Have you heard about the menstrual cup?

I knew about gogirl but never thought something like a shecup was even possible. The product costs Rs 695 (not 65/- thanks for pointing out the error Shiva!), it’s available in India and is reusable. I have ordered two and if I find them good (they claim the product is leak-proof and can even be used while swimming), I plan to gift them to women I know, specially those who may not be thinking of of the environment, but probably do the least damage to it. I hope they never have to look for non-Eco-friendly alternatives.

If this products works the way it seems it does, how is it that it has not been made more popular till now, specially in the rural and remote parts of the country? It’s seems both convenient and affordable.

The email below has more information and links.

“Hi IHM,
Since there was some discussion on the topic of sanitary pads a few posts ago, I was wondering if you could share a new thought with your readers. There’s an eco friendly alternative to sanitary pads that is not very popular in India yet because people don’t seem to know about it. It’s called a menstrual cup.

Here’s the Wikipedia definition: “A menstrual cup is a type of cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.”
You can find more information about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cup
There’s an Indian version available called the She Cup: http://www.shecup.com>

You could find a detailed review here: http://menstrualcupinfo.blogspot.in/p/shecup-india.html

The second site has a lot more information about menstrual cups in general.
Given that sanitary pads are hard to dispose, they clog drains, and the cotton is extensively bleached which could lead to issues because of chemical exposure, it’s worthwhile considering an alternative. I personally came across this concept in the US about a year ago. I made a cautious switch and you could now not even pay me to switch back to pads. And the idea that I’m probably saving about a packet of pads from cluttering the landscape every cycle makes me even happier.

Of course, it’s ultimately a personal choice but I’ve been wondering how many women are even aware that this alternative exists. I only learned about them because I made a determined search for eco friendly alternatives to sanitary pads. But, from what I read online, many women find that it’s not just about the environment but also about personal comfort and hygiene.

I hope you’ll consider this information worth researching and sharing with your readers.”

Updated by the email writer:

It takes a while to get the hang of it, I have to be honest. It took me 2-3 cycles But once you do get used to it it’s really leak-proof and comfortable. You can just use a pad for backup till then. Now life’s like those ads on TV!🙂
But honestly one of the things I like the most is that it’s discreet. I’m not easily embarrassed – I can buy condoms or pads without any hesitation – but it’s just great that you don’t have to advertise that you have your period to everyone. You know?
I personally have two and I keep one for a backup for use at office so that I can clean them thoroughly whenever I use them.
If you have any questions, I can answer them based on my personal experience. But the blogspot site has a lot of info that I used before making my decision to switch.
Take Care,

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55 thoughts on “Have you heard about the menstrual cup?

  1. I tried an early edition back in the 1970s and found them very comfortable and easy to put in and very messy to take out. I quit using mine for that reason. It is, of course, possible that that problem has been overcome in the last 40 years.

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  2. I have heard about it by bloggers abroad but never used it.
    I am not so comfortable with the thought of it and think it will be inconvenient to clean each time though I do care about the environment, I feel I can’t compromise on comfort and convenience during my periods.
    Will keep in mind to try using it sometime in the future perhaps?

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  3. I read about it long back.. when I wanted to switch to tampons and was trying to read up (googling!) about them .. I didn’t know it’s available in India though ..I am concerned for the environment .. but then taking out and cleaning .. frankly it just sounds messy and unhygienic to me !

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  4. Yes! I used a Diva Cup which works really well. Not only does it save me money and help the environment, it also makes my periods so much easier! they’re also so much better than tampons. They’re not painful, don’t leave fibers inside of you (like tampons do), and they don’t cause toxic shock syndrome.

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    • Hey, that’s the brand I use too. Love it.

