Have you seen or heard about menstrual cups? Maybe you already use one and love yours, this post isn’t really for you. But if you have seen them and are curious to know more, read on!
I have been hearing more and more about menstrual cups over the past year. One menstrual cup, if properly cared for, can last up to ten years! Think of all the waste you are eliminating by switching to a cup! AND all the money you will be saving. AND all of the time you will be saving by avoiding a bathroom break every other hour. You will no longer have to worry about things like toxic shock or unwanted chemicals sitting inside your body.
I was always skeptical to try menstrual cups and never looked into it any more than a passing conversation. I read a couple of blog posts about them that piqued my interest. As I become more and more of an environmentalist, I realized I couldn’t ignore the issue any longer as I emptied trash can after trash can during my monthly periods. I was skeptical about making the switch mostly because I have an IUD and had read somewhere that you shouldn’t use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD because it could dislodge it. After doing more research and talking to real women that have IUDs and use menstrual cups, I placed my order.
My Personal Experience
I read many articles about different brands and decided that I would order the MeLuna. They didn’t send me a cup for free or anything like that, I paid for it with my own money. I know that my cervix sits up high, so I went with a larger cup. (*edit* I wanted to clarify that the only reason that I know that my cervix sits high is because my OBGYN told me) I also decided to get the Classic in purple and with the stem handle. The stem is about an inch long but because my cervix sits so far up, I am really glad I opted for this. You can cut it, if its bothersome for you or choose another of their handle options. I love how you can easily customize the MeLuna. I am really pleased with my purchase! I may end up getting the more athletic (firmer) material in the future because I did notice that when I worked out vigorously, I had some leaking. But, it wasn’t enough to bother me so much that I am going to order another any time soon.
I boiled the cup before I used it for the first time and that’s all the cleaning that I did. I also read in this same blog post that you should pee on your hands as a method of cleaning. It makes sense, because that is the same advice we get about having sex. Go pee when you are done! That is definitely a tip I would suggest to you. Sure, you are literally peeing on your fingers. But I would rather pee on my hand and wash it than have to deal with an infection. As far as placement goes, there was definitely a learning curve. I had to play around with how to fold it. I read that you should do Kegel exercises to get it in place, and that is a tip I would definitely recommend. I also do some squats once I get it placed just so it gets shimmied around properly. This might sound excessive but it isn’t that bad. I did have a minor freak out one morning when I couldn’t get it out, but I learned that I just needed to be a little more aggressive and less dainty with my removal. I would advise gripping it from the base of the cup rather than the stem. It’s easier to control that way. I didn’t really clean it beyond rinsing it off with hot water. I’m not really what you would call an overly hygienic person but for what it’s worth, I’m also never sick. Do with that what you will. . .
I asked you guys on Instagram if you had any questions and got lots of feedback! Below I will list some questions that I had as well as some questions that you all asked of me.
Is it messy?
Kind of. I definitely would say it’s more messy than tampons. It’s about equally messy to a pad on your heaviest day. Women are often taught that their bodies are gross, especially during this time. Your period is one of the most natural things in the world. Yes, you will be getting up close and personal with your vagina. Yes, you will probably get some blood on your fingers. In my opinion, this is a wonderful exercise in self-love and acceptance.
Is it painful or uncomfortable?
It can be, if it isn’t the right cup for you. Or if it isn’t placed correctly. I had a couple of moments of uncomfortability but after taking it out and putting it back in, I realized it was just placed weird. The cup should not be painful for you, if it is, I would recommend getting a smaller cup. I have read that The Diva Cup is often not the right cup but the one women in the US most often purchase. They only come in one size, and for this reason, I recommend MeLuna or another company that has more options in sizing.
Can you wear it for a long time?
Totally! It depends on your flow but even on my heaviest days, I was only changing it twice! I wouldn’t recommend leaving it in for any longer than 10ish hours though. Check with your particular brand and see what they recommend.
Can I wear a menstrual cup and practice yoga?
Apparently, yes. I practiced 3 hours of yoga with mine in without any issues or leaking. The cup works by creating suction (kind of like when you were in elementary school and would put a cup over your mouth and chin and it would stick there for eternity) so you don’t need to worry about getting upside down and leaking everything as long as it was placed correctly to begin with.
What am I supposed to do when I am out in public?
Admittedly, I haven’t had this issue yet. Because I was only emptying it twice a day, this was easily avoidable. If you find that you will have to empty it in a public bathroom, I would recommend carrying a water bottle with you to rinse it off or just use the sink if you don’t care to.
Do I still need to wear period panties?
I would, at least for the first couple of months with the menstrual cup. Once I get into a tried and true rhythm, I may not ever have to own period panties again! But for now, I don’t want to accidentally ruin my good ones.
Is it worth the hassle?
In my opinion, yes. And it isn’t really a hassle once you are used to it. I am lazy AF and the menstrual cup was made for lazy people. I spend so much less time thinking about my period because I can go so long in between having to empty the cup. I also feel like I have cut down SO significantly on the waste that I am putting out, that alone is worth it to me. I had a horrifying experience with a tampon once and thought I was going to die, so the fact that I no longer have to stress about the chemicals being leached into my body is amazing.