I clearly remember the first time I used the menstrual cup. It was a year ago when I came to India and I was just simply unhappy with my trash bin. I have segregated recyclables, but there was always sanitary waste, for which I knew that it would end in the land field. On top of that, I just hated the feeling of sanitary pads during my sport activities. A friend told me few months ago about the menstrual cup and how it is the best thing for the women during the menstruation. Still, I needed some time to actually decide and buy it.
Image from: http://empoweredsustenance.com/
So I was searching online and I didn’t know which one to buy in terms of brand as well the size. But I found very good instructions online and I finally decided that it cannot be so difficult and I should at least give it a try. I read some articles on experiences of users and watched some videos and I was ready to go. I order my first menstrual cup.
I was just looking at the cup and I was still a little uncertain. Initially, I had few questions in my mind like: How do you actually insert it? All right, there are instructions, but in practice, is it possible? I tried on my second day of my month cycle at home. First time I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom following the instruction and I made it! I laughed as well! I was kind of proud and I felt the cup for 20 minutes, but after that I totally forgot that I am actually wearing it. Since it was my first time that made me scared. Oh, what if I will not be able to remove it? Sometimes fear scares us so much and we forget about anatomy of our bodies – of course it cannot get lost in the stomach. Women cervix is to short that we actually could lose the cup. Honestly, it was easier to remove the cup than inserting it. I remember how I was afraid to use it during the night but after two monthly periods everything became just a habit. Many people compare the use of this cup with using the contact lenses. For both we need a little bit of practice, but after that is just the most normal thing to do. And more importantly, it has so many benefits that it is really worth to try. There is no unpleasant smell; I can wear the cup up to 6-8 hours and do not feel anything and it is the best thing to use during my work time, sport activities as well during the night.
As more months past, I became happier with the use of the cup and more I wanted to spread the word. We started with workshops in colleges and different women institutions in Delhi NCR. And it is not an easy work, because it is so personal that mostly people are not comfortable talking about it and of course we are sceptical. Menstrual cup is quite different compared to the usual sanitary napkins.
Definitely the word of mouth is the most important mechanism. We can organize as many workshops as we want, but without action there will be no change. It is on us, users of menstrual cups to spread the word, share our experiences and present the reasons why the switch to the reusable menstrual products is so important. Overtime I have seen that girls make this switch after hearing or seeing their friends/family use it. If you are one of the girls who are thinking about using the menstrual cup, you are probably don’t have a person to guide you through this process of change. Now days there are many different cups available in the market, with different designs, sizes, materials, qualities, prices and it makes our decision to choose complicated and confusing. However, it is very simple – our bodies are so unique and different cups suit different women. The key is to know your body and to do some research. The brand is more of a personal choice, but it is definitely important to choose the right size. There are many comparisons out there, but I found this table the most efficient. It was made by Priyanka Jain, a happy user of menstrual cup for the last 10 year and a founder of online store Hygiene and you. Simply go through the chart, calculate your points and you will see which cups are the most suitable for you. . Here is the link to the table:
I would invite you to also join our facebook group “Menstrual cups, cloth pads India” where women are sharing their experiences as well as they are not afraid to ask and answer any questions.
Personally I believe menstrual cups are the future of women menstrual hygiene. Sanitary napkins have become such a huge health and environmental problem that even government wants to eliminate it. It will be a long path and it will take time, but it starts with you.
I told you, you tell all your friends and relatives, they will tell theirs and slowly we can reach the goal. The word of mouth can have such a beautiful domino effect. Join us in women menstrual revolution!
Do you want to host a workshop on sanitary waste and solutions for it? Do you want to know more about eco-friendly menstrual solutions for women? Write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katja Polc, member of Vatavaran team