To be honest none of us ladies are thrilled about it, but its something we have to deal with monthly, for a major part of our lives. Yes, I am talking about periods! It’s still considered a taboo to speak and discuss this in India but things are gradually changing. The markets are opening up to newer and better products to manage periods. So today I am collaborating with a dear friend, Shweta who writes about her experience of using the Menstrual Cup and Re-usable cotton pads. Being an early adopter (since these are relatively new entrants into Indian Markets) of these feminine-hygiene products I asked Shweta to elaborates on the pros and cons of these.
Guest Post by : Shweta
I heard about the menstrual cup about 9 months ago on a trip to Thailand in a youth hostel. Met this girl from Germany and from introducing ourselves to talking about these “girly” topics took less than an hour. She told me she was using this product since about 8 years! That got me very curious, and being a tampon user I was getting a little tired of the cotton bits remaining behind even after removal of the tampon, the constant fear of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), also the expense part of it wasn’t helping. Each period was costing me no less than 250 INR, which included a couple of heavy flow tampons, along with conventional disposable pads, and light flow tampons; Phew!
What is a Menstrual Cup ?
It’s basically a cup as the name suggests, made out of medical grade silicon, very soft to touch and super flexible. The menstrual cup promises to be reusable (hence environment friendly and no clogging or embarrassing disposal issues), claimed to be infection-free since it is made of silicon and very low maintenance and easy to use.
I finally ordered it online in May, and have since then, experienced 4 relatively trouble-free and definitely cost-effective + environment friendly cycles.
Buy Online: http://amzn.to/2b2EJnD
Cost: INR 700
I say relatively trouble-free because the first time I held in my hand, it seemed so big! The thought of having it inside me was a little more unsettling to me than I care to admit today. I braved it nevertheless. So the next thing that gave me some grief was properly inserting it inside so that the cervix correctly sat between the mouth of the cup. That’s the entire point, if that doesn’t happen you are going to leak out.The menstrual cup comes with a detailed instruction card. I followed those to the tee, and sure enough failed miserably. It sat inside hurting me so bad, I was very uncomfortable. Have I managed to scare you? Well read on there’s a world of relief awaiting you in just a bit.
So I was uncomfortable, but that wasn’t going to deter me from trying my best at getting it right. I realized, to do that I needed to get in “touch” with my anatomy a little more intimately than I had been doing so far. It was my body, my own fluids, and there should be no inhibition in exploring yourself. These cups have to be folded in a particular manner, that makes inserting the cup a little easier. The instruction leaflet mentioned the use of the “C” fold and then I came across a tutorial video which said that the “7” fold is more effective and sure enough when I tried it, Success!!
The concept that the cup works on is creating a vacuum covering the cervix and collecting all the menstrual fluid within itself. So once inserted, I check using my fingers to make sure that the cup is properly opened, and covering the cervix so as to avoid any leakage. Once its properly fixed you will know, because that’s when it absolutely takes your form, and you just stop feeling it inside. It seems natural, comfortable, hassle free and very easy.
The cup manufacturers claim that it can hold fluid up-to 12 hours, and it is also true to some extent. This makes it quite an amazing product, but this isn’t set in stone, my personal experience has been that I have had to empty it every 4 to 5 hours and use it along with the night cotton pad. This is attributed to two factors namely; the placement of your cervix (lower placed cervix will fill the cup faster) and heaviness of the flow. This especially happens during the first two days when my flow is heaviest, day 3 has longer intervals where I need to empty it every 6 hours and it also lasts an entire night, day 4 and 5, I only wear the cotton pads.
How to use and care for it?
Before every cycle the cup will be needed to be sterilized.
Method: Bring about 300 ml of water to boil in a small vessel (preferably a separate small vessel dedicated to this for hygiene reasons). Once the water boiling, reduce the flame and add a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice drops and put in the cup inside the boiling water. Let it boil for a couple of mins and take the cup out, rinse with cold water.
Before use rinse with normal tap water (it’s easier to insert when wet) fold in the desirable fold and insert.
While emptying just pull at the string like extension of the cup, and squeeze it while pulling it down gently. Squeeze at the top for comfortable removal and empty the fluid. Always do this while seated on a toilet seat. If a health faucet is available rinse it out and re-insert, if not just wiping it with a clean tissue is perfectly acceptable.
Sterilization is required only at the end and at the beginning of every cycle.
What are Re-usable Cotton Pads?
These cotton pads are winged sanitary pads which come in different sizes for varied flow needs and are shaped exactly like a disposable pad. Cotton Pads are basically cloth pads, so think of them as you will of your undergarments.
Product Detail: Eco Femme Full Cycle Kit
Order Online: http://amzn.to/2b2ErwZ
Cost: INR 1575 (includes two panty liners, two-day flow pads regular, two day flow pads heavy, one maxi night flow pad and carrying envelope)
I had ordered the reusable cotton pads along with the cup. They are made by a Auroville based women-led social enterprise by the name Eco Femme. Initially when the cup wasn’t helping me entirely I started supporting it with the heavy flow cotton pad, and let me tell you it was heaven. It was like a revelation as to how good cotton is for us and how much damage I must have caused to myself by using those synthetic pads for so long. Not to mention significantly increasing my carbon footprint.
Once they are filled to their capacity I rinse them under a running tap, preferably warm water and wash either with a mild liquid detergent or a normal beauty soap specially kept aside for this.The brand says its OK to wash them in the machine, so the choice is entirely up to you. I don’t find washing them and reusing them in the least bit unhygienic, if washed and dried properly they look, smell and feel as fresh as our other clothes and underclothes.
My final note to all you patient and lovely readers is that I have felt a positive change in my cycles since I have switched to these products. Periods don’t need to smell bad, and menstrual cups has proved that. These are one time investment and being environmentally responsible even in this small step feels awesome.
I hope this article helps you make an informed decision about a lifestyle change. I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, if you feel like this article leaves certain questions unanswered please feel free to ask. I will respond as soon as possible.
Here’s to change for the better, and a safer, cleaner happier period.Cheers!