• The miracle menstrual cup and me by Poorvi Gupta

    Behold everyone! A lot of taboos are going to be broken about and myths going to be shattered in my blog. As suggested by the title of course I am talking about the monthly token of non-pregnancy that menstruation is. A highly ironical monthly cycle where we are happy and sad both at the same time.

    I used a menstrual cup this time around and found that my whole life turned out to be a lie!

    For me the pain is mostly unbearable except for the fact that one should try to ease out the blood flow in the body by having warm liquids. But the bleeding part of it becomes the most uncomfortable, uneasy and disgusting. I hate leading my life in that one week. For years and decades we have been told to use napkins – first they were cotton wrapped in cloth. Then the fancy this free and that ‘hush.

    Meet Aditi Gupta of Menstrupedia

    These sanitary napkins came in the 80s (the highly commercialised ones) and we were fed the info  (both from tv ads with women wearing white pants and our converted moms) that they are the most comfortable piece of plastic during ‘those days.’ This was also the template through menstrual education in schools, ads and different kinds of mediums.

    But that’s not the truth. Not according to me. Don’t get too hyper because I used a menstrual cup this time around and found that my whole life turned out to be a lie! So I bumped into this girl who was promoting menstrual cup in one of the events that SheThePeople had organised. Since I had already heard quite a bit about it, I wanted to give it a go myself and I just bought one from her. Hearing that it was reusable and can be used for 10 years gave me a real kick. Though I found it a little expensive for 1000 bucks, my urge to use it took over me and voila I picked it asap.

    Hearing that it was reusable and can be used for 10 years gave me a sweet kick.

    After using the menstrual cup, I mentally shot everyone who said that sanitary napkin is the best damned thing to use during periods. Because it has never given me the comfort it boasts of, never ever made me sleep like a baby like how they show on TV and gets stuck between my butt all the time. But the cup did!

    Vijay Cup

    Menstrual cup

    I was apprehensive myself before using this silicone-based cone shaped cup with a stem at the end, thinking how am I going to push it inside my vagina? But, guess what? It took me exactly 3 minutes to make the cup into a C shape and set it in. It really is that easy if you can locate the hole. After using it once or twice it didn’t take me more than a minute to use it. While changing a pad still takes me about 10 minutes (don’t get me into those gross details) even after years of using them.

    After using the menstrual cup, I mentally shot everyone who said that sanitary napkin is the best damned thing to use during periods.

    For all those who think it is gross to see your own blood in its raw form collected in the cup, trust me it is nothing in front of holding pathetic-looking and stinking pad that needs to be wrapped up ‘nicely’ and thrown out. It is easier to just dump the collected blood into the toilet bowl, wash it with water, push it back in again and you’re good to go for no less than 12 hours, even the best of sanitary pads never gave me that much commitment. However, for heavier flow you might want to change it accordingly but that happens with pads and tampons too, no?

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    Now why I took this plunge of going the unconventional way was the concern about my own health and the bigger picture- the environment. It is a fact that our skin near the vagina is permeable and everything that comes in contact with it just goes into the bloodstreams spreading it in the entire body. And the toxic chemicals they use in manufacturing pads like dioxins, synthetic fibres and petro chemical additives. And now that they sell nice-smelling pads which are induced with smell neutralizers and fragrances make it even worst. The pad now blocks the air flow, lock in heat and wetness and produces yeast and bacteria in your vagina! This can cause ovarian cancer and heart diseases.

    Coming on the environmental aspect, pads are the worst and most impactful as they have plastic used in making it and we all know that it takes gazillion year to decompose plastic. However, tampons are slightly better since it’s mostly cotton. But the cotton fiber used in the production of tampons contributes 80% of their total impact. One tampon takes about six months to decompose and considering that a study revealed that a woman uses anywhere between 8,000 to 17,000 tampons in her lifetime depending on her cycle it will take a long time to decompose for everyone.

    Now coming to menstrual cup, it is sterlizable, so one just needs to keep it in boiling water for five minutes to free it off any bacteria. Then the company claims that one cup can be used for as long as 10 years which means that no throwing of waste every month and no feeling guilty about destroying your own body and the environment. Every step counts.

    While first world countries have been benefiting from Menstrual cups since 1987 when it came the first time around there, India is still kind of getting the hang of it. Reasons can be cultural stigma surrounding menstruation, fear of trying something revolutionary for periods, so on and so forth. However, now that I have listed down so many advantages of it, all you Indian women and girls must give it a try. Thank me later! :)

    Lastly, the cup I used is made by a company called Vijay Cup. It is founded by Yashika Khater who hails from Jaipur. Yashika is the trailblazer who has been promoting the use the menstrual cup since two three years now and it is only now that she has come up with her own cup. The unique thing about the cup made by her is that it is foldable which makes it easier to keep and carry around.

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    Picture credit- Huffington Post