Tonight, I wanna talk about menstrual cups. I know what you’re thinking… “Ew. Ew. Why.”
I said the same thing when I first heard of it, maybe in freshman year of high school. Last year, I made two new friends who used menstrual cups. If you don’t know what it is, look it up. Let me tell you, it has changed my life, and I am never going back. I got my period the summer before I turned 12 years old. I only used pads, but I was always struggling with them because it was a lot of work to keep myself clean. In-between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I switched to tampons. Last July, I took the plunge and bought my first menstrual cup. It took me a while to get to that point.
First, I did an insane amount of research (as you all should, if you’re curious). I read forums, blogs, Facebook posts, testimonies, YouTube videos, everything. I even took a quiz that told me what brand of menstrual cup I should buy. Taking a quiz is important! Not all menstrual cups are the same; some are a little bigger and wider than others and the quiz takes into account how high up your cervix is. Some cup brands will work better for lower cervixes and vice versa.
My cervix is pretty high, and I’ve never had any children so I ended up with the small Lena cup. Most brands have two sizes, a small and a large. Most times size large is for women who have had children or have heavy flows.
I started with the small Lena (even if I knew my flow was pretty heavy, evidently I only bleed for about 3-4 days). Reason One, I had no idea if I was going to be successful even using this. Reason Two, if I couldn’t figure it out, I didn’t want to waste 40 dollars.
It was a success, and I made the decision to never use anything else again. However, I ended up buying the Large Lena after an incident of the cup overflowing in too short of a timespan. As I mentioned before, I have a heavy flow.
Menstrual cups are amazing because:
1. It can be left in for up to 11 hours (longer than any pad or tampon) with little to no risk of TSS
2. Because the “period smell” that a lot of girls/women hate about having their period is an issue, this takes care of that immediately. The smell comes from the blood making contact with the air and just sitting. Menstrual cups keep the blood inside the cup and leaves no trace of a smell.
3. It’s cheaper in the long run. You don’t have to buy a new cup every year, but if there is discoloration (yes, that happens as with any silicone) you can. It costs a bit more when you buy your first cup, but because it’s reusable you don’t need to purchase a box of pads/tampons every month.
4. Its a healthier choice for your body and the environment. Only buy certified menstrual cups because they are FDA approved and makes of medical grade silicone or high grade rubber. In my opinion, tampons were a better choice for me, but menstrual cups are an even better one.
5.Once you get the right insertion/position you will never leak (it seals against the vaginal walls). I haven’t gotten to that point quite yet, I’m still learning, but I’m pretty close. Just use a liner until you get it right. Also, many women and girls believe you bleed a lot during a menstrual cycle, in actuality you do not. Normal amount of blood loss is 30-40ml and can be up to 60ml for those who bleed heavy, in one cycle. Menstrual cups come in the typical sizes of 15-20ml (small) and 30-40ml (large). Do the math (which I’m horrible at) and you shouldn’t overflow in a day, unless you only bleed for one day!
I know you’re probably thinking, well how does this even work? How does it not go leak out? Can you lay down with it? Can you swim with it? Can you do cartwheels with it? The answer is yes. You can do anything with a menstrual cup. Read up on how to use it, there are so many types of folds to get it inside, and with practice it’s quite easy to use. Watch a video of someone who explains how it works. Do the research.
I am about to start my 6th cycle with the menstrual cup and I cannot be happier. The only struggle I have with it right now is getting the right routine down for dumping/re-inserting in public restrooms. Some bring water bottles in and rinse over the toilet, some use napkins or wipes to clean it out before re-inserting. I’ve done both, but because you can leave it in for so long, I’ve only had to change it in public maybe 3 times?
Here is a picture of the brand that I use. I have both small (in the color pink) and large (in the color purple), and use small on my lighter days.
I swear it’s worth it. Menstrual cups are a definite yay for me. It has never inhibited me from doing anything. I try my best to get all my friends on this healthier choice and some people just can’t get past the blood being collected and having to dump it out and re-insert. Honestly, that’s the best way to to get to know your period and flow, accurately.
I hope you take the plunge, like I did!
Happy curl, happy girl
Curly Island Girl