      I was as icked out by the idea of putting stuff in and taking it out as everyone else here. But I thought about it, I researched it a bit, and I thought I’d just buy one and see. I’ve made more expensive mistakes so I figured what the heck, I could live with a Rs 700 (or $40) experiment. Best case, I’d like it and I’d make a positive change. Worst case, I wouldn’t use it for more than a couple of hours. It’s the price of one kurti, one mid-priced dinner, or half a tank of petrol. I’ve regretted many of those too🙂

      Here are some things I learned before I decided to try the switch:
      1. It does not leak when used right. It’s actually “safer” in terms of leaks/stains than pads.
      2. As nepalijiwan pointed out, no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
      3. Silicone used in cups is anti-bacterial and menstrual fluid is sterile. The Diva Cup holds FDA licenses http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/
      4. I have no experience with older versions but the new ones are very easy to handle and very easy to use. After a few tries one “change cycle” would take maybe 2 mins.
      5. Menstrual pads and tampons are not as “clean” as they seem, they’re highly chemically treated and bleached and can cause issues ranging from dryness and simple yeast infections to TSS. Unlike the above a cup doesn’t interfere with the normal activity in the vagina as it does not absorb anything.
      6. Use of disposables adds up. Going by our latest ads if you count one pad/tampon every 6 hours and a minimum of 4 days, that’s 16 pads added per woman, per month. Over one woman’s mensturally active years that might be 40 years * 12 months * 16 pads. Roughly 7500 pads. Per woman. By switching at age 30 I hope to at least cut the waste I generate by half.

      I’m not out to convince everyone to switch and I don’t think everyone’s like IHM to go out and buy two as soon as they read about it!🙂 But I feel that the idea is worth researching and it’s also worth trying to see if you can address all your concerns before you dismiss it entirely. It’s a good product.

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      • I just commented on this below. To your list I would add that in our country it is advisable to clean out the cup every 4-6 hours if possible.

        Also, I’ve travelled with mine, it’s not as limiting as I had expected. With water and soap strips/sanitiser/wet wipes, I’ve managed just fine.

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  5. I read about this a couple of years ago and thought I should give it a try but never got around to it. I like that its environmentally friendly, and really want to give it a shot. But I feel cleaning it would be a messy business, and I am in general very squeamish, so not sure if I am comfortable with it. But still, it’s worth try, I suppose.

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    • Hey, I had a weirder thought that I only recently managed to convince myself about. What happens when I sleep? The answer is very boring: nothing out of the ordinary.

      Another thought I had, “Put my fingers inside, really?” Actually, since the flow is caught a good way above where your fingers reach in to push and pull the thing out, nothing really happens. It’s about as messy as handling a pad/tampon or taking a shower. I know, boring!

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  6. I had come across the Diva cup and read up about it. But just did know that it was available in India or rather I never really tried to find out. I have very sensitive skin, and each cycle is a terror so this looks like a better option, did to me then too. Let me do some more research now… and also will wait for your feedback.

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  7. Thanks for linking the brand available in India.
    I’ve been on the hunt for one since I read about the DivaCup (http://www.divacup.com/en/home/faqs/), but was unable to find it. I’d asked a friend in US to get it for me when she next comes to India . Will now look out for the SheCup🙂
    BTW, like tampons, the menstrual cup is also very hygeinic and odourless, since the fluids are not esxposed to air.
    As you pointed out earlier, its a wonder why this product is not being marketed more aggressively !!

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  8. Wow, I had no clue about this thing. It seems wonderful. I am going to read more from the links you provided and see if this is available in B’lore. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I read about the Diva cup on babycenter a few months ago but didn’t know that an equivalent product was available in India. I am definitely leaning towards giving it a try. As someone before me pointed out, the possible gain far outweighs the possible failure.

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  10. Yes! I am using Shecup! I read about the menstrual cups while looking for alternatives to pads and after some research decided to give it a try. And i have not regretted. Of course the learning curve is high but i got used to it after my second cycle with it. What an awesome product! It just makes me forget that i am on my periods. I use a pad just as a backup at night. I have leaked a cuple of times during the night (though many other nights it was absolutely fine).
    I have never spilled while taking it out. I too felt a little squemish in the beginning about using fingers though after sometime found it OK. I dont mind a little blood on my fingers anymore as it is after all my own body fluid and competely sterile and odourless on its own.

    ANd IHM, thanks for the link to “gogirl”, didn’t know about it!

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  11. A few queries – how do you know when it’s time to empty it out? Or, put another way, how will you know when it’s full? And what happens if it gets overfull? Are you supposed to check every couple of hours or something?

