If you are a woman, then having your period can be somewhat of a pain ~ for some women, it can truly be a painful time of the month that’s challenging to deal with.
Aside from the fact that we have to deal with painful cramps that can be incredibly uncomfortable, we also have to deal with period options that aren’t so healthy for us long term.
It really is challenging to find out that something that we use regularly is harmful for our health – the good thing is that there are many options that are safer, and less expensive over time.
While pads and tampons seem like a necessity for most women, those items contain fragrances, chemicals and neutralizers that you put very close to your body (and in some cases, in your body). Those chemicals prevent your body from breathing naturally.
Tampons and pads rely on cotton, & cotton is one of the most genetically modified crops next to soy, canola and corn. Considering that women wear them for several days at a time each month, for ten, fifteen or even twenty years, it’s really scary to think that those chemicals are causing harm on our health and reproductive system.
Just as recent as Oct. 2015, a study found that 85% of all tampon samples tested positive for Glyphosate. In the case of cotton and gauze, that figure was 100%.” (Source)
Aside from the health issues associated with tampons and pads, you also have to worry about the waste, as well as the expense of having to buy those items each and every month.
Menstrual Cups soft sided and fit inside the vagina to collect your menstrual flow. They are much more comfortable than tampons and are leak proof, even better, you can go quite a bit longer between changes (8-12 hours if not more).
I know the whole concept of using a menstrual cup sounds daunting.. but it really is quite easy once you get the hang of using it.
The best way to determine which menstrual cup will work for you is to read the reviews on Amazon of the cups they have featured – there are several:
- Diva Cup Menstrual Cup (they have Pre & Post Childbirth)
- Lena Menstrual Cup
- Blossom Menstrual Cup (2 different sizes)
I personally use the Blossom Menstrual Cup and it doesn’t have that risk of TSS – it can be worn for up to 24 full hours.
I’ll be honest and tell you that I never thought I would use a menstrual cup, but now that I do, I can’t imagine going back to anything else. I have worn my menstrual cup on long road trips, overnight, on an airplane… while swimming with my kids, and so much more.
Most menstrual cups come in two sizes – one for pre-childbearing years and one for post-childbearing years. I actually picked up the smaller size despite having 5 kids and it works just fine for me.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Being willing to try a menstrual cup is one thing – trying to use it is an entirely different story.
From personal experience, using a menstrual cup for the first time was incredibly challenging. I was forever grateful for the variety of candid comments available on Amazon that helped me figure out how to use it properly the first time.
Can I just say for a minute that I really valued the honesty of some women – because I laughed so hard I cried, then I felt so much better trying to figure it out in the bathroom.
At first, it was a struggle.. the learning curve was rather steep but reading the comments really did help. Make sure you read those comments – whether buying the Diva Cup or the Blossom Cup, Luna Cup, etc.. but don’t let the comments deter you from buying, because it really does get easier to use.
I really do suggest giving it a try.
1. Fold it: First, you’ll want to wash your hands. Then fold the menstrual cup to make it easier to insert. Once you insert the cup, it should pop back open. There are many ways to fold it (and your pamphlet in the cup will show you several), but I find it easier to squeeze it and then fold it into a “C”.
2. Insert: Just as you would a tampon, insert it into your vagina and tilt back towards the base of your spine. As you get it into place, it should unfold to create a suction. If your uterus is tilted, you may have to find the right angle to get it to move into a place that the cup establishes that suction. The suction is what prevents the cup from leaking.
If the cup doesn’t unfold, gently use your finger to twist or wiggle around until it unfolds and blooms out to full size.
3. Determine how long: Your menstrual cup can be worn for 12 hours (or in some cases, longer depending on the brand) provided you have the correct size. At first, I would suggest changing morning and evening, until you determine how long you can and may want to keep it inserted.
4. Change your cup: When your cup is ready to be changed, wash your hands, and then pull down on the end of the cup to break the suction and carefully remove. Rinse with warm water and then reinsert (see #1 above). If you can’t reach the end of the cup, then use your pelvic muscles to push the cup down (same muscles that help you go pee), so you can reach the end to pull it out.
Every menstrual cup comes with a booklet of instructions, pictures to help you on your first use, and a convenient carry bag that you can use to store your cup.
The cup doesn’t usually come with any input from others who have switched over from pads and tampons so you may find yourself turning to the internet and Google to find answers to those questions before you start using one.
Agree? Perhaps that’s how you found us. ?
Should you Cup?
Only you can make that determination for yourself. The best thing is, the decision to use a menstrual cup is truly up to you – nobody should make you feel bad for not being comfortable enough to want to switch to one.
But if you do decide to give it a go, here are some common questions and answers that might help clarify some of the confusing stuff associated with this little silicon device.
Is it hard to put in? Yes.. and no. The first few tries are quite challenging, you will fold it, bend it, squeeze it and insert it multiple times before you figure it out. You might even decide to throw your leg up on the toilet seat to see if that helps you. You may even wish you had a mirror to help you out – but, after the first few tries, it does get easier. Believe me.. you will wonder why you waited so long to make the switch.
How does it feel? Believe it or not, you don’t really feel anything. Silicon is soft and although you may feel it going in, once it’s inserted properly you won’t even know it’s there. It’s actually quite comfortable.
Does it leak? Provided you insert it properly and get a good suction it will not leak on you at any point. I was a little worried about this too, and at first I wasn’t sure if I should change it more frequently, but I change mine in the morning and in the evening and I haven’t yet had any leaks.
What do I do if i’m not home? Easy – the menstrual cup is good for 12 hours – so take care of your business before you leave and when you get home. If you can’t possibly wait, then empty your cup and wipe out gently with tissue and pop back in. Usually though you are home to take care of it in the comfort of your bathroom – I have had my cup now for almost a year and I have never had to take care of it in a public restroom.
I would suggest making sure you are comfortable with using it before changing it in a public restroom – you don’t want to use it the first time when you are out and about because that might be a little stressful.
Do I have to touch blood? Seriously – it’s part of your body. It’s not disgusting – it’s your body. As with anything, wash your hands, and make sure that if you are changing it at home that you are washing it in clean water. When your period is done for that month, simply boil the cup in hot water or give it a good wash and tuck it away. The silicon won’t change in smell or color, in fact it remains the same month after month.
Being familiar and comfortable with your body is part of being an adult – it’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
Have you considered using a menstrual cup?
If you already use one, what was your biggest hurdle?