"I started using the cup in 2017, but my mum who was a gynaecologist, said no. Indian Gynaecologists tend to have a block in their head about using anything insertable inside the vagina before 'marriage'," says Dr Tanaya.
"For the record, my mom also reacted the same way when she found out I was using it." We laugh.
..."A lot of this is linked to purity culture. There are a lot of things that we put in our bodies. These are extremely safe and very well tested," adds Dr Tanaya.
Have you been meaning to make the switch to more sustainable menstrual hygiene products like the cup?
Do you feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and unsure when it comes to actually using it?
Dr Tanaya Narendra, AKA Dr Cuterus talks to FIT about all things menstrual cups, and people who have tried it share their experience.
‘Can Using a Menstrual Cup Take My Virginity?'
We have so many alternative sustainable period product options available to us now, especially when it comes to the cup.
It's great, of course, because it gives each individual the flexibility to choose the menstrual hygiene product that best suits them. But, it can also be overwhelming.
Do you go for the cup with the stem or the ring? Do you go for the collapsable kind, or the disk? How does a newbie even decide?
"I think it's a bit of trial and error," says Dr Tanaya.
"Just as it takes time to find your perfect shoe, it also takes time to find your perfect cups. All the variants that are there are just helpful for catering to different audiences."Dr Tanaya Narendra
The fear of inserting a foreign object into your vagina is a common concern that many people who have considered switching to the cup have expressed.
Is it safe?
"Menstrual cups are made of this material called medical grade sillicone. The special thing about that is that it is super slippery. And because of that it doesn't allow bacteria to grow on them,"she explains.
"With that said, you want to make sure you're hygenic, that you're cleaning your cup properly, and clean your hands before touching the cup because otherwise, it can cause vaginal infections."
"These are extremely safe, very well tested. I don't see any reason to not use the cup unless you have a medical contraindication."Dr Tanaya Narendra
What are these contraindications?
For one, if you have condition like vaginismus, it is not recommended that you try using a menstrual cup.
"If you have any ongoing vaginal infection, you shouldn't be using a cup. It can aggrevate your infection. If you are sensitive to silicone, don't use it."Dr Tanaya Narendra
Can I use a cup if I've never had sex? Will it take my virginity?
This one makes Dr Tanaya sigh. She's heard it all too many times.
"First of all virginity is a social construct. It's not a medically valid concept," she explains.
"A lot of that is linked to purity culture where people do believe that putting anything in the vagina will make you impure. Absolutely untrue."Dr Tanaya Narendra
She goes on to talk about how we put many other foreign objects like contact lenses and cavity fillers in our bodies without any fuss.
How to Do It Right
If you find inserting the cup scary, or if it causes you some pain or discomfort, Dr tanaya suggests these Dos and Don'ts.
Don't insert it when you're not on your period
Use a water based lubricant to make it easier to insert it
Squatting when putting the cup in and taking it out can be very helpful
Don't clench your muscles
Breathe in and out. Get comfortable
Don't yank it when you want to take it out.
Pinch the bottom of the cup to break the vacuum seal and wiggle it to gently pull it out.
When you wash the cup, make sure the tiny holes on the side are clear.
Eco Anxiety and Period Guilt
"I want to establish that the cup is not the answer for everyone," says Dr Tanaya. Don't try to force it.
We live in a time when climate change and its impact is is so jarring, and we are are more concious than ever of the part we play in it. This can lead to eco-anxiety and even guilt among mensturators who are not able to switch to more sustainable hygiene products.
"I feel like there is a lot of peer pressure in switching to sustainable period products, which we should let go of,"says Dr Tanaya.
"Menstrual hygiene products are neccesities, not a luxory.Ecoanxiety is a very real fear but the burden of being more green shouldn't lie on a mensturator in terms of the period products they use."Dr Tanaya Narendra
(Catch the full conversation on the podcast.)