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.
**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 😊
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.
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: 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.
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!
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.
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 🙂 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
- Be careful when you dispose that napkin
- Most feminine hygiene products contain toxic chemicals
Helpful Links and Resources to all things related to the Menstrual Cup
How to measure your cervix before choosing a 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