We always talk about how women handle themselves in tough situations but are you aware of the challenges every woman faces in their daily life inside their body each month. With International Women’s day coming close, we at OnlyMyhealth are carrying a month-long campaign to create awareness about Women’s health and hygiene. With new technology and life changes, women must adapt to new-age solutions like Menstruation Cups. Do you know what menstrual cups are? These are more likely, as their name suggests, are “cups”, which are bell-shaped used in the menstruation period. It is inserted inside the vagina by holding it tight and putting it deep inside, which forms a seal in the walls of the vagina and prevent menstrual fluid from coming out or getting leaked. Menstrual cups can store the fluid for long hours, which therefore makes it a genuine choice.
How are menstrual cups different from tampons and pads?
Definitely yes, in the race between menstrual cups vs pads and tampons, menstrual cups are a superior product. However, many women may not feel the same by looking at it. Sanitary pads have been used as a conventional method to avoid leakage and have been a popular choice in the last few decades. However, many women are now choosing menstrual cups over tampons and pads as it provides them with a more durable and cost-effective product during their menstruation period, especially during heavy flow days.
Why choose menstrual cups?
OnlyMyHealth reached out to Dr. Bindiya Khera, Gynaechologist from City Hospital, Lucknow. She exclaims that tampons are not very hygienic, especially because they can lead to infection in the uterus and vagina quite often if not taken proper precautions. There have been many cases in which women have complained about pain or infection in the vagina after using tampons. TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) was a major issue that was faced due to Tampons in the 1980s, as told by Dr Bindiya Khera. Pads are far better than to use than Tampons, but the only setback is that pads need to be changed very often during heavy flow. Hence this is where menstrual cups come in handy.
Tips for using menstrual cups for beginners
1. Preparing the cup before the first use: Wash the cup thoroughly in warm water and sterilize the cup.
2. Practising the Handling of Cup: If you are using the menstrual cups for the first time, try to use them on low flow days. For confidence and to avoid leakage (if the cup is not inserted properly), use a pad along with it.
3. Inserting the Cup: This is a major step so follow the under mentioned instructions carefully:
- Wash your hands properly with soap
- Rinse the cup so that it becomes slippery and easy to get in.
- Get into a position comfortable enough to insert the menstrual cup inside your vagina. Be aware that vaginal muscles are slightly contracted.
- Fold the cup; make sure that after inserting, the cup is fully unfolding inside the vagina.
- Insert the cup in the direction of the Vagina, the whole cup must be inserted inside, including the stem.
4. Adjust the Menstrual Cup to the right position: If the cup is not going fully inside that means it’s at the wrong spot. Try to move it to deep inside so that cup holds a firm grip and there is no leakage whatsoever. Use your finger to push the cup deep in.
5. Dealing with an incorrectly unfolded cup: It is possible that the cup may not position exactly the way you want it to be positioned. Take the following steps to correct the position.
- Strongly press the lower part of the cup above the stem.
- Check the position in the cervix and accordingly of the cup placed.
- Gently push the vaginal wall away from the place where the cup is still not unfolded.
6. Method of removing the cup:
- Wash and clean your hands thoroughly
- Get into a comfortable position, squeeze the vaginal muscles and the cup will come out of the vagina quite on its own.
- Break the suction against the vaginal walls and delicately pull down the menstrual cup by the stem.
- Pull down the cup and lean it slightly towards one side for easier movement.
- Then empty the cup and rinse it in warm water, you can also use feminine wash in case your period is over or you don’t need to put it back again that time.
Precautions and Measures for using Menstrual Cups
Follow the steps as told by Gynaeologist, Dr Bindiya Khera:
- Since the cup needs to be inserted inside the vagina, there is a change of Toxicity if not cleaned and sterilized properly while reusing.
- If you want to make sure that the cup is locked inside the vagina, just grasp it from the base and rotate it slowly.
- Do not push the cup too hard as there may occur dents, and the sensitive tissue may get disturbed.
- While virginity is not an obstacle, the vaginal muscles are tighter for those who have never had sexual intercourse and hence there may be challenging for those whose body isn’t used to cups before. Also, there is a slight chance of hymen rupture as it needs to be pushed deep inside the vagina.
- Don’t use a cup if you have had a vaginal infection.
- If you are allergic to rubber or latex, do not risk your health for menstrual cups and consult a doctor.
Advantages of Using Menstrual Cups:
- They are eco-friendly: All other products that are used during periods produce toxic waste
- They are easy-going on the budget factor as most of the cups can be reusable for several months if kept in a hygienic and safe environment.
- There are different sizes available. For instance, women below 30 who haven’t indulged in childbirth tend to use a smaller size of cups.
- In comparison to tampons and pads, the containment of bacteria in menstrual cups is comparatively less, which makes it a safer and healthier product to use during the sensitive phase.
Cons of using menstrual Cups:
- A major issue to consider while using Menstrual cups, according to Dr. Bindiya Khera, is that there are high chances of pH imbalance in the body.
- Women have problems while inserting the menstrual cups inside the vagina which often leads to leakage due to which it becomes a less attractive choice.
- Also, the stereotypical society creates many myths about Menstrual cups, especially about losing virginity, due to which they avoid going for menstrual cups. Many women are also not comfortable changing or cleaning menstrual cups in office or public washrooms, which is too much of a hassle for using cups.
How to Select a Menstrual Cup?
- Different brands are available from which you can choose which menstrual cup to buy. They are mostly available in two sizes one is small, which is preferred for women under the age of 30 who have not had childbirth or had too much sexual intercourse. These cups are relatively small and need to be changed every 4-6 hours depending on the flow.
- Another is the bigger sizes, which can last up to 12 hours if the flow is average. This is generally used by women who have given birth and have a considerably wider vaginal tube or have become loose due to childbirth. According to data, women above the age of 40 prefer bigger cups than other women. Also, cups are available in different shapes from which you can choose, which is easier for a particular body.
Also Read: How Protected is a Baby in the Womb
- Menstrual Cups is an advanced product made for maintaining hygiene and avoiding bacteria growth while using pads. Also, menstrual cups, which are reusable, come as an eco-friendly and less expensive product. The key always remains the maintenance of cups, proper cleaning and sanitization. If taken care of the details mentioned above and precautions, gradually menstrual cups can become a part of your life.
(This article has been written by Puru Bansal, Sub Editor, Onlymyhealth)
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