Imagine This: You are going on with your life and out of blue you start feeling the blues, “Zindagi barbaad hai meri!” Or “Life me kuch nahi bacha!” Or “Why am I even alive?”. You whip out your cell phone, open Maya App and see that your date is approaching. You get clear signal from your body: Cramps. You open that drawer and then the tiny cotton sack containing a menstrual cup. You insert it and forget about periods. Sure, your body still sends not-so-gentle reminders as cramps, but there is no chafing or feeling the discomfort of having something unnatural in between your legs. It is a hot day and you feel like going for a swim, you get that ultra hot swimsuit out and take a dip without worrying about leakage. Isn’t this as close as it can get to having a “Happy period”?
Know This: It is estimated that 432 million pads are disposed EVERY MONTH. Around 113,000 tons of non-biodegradable sanitary waste goes to the landfills and sewerage systems EVERY YEAR, which will take 800 YEARS to degrade. Whats more? They are segregated manually by waste-pickers without any masks or gloves, making them vulnerable to deadly diseases caused by Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E-coli and more. Even burning them result into fumes containing toxic gasses. So basically, we are screwing it up BIG-TIME!
(HIGH) TIME TO SWITCH!
If you’ve known me for a while, there are fair chances of me already having advocated menstrual cups to you. Since I started using it around 6-7 years back, I’ve always had this ‘Teevra Icchha’ of sharing the joy of freedom and better lifestyle that only a Menstrual cup can offer. At the same time, do my bit for our planet earth! Basically, it is a win-win!
Okay! I admit, I’ve done some crazy sh*t out of sheer desperateness; like after spreading the word in my immediate circle, I started buzzing old school mates, asking them to switch to Menstrual Cups or asking them to make their wives switch! *Ateeshay facepalm moment* I almost felt like female version of the Padman: ‘Cupwoman’ may be, creeping the hell out of people out by shoving menstrual cups in their faces or in this case, whats app PMs! (Btw! WTH was wrong with the makers of movie Padman? Who squeezes in a love triangle in the name of creative freedom to dramatize an already over dramatized story? Did you know that Sonam Kapoor’s character was imaginary? *Too late for Topic Diversion Alert*) Okay, okay! Getting back to the mini-miracles!
What is a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cup is female hygiene product which is inserted in the vagina during menstruation. It is generally made of medical grade silicone and it collects and contains the menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it like pads and tampons. They are Eco-friendly and reusable, hence pocket-friendly.
History of menstrual cups: (Because it is interesting!)
I always thought menstrual cups would be relatively new invention but while researching, I was pretty surprised to find that the first prototype of a menstrual cup, called ‘Catamenial Sacs’ was patented in 1860’s-70’s! And trust me, you don’t want to know about them or even see them! They look like a distant ugly cousin of a ‘chastity belt’ and appear to be far from comfortable! No wonder the product did not even make it to the market.
After a very long time, in 1937, an American actress called Leona Chalmers invented a modern day menstrual cup which is very similar to what we use today and it was made from latex rubber. Interestingly, owing to shortage of latex rubber during world war II, the company was compelled to stop the production! (*Made-up Joke Alert* Why did shortage of latex rubber arise during world war II? Because people secretly believed in “Make love, not war!”)
A menstrual cup brand called ‘Tassette’ was launched in 1950’s, with a fat advertising budget. In spite of spending a fortune on marketing the product, company made minuscule sales, since most women then, were not very comfortable with the idea of emptying and cleaning the cup. And the ones who liked using it, did not have to buy it again! The company vanished from the scene in 1967.
Finally, in 1980’s a brand reintroduced menstrual cups and called them “The Keeper”. As the name suggests, “The Keeper” was the keeper! Made from latex rubber, they are still sold in the market.
Coming back to present times, in the wake of 21st century, a new material called medical grade silicone was used in making menstrual cups. Now, even women with latex allergies could use menstrual cups!
How much does a Menstrual cup cost?
Menstrual cups might come across as expensive when you compare it with a pack of sanitary napkins or tampons but the effective cost per period comes down drastically if you consider the fact that you need to buy menstrual cup just once in many years! A menstrual cup can last up to 10 years and it ranges from mere ₹200 (Silky cup) to ₹3100 (Diva cup) in India.
I have a Diva Cup that I ordered from the US, 6-7 years back, since we did not get menstrual cups in India back then. And recently I ordered a “Rustic art” cup as a backup, for ₹765 from Big Basket, which was delivered the very next day.
How to use a Menstrual cup?
Inserting it, is simple yet tricky! The cup comes with the user manual on how to insert it but it takes time to master the art. Be patient and persistent. And take my word, once you do, you will never go back to your old ways again. (I took 6 months to nail it and it was worth the wait, life is much more chilled out and easy!)
Which size to buy?
Most menstrual cups come in two sizes: Small and Large. They might call it differently, like Model 1-Model 2 or Size 1 – Size 2…but basically you have two options.
- Small: For women under 30, who have not delivered. (Type of delivery is irrelevant)
- Large: For women above 30 and/or women who have delivered. (Same thing again)
The difference between both the sizes is not really significant but still picking the right size is important.
What are the dangers of using a Menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups are body-friendly, hygienic, non-allergic, safe and have no major health risks. Though Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS is normally associated with use of tampons, a case was reported, where a woman was found suffering from TSS due to use of menstrual cup. But studies show that cases were reported of non menstruating women and even men suffering from TSS, so it has more to do with hygiene than menstrual cups or tampons.
And please, let us not even bring in the “virginity” angle. Enough of obsessing over a tiny piece of tissue. If it helps, my daughter is going to get a menstrual cup for her very first period.
Click here or here, if you decide to buy one right away! Gift a better life to yourself and all the awesome women in your life! And no, these are not affiliate links, so I am not going to get a penny out of it! So decide for yourself, but do buy!
You’re welcome 🙂
P.S.: The ‘Cupwoman’ is always available for help, information, support or just cheering you while you learn how to use one! Just a message away! And if this changes your life, do send loads of blessings my way and again, spread the word! 🙂
7th May, 2020: Found this amazing brand of menstrual cups called Gaaialife that I’ve been using since almost 6 months now! It was high time to grant my Diva Cup its retirement! Interestingly, Gaaia believes that you need to pick the size of your cup according to the body and flow. L size for heavier flow days and S for lighter ones. So I went ahead and bought a Dual Pack and I’m actually pretty happy with it! It is specially recommended for first time users! So by all means, go ahead and buy Gaaia Menstrual Cup coz it’s ‘Cupwoman’ approved! 😎