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MY STORY: How Using Menstrual Cups Gave Me Period Peace

Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu writes about the menstrual cup and the taboo associated with its usage.

I have had menstrual blood flow through and out of me for 840 days, of what I think, is still a brief existence. Fortunately for me, I have not had the cyclic trauma that many of my fellow uterus owners endure on a monthly basis like terrible cramps, general discomfort and a flow that would give the ‘Jog’ something to think about. What I have tolerated, is weeks filled with stains, many public mishaps and many long hours on the bathroom floor washing out bed sheets.

So over time, paperback calendars with diligent Xs were replaced with apps, that were a constant reminder of how, in this matter at least, I had little control over my body.

The weapon of choice at the time was pads, or what my brother called ‘nappies not napkins’. Aside from the task of pulling through the week of regular changing, one was expected to seek out some black hole in universe that could contain all the gory saturated evidence of their uterus’s monthly tantrums. Heaven forbid you forgot to dispose the pads at other end of the planet, or worse still the bathroom barricaded with crime scene tape by your family because you left the water in toilet bowl looking a little pink! The depravity of it all!


In collaboration with Aakar Innovations, The Better India is setting up a sanitary pad manufacturing unit in Ajmer, Rajasthan, that will not only produce eco-friendly or biodegradable sanitary pads, but will also employ women from rural communities around the area.

Contribute for the campaign here.

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Then one day, I got myself a cup. And everything changed. Sort of.

The Cup.

The menstrual cup has been around since the 1800s, with the first commercially available version in 1937. The idea was to provide an economical reusable product that would be safe. The modern day menstrual cup assures quite the same and more.

Made of medical silicon, a menstrual cup is inserted into your vagina. It’s designed it fill the vagina wonderfully and collect the blood. By some sorcery (well, a vacuum really), there is no leakage! The cup fills gradually, sans discomfort. Every few hours, you pull it out empty the blood, wash your cup and push it back in.

The taboo of the cup’s usage has been that it is something that must be inserted into otherwise forbidden territory. Mild concerns have been on hygiene and infection, major concerns have been about virginity and immaculate conception. Absurdities aside, the menstrual cups is one of the safest hygiene products for women. It is economical, durable, easy to maintain and imposes no restriction on movement or activity.

Freedom.

Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr

To be clear, it is not that this form of menstrual hygiene has magically changed the bias with which many of us understand our bodies, but it does, however, help push personal boundaries.


Also read: MY STORY: How I Started Making and Using My Own Cloth Pads


The process demands your attention. You are forced to look at the contents of what your body is expelling. Its hue, viscosity and volume. To truly observe, maybe even appreciate rather than have it misrepresented in a gel packed wad of cotton that fools you into thinking your flow is more than it actually is.

When you insert the cup, you bring yourself to understand the folds of your vagina, to be gentle and respectful but above all, pleasantly surprised that your body would gladly welcome this functional intrusion. It is this experience that becomes a small sense of self-acceptance. You no longer care for the shaming and find yourself happily sanitising your silicon friend in the same saucepan your father uses to make tea (calm down, he’s fine)! The liberation felt, though small a victory of my female person, was significant.

Aside from the natural whimsical inclinations that my menstrual cup usage is now saving the rainforests of the world or that I salvaged stacks of money, what the cup has most assuredly done is give me period peace.

I still need an app to help me track my days and I do not think the cup very much to reduce excruciating cramps. But, since my first intimate embrace a few months ago, I no longer leave trailing red patches and my sheets remain the colour I bought them. Small as these mercies may be, my life comes with a soundtrack and I’m quite satisfied to go from Good Charlotte’s ‘Bloody Valentine’ to Katrina & the Waves’ ‘Walking on Sunshine’.


In collaboration with Aakar Innovations, The Better India is setting up a sanitary pad manufacturing unit in Ajmer, Rajasthan, that will not only produce eco-friendly or biodegradable sanitary pads, but will also employ women from rural communities around the area.

Contribute for the campaign here.

Unable to view the above button? Click here


(Written by Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu)

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