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  12. Eco-friendly and all… but if you are out of home from 9 till 19, and you spend your day either shifting between various places or in the office – it is completely not functional. And I honestly cannot imagine keeping it “in” for more than 4 hours straight.

    Anything that is not my own house toilet, is below the hygiene acceptance level necessary for such delicate and (let’s face it) dirty business like exchanging things down there.

    On a side note, many office/uni toilets are not even clean enough to think about changing a tampon.

    I don’t think pads will be off fashion any time soon😉

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    • You can use them for 6-8 hours even n heavy flow days, depends on your body. I can! On other days I use them comfortably for 8-10 hours. It is easily the thing that made my period time less crabby for me, i cant even feel it most of the time and it is so amazing that it is eco friendly. I don’t clean it with water in public toilets, I just wipe it with baby wipes I carry around with me and reinsert it. It is amazing. I think everybody should try it before rejecting it. I have bought them for many of my friends and nobody has disliked it till now. It is beyond brilliant. I use the moon cup haven’t tried the indian version yet.

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  13. IHM, I am so glad you wrote this post, we absolutely need to spread the message. I think it should be a tag, all women who read your post and started using it should write their own post about it.. don’t you think that ll spread the message some. What say?

    I have been using it for three years now The Moon cup , haven’t tried the Indian version yet. But I can say that it is absolutely brilliant and I have no idea why it is not marketed more.
    Here is a post I wrote on it sometime back, it also has the link to amazing Love your vagina song they created🙂
    http://prathama-raghavan.blogspot.in/2011/11/menstrual-cup-eco-friendly-menstruation.html

    I am really glad you wrote this post.

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  14. I’ve been using The Keeper (latex) for over a year now and I learnt the hard way not to go without removing and cleaning it for too long at a stretch. (I ended up with an infection because I left it in all day one a light flow day.) That way, one should treat it with as much care as a tampon.

    I cannot imagine going back to napkins. I occasionally use a napkin as a backup if I’m going to be out for long stretches of time or say at night but it’s not usually necessary.

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  16. It is the revolutionary product for Women.
    Experience once ,take advise from your nearest Gynecologist.
    To purchase or other query kindly contact as mentioned.
    Skylark Enterprise:
    +91 999 849 9372 (Gujarat,Ahmedabad)

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  17. Pingback: If men could menstruate, this is how little boys would react to their first period. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  18. Hi! Since you are already using this product,can you tell me for students like me who live in a hostel and do not have access to source of heat where they can clean the cup with boiling water after each cycle, how can they keep them clean after every cycle?

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  20. Hi IHM,
    I had not seen this post until now, although I read this blog regularly.
    I use Femmecup. It has changed how I felt about my periods. Now i dont consider it a nuisance at all. No odour to deal with, no guilt in disposing so much of waste.
    I only wash it at home. During travels i wipe it wiht a tissue and reinsert it.

    I sterilize in microwave, but as it is microwave is not necessary. Some boiling water will do. To answer the hostel student’s concern, you could also buy sterilizing tablets which you can put in water to make a sterlizing solution.
    I clean it with baking soda most of the time.
    I have to say I was pretty annoyed that I did not know about this product until now. That is so much of comfort I have forgone.

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  23. I have a question, if anyone who has used it can answer. From what age can this product be used? Can it be used by a girl who is not yet sexually active – I am asking about the ease of insertion. If it can be, could it be recommended to a teen who has just started menstruating? TIA.

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  24. Hi friends,

    I tried diva cup and it works for me like wonders. I use a panty liner which I myself stitched along with my diva cup. Now I think how easy periods have become. I am a heavy bleeder by the way. It helps for 12 hours. I take it off every 5 hours during my heavy days and clear it and ways and wear it again. Easy as pie. I feel so comfortable to sit, walk and so normal that I even forget wearing one. It feels so normal. If women want to live eco friendly way, I suggest this is the way to go forward. If you want to change a poor women’s life, give her a gift of this cup. This will work for her next 10 to 12 years which will save her money on all the coming periods. Lots of kilograms of plastic will get eliminated from ending in landfills. I pity the excessive consumerism happening in India nowadays. We have become a throw away culture than a sustainable, reusable culture. This product will save poor women’s health, money, environment if those affordable women use these products and spread the message to indian women….

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