Posted by Viveka Sah
Periods. I can confidently say the consensus is that they aren’t particularly fun. I remember being in complete denial when I discovered it for the first time – I hoped that if I didn’t pay attention to it, it might just go away. Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it does not work like that. I also remember my intense dislike for pads. They were uncomfortable and wet and the supposed ‘flowery scent’ drove me up the wall. I had to be painfully militant about my sleeping position. They were bulky, difficult to sneak around, and changing them was immensely trying – the acoustics of the bathroom did not lend to being discreet. Basically, pads were a pertinent factor in me hating and dreading my periods – a natural, normal body process. That isn’t exactly the healthiest mindset when you have to live with something for most of your life.
Enter menstrual cups. They’re… interesting? I think a lot of people have heard about them but aren’t really sure how to feel. There’s not much information available, and most of it is hushed up anyway because we’re not comfortable talking about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are in fact, most definitely amazing, and worth every bit of the hype.
I also remember my intense dislike for pads. They were uncomfortable and wet and the supposed ‘flowery scent’ drove me up the wall.
Menstrual cups are small(ish) cups usually made of silicone or some form of rubber, that you insert into your vagina, and they collect the blood by means of suction. There’s no doubt about the fact that they are a lot better than pads or tampons, for multiple reasons – they’re safer, healthier, much more eco and budget-friendly, and can be reused for years! There is also little to no discomfort, you can sleep however you want. Menstrual cups are a blessing if you exercise or play sports.
Like everything else in the world, beginning to use a cup has a few downsides that I think are worth mentioning. They can be difficult to adjust to and use right. Likely, it could take years of searching for the right cup and trying to figure out your body patterns and structure. A lot of people sometimes give up – it can be immensely frustrating in the beginning. It requires an inordinate amount of patience and mental space, especially if you’re just getting to know your body, and aren’t used to dealing with it this way.
If you’re in a particularly challenging or stressful phase of life, it may not be the best idea to start right away. You’ll have to carve out the time and space, and you need a relatively peaceful atmosphere. I can assure you though, it definitely gets better. I think the key is to not fight it and accept that it isn’t going to work out sometimes. You’ll also have to get used to handling a good deal of blood. If you’re squeamish, that might be something to think about. It also feels strange and unnatural for a long time and can occasionally be downright scary. It’s just a matter of getting used to it and accepting it as the norm.
I am not fibbing in the slightest when I say that it’s changed my life.
As much as I wish we lived in a perfect universe where everything was easy, and we could all join the fanciful sisterhood of menstrual cup users who are on a mission to change the world, I’m come to realise that this is a slightly tricky subject. My friend told me the other day that they’d never use a menstrual cup because it just doesn’t feel right. I understand that a lot of people feel this way, especially in our society that’s struggling to escape archaic and patriarchal ways of thinking that aren’t really serving anyone.
I think it just boils down to what you feel is right, and what you think will serve you best. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages, do as much research as you can, but put your intuition above all else. If you’re considering going into this, I encourage you to think deeply about it. We’re all so very guarded about our bodies (rightly so), and this is potentially a very big and personal decision. However, be open to new possibilities!
I am not fibbing in the slightest when I say that it’s changed my life. I’ve become so much more comfortable with a process that is entirely natural, but also entirely vilified today. Coming to terms with it is of so much value. I remember my mother suggested the cup to me quite a few years ago, and at that time I abjectly refused. But two years later, I tried it, and I’ve never looked back.
Boondh and Shecup (this is what I use!) are particularly good Indian brands to try. There are more such cups available on Amazon. FAQ and Various folds are some resources for getting started with the menstrual cup, but I encourage you to do as much research as you can.
An 18-year-old student, Viveka is passionate about health, well-being and equality. When not writing, she can be found devising complex vegan recipes, reading British humour and panicking about the future.
Featured Image Source: Ravishly