Disclaimer: This is the writer’s personal opinion based on their own experience. In no way is this article discrediting the millions of women who have benefited from the menstrual cup.
Ever since the government decided that menstruating is a supposed luxury, I decided to try cheaper alternatives for the sake of my wallet and my general wellbeing. With 12% GST on sanitary napkins and 18% on tampons, bleeding doesn’t come cheap. Not to mention all the environmental and health hazards that come with it.
After hearing rave reviews from the internet and close friends about the menstrual cup, I decided to try it after all.
Well, I did. And things didn’t go as expected. This was my experience with the menstrual cup.
Day 1 - The driest dry run ever!
After receiving the menstrual cup I thought it would be a good idea to conduct a dry run. It obviously wasn’t a good idea.
Now inserting the cup isn’t really a problem. You just fold it into the perfect shape after about 6 tries you’re done. It’s in.
The problem arises when it’s time to take it out.
The instruction manual says you have to pinch the bottom, break the suction, and gently pull the cup out. Easy-peasy right?
So, I obsessively washed my hands, ensured my nails were trimmed, and reached in with my index finger and thumb. And in about 0.9774 seconds I was overcome with horror.
I couldn’t locate the cup!
The next few minutes I desperately clawed into my cervix trying to locate the stem. But every time I went in, all I felt was the cup change position multiple times and mock my inefficiency.
I tried every position possible. Few would even make my yoga instructor super proud. But no luck.
I went back to the leaflet and I could almost feel it sassing me when it said,
“If the cup doesn’t come out easily, do not panic.”
After the longest 12 minutes of my life, and a panic attack that could’ve landed me in the ICU if I was slightly older, the cup was finally out. Totally intact. My vagina, however, was not.
Now, there are only two ways to feel when you wear a menstrual cup.
You either feel nothing or you feel like you’ve been going about your day mid child-birth.
The next few hours felt like there was still something stuck up my cervix and me coming to terms with the fact that I probably shouldn’t have tried it on what may have been the driest day of my life. I’m not keeping track, but this probably was.
I kept the cup aside and waited for my period to start before it comes anywhere near me.
Day 2 - The real testing period.
Eight days have passed since my first not-so-pleasant encounter with the menstrual cup. I finally started my period and am ready to take this head on because I’m not a quitter. At least not yet, I’m not.
Day 1 of my period was thankfully on a Saturday so I could afford to experiment since I was home. This time I was slightly better prepared.
I inserted the cup without breaking a sweat and in a few seconds, it sat comfortably inside. To be on the safer side, I wore a sanitary napkin as well because I obviously don’t trust myself.
In a few hours, I realised that more often than not, paranoia is a blessing in disguise. My napkin was soaked in blood. And it seemed as though it was mocking my second attempt that turned out to be fail-2.0.
I concluded that I had done it wrong and thought of reinserting it. Cause, you know. Third time’s the charm. NOT!
I went in with my sanitised fingers and pinched the stem. And just as I felt victorious about finding it in the first attempt, the cup rode right back up and nicely hid itself somewhere sniggering at my incompetence.
In my next attempt, I searched so desperately that my hands looked like a murder weapon.
I was soon overcome with horrific thoughts of my first born child coming out with a She-cup hat.
The next few minutes were spent jiggling and half squatting to find the perfect position to get the cup out. And I finally did. After about 17 minutes.
I immediately swore off menstrual cups but took a gynaecologist's appointment to know what went wrong. Turns out I was ‘blessed’ with an upright uterus that resulted in an inhumanly high cervix. Explains why the cup was making itself comfortable in the multi-storied apartment I was housing it in.
In conclusion, when it comes to menstrual cups, one size does not fit all. I learnt this the hard way. Hopefully, when I’m ready for it, I will try this again. This time with a longer, softer cup that won’t give me a penguin walk and recurring nightmares.