Menstrual Cups

Edited by: Sonal Rana (UG 21)


Lying in the bed with a hot water bottle on her stomach, my friend kept groaning every two seconds. She told me that it was her second day. Like every other time, she just wants her body to stop breaking down her uterus lining already. To make it worse, her fragrant pad was of little comfort to her: the scam between her thighs kept irritating her skin. On a friend's recommendation, she tried using a tampon instead, but to little success, as the alternative only led to her acquiring an infection. Every girl asks this question: why me? She did too. She had been complaining about her rashes for some time now. Irritated and in pain, she let out a sigh, "I just want it to stop”.


Sanitary napkins are a pain, especially to the skin. But there is a better alternative, more comfortable for the skin and cheaper in the long run. The simple answer against the recurrent problem of rashes and infections is the menstrual cup. Menstrual cups, cost approximately 400 rupees, and last for a year if maintained properly. Tampons and sanitary napkins, on the other hand, cost way more annually. Moreover, menstrual cups hold a lot more blood in comparison to other options, and can last upto 12 hours (depending on the flow), which makes it easier to use. However, it is recommended that you remove it 3-4 times a day. Another added advantage of using menstrual cups is that you can swim, play, and do any everyday activity without  noticeable discomfort. Though the painful cramps and the amazon river flowing from your vagina every time you sneeze or cough will keep reminding you of it. One of the major advantages of using menstrual cups is that they are environment-friendly, which tampons and sanitary napkins are not. Instead of absorbing blood, menstrual cups contain blood. Therefore, they reduce the chances of getting TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), which is very common when it comes to tampons that one is advised not to use for more than eight hours. What’s more, using a menstrual cup is arguably more convenient in terms of having sex.


Now see, everything about menstrual cups isn't all that promising. Even menstrual cups have their own downsides, but they’re not as severe as that of tampons and sanitary napkins. Using menstrual cups can sometimes get messy. One has to be more careful while using them because they have to be properly maintained. Also, getting a size that is perfect for you can take some time. Using a menstrual cup can also be problematic for women with a septate hymen, which is an extra band of tissue attached to the hymen that essentially leads to the formation of two vainal openings instead of one. But this issue too has a solution: while some women usually use the menstrual cup in this case by moving the extra tissue aside with their fingers during insertion, others find a more permanent solution and get their hymen surgically removed. 


A spekitcal reader might ask: If menstrual cups are so good and convenient to use, why aren't they popular in Asia, especially India? Well, for one. there are a lot of quarms around the use of menstrual cups. Sometimes, women shy away from its use, thinking it will be disgusting to wash the cup. In the beginning, it is admittedly a little uncomfortable to use, not to mention alien to touch. It takes a little time to get used to, but so is the case with sanitary napkins and tampons. You’ll only find out once you use it. After testing it a few times, if you’re still uncomfortable, then don’t use it. That’s up to your discretion. Another concern that women bear is the worry that the cup will somehow get stuck in their vagina. To clear all doubts, there is no need to worry in this particular matter. True, it can be difficult to remove it when you first start using it, but the minute you get the hang of it, the entire process becomes pretty simple.

Another major reason why menstrual cups aren’t popular yet is because of the backward and conservative thinking of the masses even in the contemporary world, especially in the Indian subcontinent. I still remember watching a particular advertisement that promoted the use of menstrual cups. In the short clip, a woman boldly asserts that other women should not use menstrual cups for they would inadvertently end up losing their virginity. I can assure you, a menstrual cup does not take your virginity, if there is such a thing as ‘virginity’ at all.  It is just there to help you when you’re on your period. So, why not give it a shot?