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If you’re tired of buying sanitary napkins and tampons, maybe it’s time to turn things around with a menstrual cup. Though small, it packs a powerful punch and is changing the way women manage menses. Learn the basics of menstrual cup insertion and safety to be comfortable on your period.
Relying on tampons and sanitary napkins for our period is the norm for most of us. However, there’s no denying that they’re expensive and also hazardous to the environment. How can you get through your menstrual cycle then? Enter, the menstrual cup. Proven to be hygienic, safe and eco-friendly, this reusable invention may not be widely used at present, but it’s surely making slow and steady waves for its numerous benefits.
What Exactly Is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups, costing between Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000 and above, are quite similar to tampons as they’re inserted into the vagina. However, they’re flexible, reusable and made of medically approved silicone. The cups are bell-shaped and have a stem at the bottom to make them easier to pull out when they’re full. If you suffer from rashes caused by sanitary napkins rubbing against your inner thighs, or if you’re allergic to tampons, these little wonders could be your answer to an easy period.
How Do You Use a Menstrual Cup for the Best Comfort?
Using menstrual cups can be daunting for first-timers. But with a few attempts, you can get one in easily and before long, you won’t even know it’s there. Here’s a quick low-down on menstrual cup insertion.
- Wash your hands properly before starting. You don’t want germs entering!
- Push the rim of the cup together so that it forms a tight U-shape.
- Squat, sit or stand, whichever’s comfy, and insert the cup into your lady part with the folded section going in first and the stem facing out.
- Once the cup’s in, you can jiggle it a little using the stem till you feel comfortable.
Removing a Menstrual Cup Safely
- Again, wash your hands before starting.
- Gently tug at the stem of the menstrual cup until it starts to slide out.
- When you reach the base of the cup, squeeze it so that you create the beginning of a U-shape and start pulling it out.
- Once it’s out, empty it, wash it with water and dry it before popping it back in. You can also use soap (non-perfumed) but make sure you rinse the cup thoroughly to prevent irritation.
Sizing: Which Menstrual Cup is Right for You?
Menstrual cups usually come in two sizes-a smaller one for women below 30 years old and who haven’t given birth, and a larger one for women above 30 and who’ve had kids. Of course, you can always choose one over the other depending on your comfort. Like tampons, they need to be inserted properly for you to enjoy using them. The question is not so much whether menstrual cups are comfortable, but whether they’re the right size and whether they’re inserted properly.
How safe are Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual cups can be safer and more hygienic than sanitary napkins and tampons if handled right. Here’s a quick lowdown on using them safely:
- Keep your hands clean when inserting and removing them, and boil them in hot water between periods to keep bacteria away.
- Depending on your menstrual flow, clean your cup every few hours. During lighter flow days, your cup may need to be changed every 12 hours.
- If you can’t rinse your cup for any reason, use tissue to wipe it clean. Just remember to wash it later.
- Don’t wear a menstrual cup when not on your period. It won’t do a good job of collecting vaginal discharge.
- Periodically or between every few months to after a year, consider replacing your cup.
What’s great about menstrual cups is that they’re a one-time investment, at least until you decide to replace yours. Menstrual cups are also gentle on the environment, which is a big bonus considering the average woman goes through 10,000 or more sanitary products in her lifetime!