Menstrual Cups

Guys (MEN), I’m telling you to look away right now.

The following post is about periods. So, seriously.

Go away.

If you’re still here, you’re reading at your own discretion.

Ladies: if you’re squeamish, turn away now. This post requires a bit of maturity.

Well, ladies, let’s talk about it. I can’t say there’s any one of us that loves our period.

As someone who suffers from menorrhagia, I completely empathize with all of you. Of course, I turned to tampons when I got old enough to wear them. Who didn’t? They’re so much easier, comfortable, and convenient to use. And no one wants to wear those icky pads. Walk around with blood hanging out in your pants all day? Yeah, it sucks.

Did you know that companies bleach tampons? Yeah, they do. Imagine that going in your.. you know what. Kinda gross, right?

I thought this was hilarious..

It’s also kind of gross that we continue to use these things. Because, let’s face it, what’s really happening when you use one is that it’s plugging you up. But seriously, you’re literally using it like a plug! How can this be healthy?

Short answer: it isn’t.

No one wants to go back to using the dreaded pads, and I wouldn’t recommend that you do. They’re terrible. What do I recommend instead?

I recommend using a cup.

A sampling of some of the menstrual cups offered

GASP! WHAT’S A CUP?! What is this thing?! There’s another option?

Yes, there is another option: a menstrual cup. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a flexible cup that can bend to your body’s unique shape.

I really do talk to all of my friends about my cup because I love it. It has literally changed my life, and I can’t imagine my life without one now.

Does it work? I have been using the cup for almost a year and it has never failed me unless I put it in wrong. That is, it’s my own fault that it doesn’t work.

Will it hold all my.. stuff? Yes, it will hold a significant amount of blood. I used to use 3 super plus tampons per day, and I can go all day without changing my cup.

Is it easy to use? It is once you get the hang of it. I won’t lie, when you first get the cup, there is a huge learning curve. You have to be comfortable touching yourself. You have to be patient. You have to learn not to freak out when it won’t come out (but don’t worry; it will come out!). Instead of worrying about my period all day, I simply change and wash it every morning in the shower and right before I go to bed – super simple. PS: you can wash it with a very common wash.

I’m intrigued. Where can I get one? Well, let’s talk about this question for a second. There are many, many menstrual cup companies out there to try. Of course, none of them are advertised on TV because the cup can last up to 10 years with proper care. The cost upfront is a bit steep; but if you think about it, you’ll be getting your money’s worth back within a few months.

Yes, you CAN save HUNDRED of dollars a year

Alright, now that that’s out of the way: let’s talk about a few aspects of the cup you need to consider:

Have you had a child? YES! This is a HUGE question to be asking yourself. The vaginal walls of a woman who has had a child are way different than those of one who hasn’t.

What kind of pliability do you need or want? Some of the cups are more “flexible,” while some are more “stiff.”

How do you want to pull your cup out? Some are built with a stem in, while others have a “knob” on the bottom. This is a preference, really. You’ll use whatever is on the bottom to pull it out.

What color do you want? No, seriously, this is a real question. There are some amazing colors out there.

There are many, many websites that can help you choose a cup. Here is one of them.

A nifty chart to help you pick a good cup

I was really lucky. I bought a Lunette and was in love from the moment I used it. I can only offer some advice if you decide to get one:

  • If you get one with a stem and don’t like the length, cut it.
  • You’ll find a position (and fold) of insertion that is most comfortable for you. I prefer the C-fold in a squat position. There are endless amounts of folds you can use to insert your menstrual cup comfortably. Here is a video of 9 of them.
  • To get the cup to pop open (you WILL hear it “POP”), twist it. The easiest way to do this is butt in the air, head to the floor – trust me. You have the greatest width (in the you know what) this way.
  • Don’t freak out if the cup doesn’t come out. It’s NOT going anywhere. You probably just need a better grip on it (and you need to relax). If you don’t relax, you’re guaranteed to be tensing the vaginal muscles that are holding it in place. Just pull it until you can grab the bottom of where the stem is. This gets better with practice, I promise.
  • Take the cup out when you’re in the shower or when you’re sitting on the toilet. I’ve never dropped my cup, but you’ll want to have a place to pour it out immediately.
  • If you need to rinse in a public bathroom, use a bottle of water.
  • Don’t wash the cup in warm water – use cold water ONLY! It will stain in warm water.
  • If you do get stains, don’t fret. Your cup isn’t ruined. Soak it in a 3% hydrogen-peroxide solution for 8 hours.

Menstrual cups are awesome. They really are. It freaked me out when I thought of the chemicals the tampon companies might be putting on their products. It’s evident that they are, though, since some companies advertise that they’re selling unbleached tampons. The best thing about menstrual cups, though, is that they’re environmentally friendly. Yup, no more wasting paper and cotton in the trash.

What do you think, ladies? Would you get a cup? Is there anyone out there who has one?

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5 thoughts on “Menstrual Cups

  1. I’ve been curious about these for a while, and I’ve had friends with not-so-positive experiences. It’s good to hear yours is going well!
    What about physical activity? How does that affect usage? I switch between pads and tampons depending on what I’m doing, but how does action affect the cup?

    • This is a great question. It doesn’t affect physical activity at all. Actually, I know a lot of women who Crossfit and rave about the cup during their exercises.
      There are two things that hold the cup in place: the vaginal muscles and suction. You don’t have to consciously squeeze your Kegel muscles to hold it in the entire time (which is part of what makes it so great) because the combination makes it stay in place regardless of any activity you do. The suction is the reason you have to make sure it pops open completely — we don’t hair air inside the vagina, which is what makes “popping” it open in there difficult. I have found that women don’t make sure that they have popped it open all the way, and that’s why they end up disliking the cup — they experience leakage because they don’t have suction.
      I use it when I run and lift weights (and I used to do Kettlebell), and I have never had a problem with it moving out of place or anything. I won’t swim with mine because I have menorrhagia and am paranoid that it would be the one time I put it in wrong, but I have read of many women who do.

  2. What do you do when you are going from class to class? Would it be difficult (and maybe embarrassing?) to take it out and put it back in in a public bathroom?

    • You can leave the cup in for about 12 hours (even then, it’s only recommended that you empty and clean it for sanitary purposes). The cup (at least, the Lunette) holds a substantial amount of blood; when I tested mine with water to see how much it held, it held about a fourth of a cup.
      I have had to change it in a public restroom several times. It was a very scary experience. Mainly, I was concerned that I would bleed all over the place before being able to put it back in. I’m not saying it’s the best experience, but I don’t think it’s the worst either. And, I would say that it’s embarrassing for the person doing it, but other girls know what’s it’s like to have a period, and they sympathize. At least you wouldn’t be leaving your pad in the toilet like some of them have (gross).
      I think a lot of girls can last all day without having to change the cup in a public restroom because of the amount it holds. I’m not a good example for saying how long it lasts because I bleed way more than the average person 😔

  3. Great review! I told all my friends about these cups and they all just get so grossed out by the idea of it. I currently use the Mooncup (UK) and I love it! You couldn’t even pay me to go back to tampons or pads. I did have difficulty with it the first time but by the second time, I didn’t have any problems (:

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