We women folk need a pat on our backs for coming a long way. From using cloth to thick pads and thin napkins with wings to tampons and recently, period panties—witnessing the evolution of period essentials has been rather liberating. But it is the latest entry in the world of menstrual care, the Menstrual Cup that is being touted as a life-changing product for every woman. Want to know all about it? Read on.
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What is the menstrual cup?

The menstrual cup is nothing but a bell-like silicone cup that collects menstrual fluid. This cup can hold up to 10 hours of flow even on heavy days and is being seen as a revelation of sorts in the healthcare department.

How do you wear it?

So this is the part where things get a tad bit… well… uncomfortable. Seeing as how most women still use pads—convenient and cheap—as opposed to even tampons, the complexity of the period cup is rooted in the usage. To use it, you’re supposed to squeeze the walls of the cup and fold it into a C shape. Much like tampons, you need to gently insert the folded cup into your vagina. When the cup is inside, it opens up and creates suction. To remove it you have to pull the stem of the cup and then empty it out.

A period revolution

Ask a girl her biggest period problem and she will tell you how it affects her sleep as she constantly fears having to wake up to stained sheets the following morning. The menstrual cup promises you sound sleep in whatever position you want without having to feel messy.  So much so that you’ll probably even forget that it’s that time of the month for you! Isn’t this reason enough for it to rule your hearts, ladies?

A senior graphic designer from Mumbai says, “I’ve been reading up on it and am certain about ordering it. I always have a heavy flow during those days and I invariably end up staining myself. If these cups will give me a good night’s sleep without having to wake up in the middle of the night to change my pad, I’m going to go for it without any further thought!”

One of the biggest reasons why this cup has gained popularity is because of its eco-friendly nature! Studies suggest that 9000 tonnes of sanitary napkins litter our landscape every month. Since you can reuse these cups, there’s less waste to clog up our landfills. Now that’s a huge step towards saving your environment.

Moreover, the menstrual cup is rather safe to use. It’s odour-free and there are less chances of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which is a bacteria-spurred illness associated with tampon use. Tampons have high absorbency levels and hence, you might risk shredding. Pieces of cotton can cause cuts in the walls of your vagina thereby making you susceptible to TSS. With the menstrual cup, these worries are at rest.

Apprehensions about the cup

It took us a while to warm up to the idea of thin gel pads and tampons but when we did, it seemed like a good jump! Similarly, several women are yet to come to terms with the fact that this product needs insertion and will stay inside for longer than we’re used to. But initial apprehensions are bound to crop up, especially when it deals with the tricky period topic that still has fair amount of stigma around it, what with many women shying away from even discussing it. So for them, to deal with the idea of having to insert something that stays inside for as long as 10 hours, is a hugely progressive move.

Moreover, the biggest stumbling block here is that the cup needs to be washed and reused. A young mother and editor at an agency shares her apprehensions about the product, “I'm not very comfortable with the idea of inserting a foreign object inside my body. The fact that it can be washed and reused is also a matter of contention for me. But I’m open to giving it a try if I know where it can be bought.”

The cup also needs fair amount of maintenance as it requires you to sterilise it using boiling water after each cycle. This again, seems like a task for some of us who want things quick and easy. A lifestyle writer in her 20s questions the hygiene angle of it all. She says, “Considering the fact that menstrual cups deal with the larger problem of accumulating sanitary waste, it does seem like a worthy alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins. That being said, the need to have clean facilities to wash it before re-inserting it makes it inconvenient while travelling or for those who are constantly on the go. Personally, I haven't warmed up to menstrual cups just enough to want to try them immediately, but I wouldn't rule it out entirely either."

You can buy the Shecup for 760 at www.shycart.com or the Diva Cup which is a lot steeper at 2800 on www.divacup.com