Not a cup of woe

Friday ~ October 10, 2017 by Sangeeta Posted in Health,Uncategorized

There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip. So true in this case. But now, this is my third time use and I feel comfortable enough to say I’ve switched to the menstrual cup from sanitary napkins. My journey has been quite an emotional toughie and I feel duty bound to share my experience and help others who might be sitting on the fence.

Why Bother ?

a) My decision to go for it was totally out of concern for the poor planet we inhabit. Bad news about unlivable cities, dirty air, dirtier oceans, the this and the that pour in everyday and most times we feel helpless. I want to contribute in any small way I can. Sanitary napkins are non bio-degradable and just stack up in the ever increasing landfills. One menstrual cup is meant to last for years. I feel good to not create garbage every month.

b) Soiled napkins create a health hazard for waste pickers. Again, feel good that I can contribute to this in a small way.

If you feel really strongly about the above reasons, you will definitely want to go for the cup. That’s what I did. I have so far tried the ALX Care that is available on amazon. I read the reviews and went by what I felt might work best. I have not tried the other brands but they might be just the same as this one or better. ALX has worked for me and no cause for complaint.

First of all, the menstrual cup does not hurt at all. It is not like going to the gynac for a pap smear or anything. But there are hurdles and I will talk about them.

The mindset

It is a little tough to think of inserting that cup inside you, esp if you have never tried anything but sanitary napkins. It is one thing to put up with the indignities of a check up at the gynac and have an instrument stuck in. But to take that silicone cup and push it in needs a certain opening up of the mind. At least mine did. The big surprise to me was, how easily I got it in at the first try. I was relaxed probably because I did not know what to expect and I was determined. So I did well.

Keeping at it

The second time might not be as easy or comfortable. Mine wasn’t. But keeping at it is very important. Don’t be too hard on yourself and take a break by alternating with a sanitary napkin. You will still have reduced the waste by half and you can pat yourself about that.

The Tail pricks

That was the only really irritating aspect for me. The tail that hangs out, with which you pull out the cup, pricks and makes it very uncomfortable. The instructions do talk of snipping off a bit if needed. But I was not sure if the cut edge will prick even more. Anyway, the thing was too uncomfortable and I felt I had no option if I was to continue. So I snipped off a bit and what a relief it was. The cup inside is not a bother at all – most women can’t feel it and neither did I.

Pulling it Out

This was real challenge once I had snipped off the end. I was enormously helped by this incredible Gabrielle Moss blog – esp these lines:

OK, first and foremost: menstrual cups pretty much never get stuck inside you. There is no situation where it’s just lost up there, and you have to spend the rest of your days with a silicone thingimahoosier up your yodel. So relax about that.

I totally loved that confidence in her voice and I desperately needed it – because I did panic when I couldn’t find the little tail. I thought – Oh My God! I snipped off too much and I am never going to find it! I am going to have to get surgery done!Eeeeek!!!

But I calmed down, remembered her words and resolutely hunkered down, till at last, I caught hold of the little slippery nub, and pulled and breathed and pulled some more till it finally popped out! Phew!

Her blog is a must read – menstrual cupper or not – https://www.bustle.com/articles/76798-using-a-menstrual-cup-for-the-first-time-heres-our-step-by-step-guide and also this one- https://www.bustle.com/articles/49547-6-weird-reasons-to-wear-a-menstrual-cup-that-arent-about-saving-the-environment

Going to the bathroom

Though there is no discomfort, it does take a little getting used to to the sensation of having the cup in and going to the bathroom. As if, something is holding you back from emptying your bladder. But the advantages are far more. Like having no mess and slimy red blobs flowing out! Its all clean and nice. No period odour either.

Thats it. I have not felt any discomfort really, apart from a slight pinching in my lower back a couple of times. But I am susceptible to lower back pain anyway, esp after riding my two wheeler on the pot holed roads of Bangalore. The pain has not occurred every time I have inserted the cup, so you should be good to go on that front.

If the cup has not inserted properly and if you are leaking a bit, its ok. Use a sanitary napkin initially along with the cup. But there is no leaking at all when inserted properly. I found it incredibly convenient when going to bed and when travelling, to use the cup. You don’t need to empty the cup for upto 12 hours and you stay clean and nice smelling 🙂

More links for more on the subject:

https://www.littlethings.com/how-to-use-a-menstrual-cup/

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/menstrual-cup#2e

I’ve also been helped in the transition by my ever supportive husband. He totally encouraged my decision and that helped me take the first step. I feel it is important to have some positive figure in your life – be it a gal pal or anyone you are close to. So do confide in someone when you decide to go for it.

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