A Gynecologist's Opinion on Menstrual Cups



Do you have questions about a menstrual cup that you’d like a gynecologist to answer? In this video, UK-trained OBGYN Dr. Premalatha answers every question you can think of relating to menstrual cups. 

Gynecologist Dr. Premalatha recommends using the Asan cup because it is a healthier and more sustainable option than pads and tampons. 

what is the asan cup?

The Asan cup is a menstrual product that collects your period flow. It is made from Medical Grade 6 Silicone and is reusable for up to 10 years.

what are the advantages of the asan cup over other sanitary pads?

Asan cup is very sustainable and environmentally friendly. One biggest advantage of using the cup is that it averts around 2500 disposable sanitary pads and tampons from going to landfill and oceans.

The best that we can do for our environment is to live a more sustainable menstrual life by switching over to the Asan cup. 

how do you use the asan cup?

The Asan cup is the world's easiest cup to insert and remove. Before trying the cup, you should ensure that you are completely relaxed. 

Hand hygiene is a must - please wash your hands with soap or sanitise them before inserting the cup. 

Please remember that the vagina is like a collapsible cylindrical wall which is between 9 to 11 cm in length. The cup measures around 4cm in diameter and therefore it will easily go in. It can be folded either using the C-fold method or any other folds that a person prefers for insertion.

For insertion, squatting position is ideal and is recommended if you are trying the cup for the first time. This position relaxes the lower pelvic muscles and expands them, making it easy to insert the Asan cup.  

When the cup is inserted in the vagina it pops open and creates a vacuum with the vaginal walls around it. Unlike pads or tampons, which absorb menstrual blood, a menstrual cup collects the blood from the cervix, which is also known as the neck of the womb. 

how long can you wear your asan cup?

The Asan cup can be worn for up to 12 hours without any leaks. As the size of the Asan cup depends on your menstrual flow, you might have to check how much time it takes for the cup to get filled. 

If you have heavy flow, you may need to remove it in six to eight hours and if you have a moderate or a light flow it can stay up to 12 hours.

While removing the cup, please pinch the bottom of the cup to break the vacuum and release the air suction. After removing the cup, empty and wash it before reinserting. You will not feel the cup once you insert it correctly. 

You can go about with your daily activities, including physical activities like swimming, jogging, exercise etc. and sleeping with your menstrual cup inside you. 

what is the asan cup made from?

Asan cup is made up of Grade 6 silicone, which is a medical grade silicone. It is the same material that is used in breast implants, heart stents etc. It is very safe to sit inside the body. It does not react with the tissues or fluid in the body as it is very inert. 

does it hurt to use the asan cup?

It absolutely doesn't hurt to use the Asan cup.  

Remember that the vagina is also called the birth canal through which a baby's head and body comes through. It is extremely expandable and is like a collapsible cylinder.  

As the asan cup is made of high quality silicone, it is flexible and it doesn’t hurt or cause any sort of discomfort during insertion. 

can the asan cup fall out of the vagina? 

The Asan cup is very unlikely to fall out of the vagina as it sits intact inside the vagina by creating air suction. 

There are three tiny holes below the rim of the Asan cup that help in creating a perfect seal, keeping the cup one position. 

The cup is held in place by the surrounding vaginal wall muscles. The vaginal muscles are very strong and they contract and ensure that nothing falls out. 

So, please be assured that the cup won’t fall out of the vagina on its own. 

asan cup with a ring

can the asan cup get lost inside my vagina?

The cup can never get lost inside your vagina! 

At the end of the vaginal canal is the cervix, which is a tiny opening which menstrual blood comes out from.  

Your cup sits in your vaginal canal right below your cervix and collects the menstrual blood. So, it cannot go past the neck of the womb at all. 

So, please be assured that there is no way that the cup can get lost in the vagina, it might ride up high but trust us it will come out. 

do i have to remove my cup every time i go to pee?

No, you don't have to remove the cup every time you go to pee.

The pelvic floor in a female has three openings: 

  1. The front opening is called the urethra from where you pass urine.
  2. The centre opening is the vagina, through which the menstrual blood comes out, and it is called the birth canal as well. 
  3. The last opening in the bottom is called the anus, through which the faeces come out.

As the cup is worn inside the vagina, you absolutely don't have to remove the cup when you have to use a toilet.

does using the asan cup tear the hymen?

You can imagine the vagina as a collapsible cylindrical wall which has a membranous lining at the entrance, called the hymen. The hymen already has an opening in it through which the menstrual blood passes.

Yes, there is a possibility that usage of this cup can stretch it or tear your hymen a little bit. But this does not equate to losing the virginity.

Virginity is a concept that is related to having penetrative sex. The Asan cup is not related to sex even though it is an insertable menstrual product. So, it is absolutely fine and safe for a girl who hasn't been sexually active to use this cup.

At Asan, we believe that everyone's choice should be respected. If a young girl feels that she can use a cup, she should be provided with all support and proper guidance. It would be helpful to introduce her to female anatomy making her fully aware about her body and cup usage.

does the asan cup have risks of infections?

The Asan cup uses medical Grade 6 silicone and is quite inert. It doesn't react with the blood or tissues of the body. Therefore, it is very unlikely to cause infection or any other potential harm. 

The menstrual blood collected inside the cup doesn’t get oxidised as it doesn’t come in touch with air. Thus, it reduces any risk of infection.

On the other hand, sanitary pads are highly chemically treated and bleached as soon as they come in contact with air. This causes high chances of infections either in the urinary tract or in the genital tract.

So, Asan cup confers an advantage over the sanitary pads in being inert, less potential for causing infections safe to use as well. 

what is toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare bacterial infection usually caused due to retained tampons. 

The Asan cup doesn't lead to toxic shock syndrome because the cup doesn't react with the blood as it is made of inert medical grade silicone. 

The only thing you need to remember is not to use the Asan cup for more than 12 hours. You need to take the cup out every 12 hours, empty and wash it before reinserting it.

can asan cup be used with IUDs?

Yes, the Asan cup can be used even if you are using an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). An intrauterine contraceptive device sits within the cavity of the uterus. 

The function of the IUD is to prevent pregnancy, and in some cases it is used to treat health conditions. The strings of the device pop out through the cervix.

The Asan cup sits at the bottom of the vagina, which is quite far from the neck of the womb. So, it won’t dislodge the IUD.

But to be on the safer side it is better to check for the threads of the IUD following insertion and removal every time, to ensure that the IUD is in place. Just a little extra caution needs to be taken whilst using it with an IUD!

image of a vagina with illustration of iud device
what is vaginismus? can the asan cup be used if you have vaginismus?

Vaginismus is the condition in which the muscles of the vagina involuntarily contract when there is an attempt at any kind of penetration either with a finger or while having sex. 

This is a common condition and consulting a doctor is recommended.

There are many options available to treat this. Doctors encourage women with this condition to try vaginal dilators which helps them overcome the discomfort.

 Once they overcome this condition the fear of penetration is not there anymore. Once the painful sensations are treated, you are good to use the Asan cup.

can the asan cup cause prolapse?

A prolapse is a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles become weak. Due to the weakness in the pelvic muscles, sometimes the bladder, uterus or the portion of the bowel can actually drop through the vaginal walls. 

This weakening of the pelvic floor muscles is mostly caused by childbirth and the symptoms can be manifested as the estrogen levels begins to drop, especially during menopause.

The Asan cup can not cause prolapse, but it may not be suitable for women who already have a prolapse. This is because the pelvic floor muscles may be weak and not be able to hold the cup intact.

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