried about using those napkins! Now, I am not sure how will my flow be, it is like a fresh start again! I am one of those lucky people to stay away from periods for a year post delivery (all for the 25 days bleeding immediately after delivery). That was a nasty time. Though normal, the stitches caused me much problems and using napkins caused a few infections too! Now that I am towards the period phase, I just want to be more aware of what I am using! Yes, I worry a lot about the environment too. And am more worried about the pets that are all over the garbage we throw. So, these two things concern me and make me feel guilty. All said, I want to switch, but I have WhatsApp’d you one of my first and most concerned doubt! πŸ˜€
    JayanthyGovindarajan (@JayanthyG) recently posted #WednesdayVerses: Shadow of our LoveMy Profile

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