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We got a gynae and real women to answer 20 questions about using the menstrual cup

Thinking of shifting to a menstrual cup, but worried if it’s the right move? Well, let users of the cup answer that for you.
toxic shock syndrome
Sailing with a mentrual cup could give you toxic shock syndrome. GIF courtesy: Giphy
Ainee Nizami Updated: 6 Feb 2020, 15:49 pm IST
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Menstrual Cup. Two words that can either make you go, ‘Best decision of my life’ or ‘I am too scared to try it!’. There’s pretty much no in-between when it comes to making the shift to the cup.

However, everything from finding the correct brand and size to making sure your C-fold is correct to boiling it at the end of the cycle can be nerve-racking – it sure was for me.

If you are thinking of moving to the menstrual cup, instead of sanitary pads and tampons, and making a more eco-friendly and cost-effective move–we bet there are a lot of questions you’d want to be answered right about now.

So here we are, making it easy for you. We put together a list of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to using the cup, and we got real girls who’ve used the cup and gynaecologists to answer your questions. Here you go…

1. What exactly is a menstrual cup?
“I remember Googling this when I first heard about it. Think of it as a funnel-shaped cup, made of rubber or silicone that you insert in your vagina to collect period blood.” –Manisha Mehta, 27, Delhi

2. It looks big. Does it hurt?
“It’s really not that big. And no it doesn’t hurt at all. Once you perfect the technique, you’ll hardly feel it.”–Deepti Nagpal, 34, Mumbai

menstrual cup
No, it doesn’t hurt! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Which brand is the best?
“I don’t think there’s one brand that works for everyone when it comes to using a menstrual cup. For me, the first cup that I tried was too hard–I couldn’t hold the fold while inserting, so I shifted to another brand. This one was great but the stem was too long and it poked me. So I got another brand. I finally ended up using the second one, and I cut off a bit of the stem. Basically keep room for experimenting, and read all the reviews. I am currently using the Boondh Cup, if that helps.” –Shivani Bhandari, 24, Mumbai

4. What size should I pick?
“Most brands come in two or three sizes (small, medium, and large). The large one is perfect for women who have delivered and have a heavy menstrual flow. The small and medium ones are perfect for women who haven’t given birth and have moderate amounts of menstrual flow and tight perineal muscles due to pelvic exercise.” –Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru

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5.What is the C-Fold that everyone keeps talking about?
“The C-Fold is by far the most common method to insert a menstrual cup inside your vagina. While I would suggest watching a video to get this right, it goes like this: wash your hands and hold the cup. Fold it sideways, and then use your finger to create a U or C shape in the middle. Now hold that and insert it in your vagina. Once it’s inside you’ll feel it unfold and the suction will hold it in place.” –Deepti Nair, 29, Mumbai

6. How do you remove the cup?
“Pinch and pull. More than the technique it is important for you to be relaxed. Even if it doesn’t come out in the first go, don’t panic. Just try again. Remember there is no way it can go inside your body–hello, air suction.” –Khushboo Sharma, 28, Bangalore

7. Do I need to take any precautions while using it?
“It’s a good idea to cut your nails short while using the cup. Also, make sure you always wash your hands before and after.” –Anjali Dua, 32, Ahmedabad

8. How do I remove it in a public washroom?
“If you do not have access to rinse the cup at the sink, simply use the jet spray in the loo and give it a slight rinse. Unless you drop it while pulling it out, you don’t need to boil it before reusing it.” –Deepti Giri, 26, Vadodara

9. Can I wear it to my swimming class?
“Yes, I do it too. However, start wearing it in the pool once you are more comfortable with the cup, otherwise, you’ll spend time worrying if the cup is still in position.” –Dimum Pertin, 21, Guwahati

10. I’ve only used sanitary napkins before. Can I still make the shift?
“Even I had only used sanitary napkins before and the shift was super easy. You could try using tampons for a month or two if you are overly concerned, but I don’t think it’s necessary.” –Ainee Nizami, 33, Mumbai

menstrual cup
Even if you’ve just used sanitary napkins before, you can make the switch to a menstrual cup. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

11. Does it smell?
“Not at all.” –Anjali R, 27, Pune

12. Can I wear it whilst sleeping?
“Yes, you can. You only need to change it every 12 hours. Also, it’s super comfortable.” –Sakina Ahmedi, 23, Mumbai

13. How often do I need to change it?
“I change it every eight hours, however, you can wear it for 12 hours too. Once you start using the cup you’ll realise how little we actually bleed. Even with heavy flow, you’ll hardly see a full cup.” –Preeti Agarwal, 24, Mumbai

14. What are the benefits of switching to a menstrual cup?
“There are a lot of benefits. For starters, menstrual cups can contain twice the amount of blood that is absorbed by a pad or a tampon necessitating fewer changes, lesser leakage and no hassles of disposal. Studies have also shown a lower incidence of vaginal infections with the usage of cups when compared to tampons and pads. Women also reportedly experience odour free periods. Plus since you can reuse the cup for up to ten years, it’s cheap and eco-friendly.”–Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant-department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru

15. How do you clean it? While using and at the end of the cycle?
“During your cycle, you can simply rinse it with water and unscented soap and reuse it. However, before using it and after your cycle make sure you boil it in hot water for about five to seven minutes.” –Ainee Nizami, 33, Mumbai

16. How can I tell if I’ve inserted the cup correctly?
“Post insertion, go around the base of the cup. If inserted well, the base will be round or oval with no folds. Gently tug the stem to ensure a tight fit and adequate suction. When inserted well, you’ll be comfortable, able to perform normal activities and outdoor physical activities with no discomfort.” –Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant-department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru

17. Do I need to remove it while urinating?
“No. I always thought it’d fall out while I peed, but that has never happened. It never will.” –Anjali Dua, 32, Ahmedabad

menstrual cup
Yes, you can use it while peeing. Hell, you can even clean it in a public bathroom Image courtesy: Shutterstock

18. Can I use one even If I am prone to infections?
“Yes, you totally can. Menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, and neither do they dry out your vagina. –Manisha Mehta, 27, Delhi

19. Does it leak? What if I have a heavy flow?
“Leakage is an indicator that the size of the cup is too small or the insertion is faulty. Beginners may find insertion and removal difficult and messy, so it’s advisable to use a pad in the initial few months till they are comfortable with the procedure.” –Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant-department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru

20. I am a virgin. Can I still use the cup?
“Some brands offer a smaller size MINI for teens and virgins, however, these cups hold less blood and may require more frequent emptying especially for those who bleed heavily.” –Dr Geeth Monnappa, consultant-department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru

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About the Author

Ainee has 10 years of experience in finding and writing stories about lifestyle, health, and fitness. When she is not surfing the internet for stories that'll connect with women, you’ll find her reading a book and sipping chai. ...Read More

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