My first time using a menstrual cup: Ira, 25-year-old's experience

In this blog, Asan team member Ira Malhotra shares her experience using a menstrual cup for the very first time, including how she overcame her fears about trying an insertable period product.

I first heard of a menstrual cup a few years ago. While I knew a cup was used to manage your period, I had no idea how it worked and how to use it. 

I had dismissed the thought of using a menstrual cup due to my terrible experience with tampons - I started using tampons during swimming lessons in high school, and every time I pulled the tampon out, the pain caused due to friction between my vaginal opening and the soaked tampon was unbearable.

I assumed a menstrual cup would hurt in the same way as it also needs to be inserted in your vagina. Little did I know that the Asan cup was completely different and would be life-changing for my period! 

Choosing a menstrual cup for the first time

After constantly being frustrated by the rashes and discomfort caused by pads on a monthly basis, I started doing some research into menstrual cups myself. Choosing a menstrual cup for the first time can be a confusing experience. When I came across Asan, I was automatically drawn to them because of two factors.

Firstly, the medical Grade VI silicone used to make the product reassured me that it was a high quality and safe menstrual cup. Secondly, I was fascinated by the removal ring as it seemed like such an obvious design strategy - yet I had never seen it before in other menstrual cup brands! 

After researching the Asan cup’s design, understanding the company’s values and watching their video on the 1-for-1 donations programme, I decided to try it out. 

The process of trying the Asan cup 

Luckily I received the Asan cup just in time for my period to start. As my cycle is not entirely predictable (often 3-4 days late) and this was my first time using a menstrual cup, I decided to wear a liner until I spotted blood.

In the meantime, I was in touch with Mamta from the Asan team as I was feeling very nervous leading up to trying the cup. The best advice she gave me was to remain calm and continue taking deep breaths while inserting and removing the cup - this went a long way! 

After reading thoroughly through the Asan user guide that came with the box, I got into a deep squat and used the C-fold to insert the cup. I had set aside plenty of time as I assumed that inserting the menstrual cup would take a few tries to get it right - but I managed to insert it correctly in the first go!

I felt the cup pop open inside my vagina and gently tugged on the ring to ensure suction was created. It was honestly amazing how I could not feel the cup at all! 

Learning about my flow

As it was my first time using the cup and I was unsure of how much I bled, I decided to take the cup out within 6 hours. The Asan cup’s special removal ring made it super easy to locate the cup with my finger, after which I squeezed the bottom of the cup to release suction and gently pulled it out. 

To my surprise, it was barely even ¼ full. I had always assumed I was on the heavier side of menstrual flows as my pads used to be completely soaked, but now realised I bled much less than I thought. After emptying out the blood and rinsing it with water, I reinserted the cup with ease and kept it in for up to 12 hours without any issues at all! 

The rest of my period felt like a breeze! The Asan cup is perfect for beginners like me as it was super simple and easy to use. In fact, I just wish I had made the switch sooner.

Towards easier and more comfortable periods 

Until I tried the Asan cup, I truly thought my period and all the discomforts that came with it were something I had to tolerate. Simply put, it was the most annoying week of the month.

My periods have become very painful over the last few years - I often struggle to get out of bed on the first and second day of bleeding as my cramps are so severe. While I had managed to find effective methods of temporary relief such as painkillers and bingeing on Cadbury caramel chocolate, I only realise now how much the physical discomfort of wearing bulky pads contributed to the uneasiness. 

Even better - while using the Asan cup there were days where I forgot I was even on my period. It made my menstrual cycle feel so easy and effortless! 

Menstrual cups and body-positivity

In addition to making my period so much more comfortable, the most defining benefit about using the cup was its ability to make me feel confident and positive about my body.

I initially thought that I would be repulsed from using the cup as it requires you to get-up-close-and-personal with your vagina and period blood - something that has always been considered as ‘dirty’ and ‘unhygienic’. However, through using the cup I have learnt about my basic anatomy, including how much I bleed, where exactly I bleed from, and how my body functions to ensure a healthy reproductive system. 

Through this process I have grown a strong appreciation for the natural cycle of menstruation. I strongly believe that menstrual cups are a transformative tool for body positivity and menstrual health awareness.