Today it will be a little bit of a different post. I have been wanting to write about this for months now, but I have always been a bit worried about sharing this much personal life on the internet. However, my love for the Menstrual Cup is too strong not to say it out loud. So, here I will be sharing with you my experience (together with some of my friends’) and telling you a bit more about how it can change your life.
Yes men, you might want to move along now!
That being said, let me give you some background about why I even thought about trying out a menstrual cup.
Women experiencing from a medium to abundant flow during their period can understand how uncomfortable it gets during that week of the month. The constant fear of having to go to the toilette to check on the situation is terrible, I feel you. Not to mention the waste of pads/tampons every day! I tried to give a rough estimation of how much I have already spent in my life on pads and I came up with almost 1000€ (7-8€ per month over a time span of roughly ten years!). It is a whole lot of money, right?
So, when I found out about a safe and eco-friendly alternative I decided to give it a try.
Now, after three months of using the cup, I can definitely say that I am starting to handle my period in a brand new – and much more comfortable – way.
WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP?
For those of you who don’t know what a Menstrual Cup is, it is basically a medical-grade silicone cup that is used to catch menstrual fluid instead of using lots of pads/cotton tampons. It uses suction to stay in place, and when you’re ready, you remove it and pour the blood down the toilet, rinse it off, and reinsert.
Iuk – you might think, but once you get used the procedure (and to the messiness too), everything gets easier!
The various cups all have some different sizing, shapes, and colors, but they all work the same way. I am not going to get into details here, there are plenty of articles that go much more graphic which can explain you better that I possibly could. However, in short words, as I already said, the basic thing is that you fold the cup in half and insert it pretty much like you would with a tampon (but not as high!). Once inserted, the cup opens into the full circle again and then forms the seal and then it is ready to collect the blood.
It seems pretty easy, but expect a few tries before actually being able to master the art of the cup. It took three months for me to feeling actually comfortable in going around with it (and I still do not think I am fully an expert). It is a long process of knowing your body, knowing the fold that works best for you and for your cup, learning how to recognise if the suction is working properly and, most importantly, getting used to “quickly” empty it in public toilets.
So, try not to give up that easily – it will be 100% worth it!
WHY SHOULD YOU USE ONE?
- It is Eco-Friendly: menstrual cups do not need to be repurchased that often. You use them a week(ish) every month, you sterilise them before and after using them and then you store them into place until next month.
- You will save so much money from not buying pads/tampons anymore.
- You can keep it on without worrying for longer (even 12 hours!). It can contain more blood than two regular/big tampons with the difference that the liquid will not be directly in contact with your skin, which brings us to the next point.
- It can decrease the risk of infection, with respect of using regular tampons.
- It is very handy if you travel a lot or you play sports, or for the pool or for going to the beach or for so many other activities.
- It reduces the probabilities of smelling like, you know … like… really bad.
- It does not interfere with your vagina’s natural and healthy functions.
EXPERIENCES, TIPS AND TRICKS
I am going to start with my personal experience.
I first tried the menstrual cup a few years back now and it didn’t really turn that well at the time. Maybe because I wasn’t very convinced of the thing, maybe because I did’t pick the right one, I don’t know.
Anyway, I decided to give it another try. I happily received the Organicup‘s menstrual cup(*) more than three months ago and since then my period (and my life too!) has changed drastically.
Yes, it was freaking hard to understand how to handle it, yes it was freaking hard to put it in, yes it did leak the first times (and still does every now and then) and yes it was not easy at all to take it off.
The first experience. As I already mentioned, the first thing I wanted to understand is which insertion method suited me better. I am talking about folding methods in particular – and for this, I recommend you watching this video here – and positions method, which might be while standing up, sitting on the toilette, with one foot on the sink or some people say even in a squat position. It will take you at least a couple of tries to do this – for me, it took three or four trials, all perfectly normal. Then, I wanted to check if the cup did open correctly, and for this I do recommend you actually go round the cup with a finger and double-check. But anyway, if the suction is working properly, you should be able to feel it. The first day I was very worried and I got some leaking too, for this reason you might want to still wear some kind of lines/pads the first times you try it. But, all in all, it was a positive experience.
The first removal process though, it was a sort of movie massacre scene. B l o o d e v e r y w h e r e! Ha – ha! After a couple of times I realised that it was all about “breaking” the suction mechanism by pushing the cup a little bit before pulling it out (do not pull the steam!).
Now, I know that this story may not seem very encouraging – but believe me, once taken the hand, the cup will become your trusted friend.
If you are still not convinced, I asked three friends of mine who are using the menstrual cup some thoughts and recommendations and here is what they said.
Angela, 22 years old
“I’ve been using it for three months now, I am still not a pro. It took a few days at the start to learn how to insert it correctly. But once I understood the technique that works for me, it became comfortable and sure-fire! You honestly DON’T FEEL IT, it is like you are not in your period at all. It’s freeing and you don’t have to worry about changing your tampon so often. I feel much cleaner and I can better monitor my period. No more irritations (it will be such a relief next summer), you only have to worry about emptying it every 8 hours, you save money and waste less. The only drawback can arise if you don’t find a toilette with a sink, in that case I might need to switch to a pad. But it happens very rarely, so I can definitely say that the advantages are significantly greater.”
Silvia, 29 years old
“I already knew the menstrual cup. I had heard a lot about it and then Giulia convinced me taking the big leap: buying it! My first concern was definitely on “how” to use it properly, that is to be able to handle it naturally without, you know…doing damage. For me it was easy enough, fortunately we got along pretty well right away. The only risk that you might run is of becoming a hands-hygiene freak! Everything else is all carefree. And when you need it, just find a bathroom with a sink!”
Agnese, 22 years old
“To be honest, initially I was very skeptical: I thought it would only be an inconvenience. Now we are inseparable. Much more resistant and (more importantly) safe, even at a hygienic level, compared to a tampon. It often happens that I even forget I am wearing it! Since I bought it, I haven’t been buying pads anymore. Going to the pool and to the beach is no longer a problem now and, above all , I can finally play sports without worries.”
Some tips you might need if you want to convert to menstrual cups.
- Give yourself enough time the first month(s) and embrace the fact that you are going to get your hands very – VERY – dirty.
- One thing I find very handy is to change the cup under the shower.
- Always – and when I say always, I mean always – check for the suction. Yes, with your fingers too!
- It’s ok if you don’t manage to properly insert it the first times. What you can do is to only insert the first part of the cup and then try opening it. One it has opened, you can gently push it up into the correct position.
- You might need to try more than one brand before finding the right one for you.
- If the steam keeps irritating you, some women who have a low cervix may find this happening, simply trim it. You don’t actually need it. And no, the cup cannot get lost in the middle of a black hole down there!
- Keep the cup low, since it does not have to be positioned as high as a tampon, but not too low to feel it when you walk.
I will leave you here some amazing tips I found on BuzzFeed that you might find hilarious but oh so helpful!
I hope this article was helpful and I hope it made you discover the magic world of the menstrual cup 🙂
And what about you, have you ever tried the menstrual cup? Will you try it?
Let me know in the comments. As always, I am so curious to hear more from you.
DISCLAIMER: This is my personal and honest opinion. I only recommend products that I genuinely love and that I would recommend to a friend. Products marked with an asterisk were sent to me as a sample; this does not affect my honesty in reviewing them. Thank you.
Lots of love,