It's time for another blog post! I recently made an instagram story poll about whether you would want to read about my adventures and experiences with using a menstrual cup, majority of you said yes (which is awesome) but if you think this may not be for you, or you are easily squikked out, you can click away now..
I brought a menstrual cup probably 9 months to a year ago with amazing intentions of saving the environment and learning about my body and my cycle and generally just feeling like a better human for not putting so much waste into the world.
Little did I know, the seemingly innocent cup I brought home would give me more grief than I care to admit.
In hindsight I really should've thought this one through, but the first time I went to use it I was at work (already a high stress sitch) and I had little time before my next client to get in, get it done and carry on with the rest of my day.
I thought it would simply be a matter the same as inserting a tampon, the first time pretty uncomfortable but after that you could do it with ease as if you had done it forever. Boy was I wrong - first of all.. (another blunder by me) I hadn't really researched all the different ways of folding the cup, completely oblivious that all the different ways of folding it were actually to help make inserting easier, I just went with the first one I seen which is dubbed 'The C Fold' - essentially folding the cup in half so it looks like this:
Again (and yes this is recurring feature in my journey to using a Cup) little did I know, this created the widest point of insertion which most woman find really difficult to insert and very uncomfortable.
So after a few tries, and getting absolutely no-where but incredibly frustrated I went back to the ol faithful tampon.
I went back to tampons for a really long time, not wanting to deal with the high stress sitch that the Cup seemed to put me in and how uncomfortable it was to deal with, it was easier to just do what I had always done (while feeling guilty about all the money I was spending on disposables, and the environmental impact of that convenience)
My boyfriend finally convinced me to give it another go, and I finally managed to insert it!
It was uncomfortable and felt a little strange (because of the fact that it pops out into a full cup once it is inside of you it feels less "unnoticeable" than a tampon) but I was determined to get use to it.
One of the hardest things I've found about the cup is your inability to really know whether it has popped out all the way or whether it has a chink somewhere that stops the suction from working and causes leakage.
I will probably always remember the first time I tried to remove the blasted Cup. I had just got it in for the first time and it finally felt comfortable, so celebrations were being had, I finally felt like I could wear it all the time.
I started reading things online about menstrual cups and somehow got to an online forum all about horror stories of removing/inserting them (bad idea for someone who had only just figured out how to do it for the first time..)
I immediately wanted to see if I could get it out, horrified by the stories of failures and freakouts. So there I was attempted to get it out (lemme tell you that once they are in there the suction is quite intense) and through much frustration and discomfort I finally got it out, excitedly I whipped it up in the air to tell me boyfriend that I had managed to get it out (poor thing) and proceeded to spill what was inside the cup all over the floor, and on the toilet.. so there I was, laughing/panicking, half-naked in my bathroom with the contents of my menstrual cup on the floor.. (TMI? probably, I'm just preparing you for your future if you decide to try to use a Cup) and somehow I decided this was a good story to tell to the internet but hey, someone had to tell it like it is right?
Now that I've been using it for two cycles or so I feel as though I have some knowledge on the subject and am able to tell you about my experience with it.
It is so much better than tampons solely because of the fact that you don't need to change them as often. It's so much less hassle than having to change them every few hours as you can leave them in for up to twelve hours and it can hold up to 28mls of fluid, for reference a tampon only holds about 10mls, How good? (Just be aware of how full it gets when you are first starting out, I would recommend changing it every 4 or so hours when you are first learning to get comfortable as there will be less chance of spilling it as there wont be as much fluid in there.
The key to the Cup is to make sure you get the right fold for you, the internet is an amazing place for information and it will give you a whole heap of different folds that you can try until you find one that is comfortable for you. Personally I find that the 'Punch Down Fold' which creates one of the smallest areas of insertion so it is far more comfortable and more 'tampon like' than the others.
Another way you can start to get more comfortable with inserting and removing without the possible mess is doing so in the shower, because you can leave them in for so long without changing this is a great idea as you can put it in in the shower in the morning and take it out at night in the shower eliminating the embarrasment of having to try to do it at work, a friends house or any other public place.
I love the fact that it isn't creating waste! Yes, the outset cost of the Cup seems to be fairly expensive, I brought an OrganiCup which cost me $45 but if you think about how much money you spend on tampons/liners/pads every month, it all adds up in cash and in landfill!
" Did you know that an average woman during 10 years use approx. 3.600 pads and/or tampons? OrganiCup is reusable for up to 10 years, so it’s potentially the biggest contribution towards protecting our environment you can personally make. And it’s not bad for your wallet either" - www.dotforall.com
Lastly, it is so much better for your body, you aren't inserting things into our delicate areas that are laden with chemicals and dyes, and drying everything out down there.
Tampons are not just wasteful but they can leave you at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
"The primary cause of toxic shock syndrome is the combination of the material, usually cotton which supports the growth of bacteria, paired with the duration of use. When a saturated tampon is worn for too long it's touching the walls of the vaginal canal. In contrast, a menstrual cup catches blood vs. absorbing it, meaning there is a barrier (medical-grade silicone) between the walls of the vagina and the blood itself. Therefore, there is a much lower risk for TSS when using a menstrual cup!" - www.dotforall.com
That is it for this weeks blog post! It was a bit more personal, a tad more awkward but it is something us gals gotta stick together about. (The fact that the majority of my readers are female definitely encourages me to post this)
Our bodies and our periods are something we shouldnt be ashamed of, we should normalise it, talk about it, and discuss healthier ways to take care of business when it comes to them. It is important to educate all females on what they can do to hopefully have a better experience with something that takes up a lot of their life, but to also educate males, who have to deal with the woman in their lives going through this monthly as well.
Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Will you look into it after this blog post? Let me know @notjustaprettyfaceblog_ on instagram!
Lots of love,