Menstruation is one of those topics we grow up learning not to talk about. It was something you don't mention in public. Fortunately, now days there is a lot more information about menstruation/period care and is no longer such a tabu. I'm sure you have come across more than one menstruation positive instagram page, articles and informative videos.
I've been lucky to be able to openly talk about this topic with my family, friends and my husband. Whenever I have a questions, I know I can talk about it without feeling weird or ashamed to bring it up.
When I first started my period I used pads - which till this day I hate. Using a pad was kind of the norm when you first start your period. I don't remember knowing about tampons until I was in High school. It was when I was at swimming practice when the coach told me about tampons and how you can swim with it. What?! I was surprised, curious and a little scare to try it. I mean, it sound a little intimidating to stick a cotton stick into your vagina. But I tried it and ever since I've been using tampons. For me tampons is a more practical and I clean option. There is something about pads I can't take, but like in everything, its about preference.
Two years ago, I switched to organic cotton tampons as a way of being more mindful of my body and the environment. But they didn't feel just right to me. I felt like organic cotton tampons did not hold the blood as good as the regular tampons do. I found myself changing tampons more often and most of the time I wore a liner just in case. I went back and forth between organic cotton and regular tampons. I still wanted to find a solution that was better for me and the planet.
Not to long ago, I came across a YouTube video about "the menstrual cup", I was intrigued. The video took me into a rabit hole of videos and articles about menstrual cups. I was in complete awe. So much information!
To my surprise the Menstrual cup has being around since the 1930's but it was first produced in U.S. until 1987. The menstrual cup is a flexible cup made of silicone that goes inside your vagina and unlike tampons and pads that absorb your flow, menstrual cups collected it. You can leave it in for up to 12 hours, it's eco friendly, reusable (one can last from 1 - 2 years) and there's less odor. I'M SOLD.
This week, I finally decided to give it a try. I was walking down the aisles at my local farmacy looking for some tampons and I noticed they had a few menstrual cups. I grabbed one of the boxes, read the entire box and put it back. I grabbed another one and did the same thing. I couldn't make up my mind, so I ended up grabbing a box of tampons and walked away. I was getting on line to pay when I rushed back to grab the box. I did it!
I opted for buying the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is one of the more poplar brands and I seem to remember the name. It was a day after that I decided to give it a try. I read the box one more time and as the label instructed I boiled my cup to sterilize it. Ok, let me side track a bit. Before getting to that point, I told my husband I had gotten a menstrual cup, explain to him what it is and told him he might see me boiling my cup on our sauce pan. hah! He was ok with it. And don't worry its not like you are going to put it in a sauce pan all covered in blood.
So now to the fun part. How to use a menstrual cup:
1. Find the right cup for you
One thing I learned about menstrual cups is that they come in different sizes, so its important to check different brands to find the one that will work for you, apparently there are also cups for low and high cervix. Who knew!
This is the part I was a little scare, but it was not nearly as hard as I though it would be. Before anything sanitize your cup (boil it for 5 -10minutes). I do recommend you watch a couple of YouTube videos explaining all about insertion and folds - it made a difference for me. I choose the C-fold, it seemed easy enough to try it.
Find a comfortable position to insert the menstrual cup, seat down in the toilet, try standing up or squatting. I found it the easiest standing up. You will need both of your hands and a little patience. Try to relax and slowly push it in the direction of your tail bone. I know it all sounds weird but when you are doing it, it all makes sense. At first it will feel as if you were wearing a tampon but as it adjusts and finds it way up there it becomes undetectable.
The first couple of times using it I saw a bit of spotting. This happens when the cup is not placed in the right position. It took me a few tries before I figured out the best way for me to insert it. When you do, you will no have any leakage and it will be very comfortable to wear. You might even forget you are wearing it.
One of the things I was very surprised by was that there is NO ODOR what so ever. Wether you wear pads or tampons, there is always some odor regardless of how "clean" you are during your period. I could say that if it wasn't for my killer cramps I wouldn't have known I was on my period.
This is the part I was not sure how it was going to turn out. I decided to take it out while in the shower just in case it all went all over the place and my bathroom looked like someone just got murder. I'm glad I choose the shower for my first time removing it. It was the least to say challenging. Let's just say it felt like it went higher than I expected and for a minute I was freacking out because I couldn't pull it out. You are not supposed to just "pulled it out" as the cup creates some suction. You need to pinch the base of the cup to break the seal, you will know when the seal is broken and it will be easier to slowly pull out. Do not pull from the steam but instead grab from the base.
After a few tries I got the hold of it. Towards the end of my period I felt very good about inserting and removing the cup with ease. I felt so confident that I had it all figured out that I even went to bed wearing a WHITE nighty and Im happy to report it remain white. 🤣
I haven't had to remove or insert my cup at a public restroom but I think I should be able to easily do it. However, since you can wear the cup for up to 12 hours it seems pretty easy to plan ahead when to insert your cup.
Now that you got it out, empty the cup, clean and repeat.
Wash your cup in the sink with mild soup and water. You don't have to sterilize your cup after each time you remove it. But can if you want to - simply boil your cup for 5-10 min and its ready to go.
Getting used to inserting and removing the cup takes a couple of tries but its a lot easier than it looks. I'm so happy I decided to try it. I don't see myself going back to tampons any time soon. I find it very comfortable and convenient. Today, menstrual cups seem to be in the raise as a popular option for menstrual care. They are easily accessible and you can find a variety of menstrual cups, portable cup cleaners and special cup soaps online.
Will you give it a try?