I have wanted to write this post for a LONG time. Somehow it’s really dear to me.
I mentioned menstrual cups in my International Women’s Day post and felt when I did, that I needed to write a post dedicated to these beauties. In this post I want to cover why you should consider using a reusable menstrual cup, and a play by play for once I have convinced you.
First of all, I want to give a disclaimer, that every woman’s body is different from another. What works for me, may not work for you. What works for you may not work for me. I recognize and understand that this is only one option for women in the sanitary hygienic options out there and other options out there might be better suited for you. This is my own experience, what I’ve learned, what I’ve heard my friends say from their experience, so on and so forth. I do not think everyone has to use a menstrual cup, I understand for several reasons, it may not be an option for you, or the best option. But if you can dooo it.
Why use a menstrual cup?
I have a thousand answers to this question but here are 5.
1.It will save you money and hassle
You can buy a Diva Cup from London Drugs for $35-40 (CAD) and they suggest you change it every 2 years but you can go longer without purchasing a new one. You could easily spend that much in 4-5 months on just tampons.
2. It is better for the environment
It is no secret that I am learning about being more ethical and environmentally friendly with my lifestyle. Periods are waste producing machines when you use tampons and pads, plastic wrappers, applicators! Because menstrual cups are reusable, you are producing much less waste, they also usually come with a cloth bag or case to carry them in…no plastic waste every time you get your period. Listen to our girl from Trash is For Tossers share about zero-waste periods here.
3. It is safer for your body
Quality brand cups like Lunette and Diva Cups are made with food grade silicone. They do not contain chemicals or toxins that are dangerous for your body. In addition, there is no risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome.
4. You will get to know your body and period better.
Yeah you gotta fold the thing, and get all up in your own business to insert it but that is not a bad thing. Unlike men, we are all tucked up down there and it can be easy for women to not know their own bodies. You need to get more comfortable with your body, it’s yours for goodness sake. If sixth grade health class has been blocked from your memory and you need an anatomy review head over to this page on Lunette’s site where they so beautifully explain our lady bits.
In addition to knowing the inner caverns of your southern region, you also become more familiar with how heavy (or light) your period is. The Diva Cup has lines up the cup with measurements, not that you necessarily need a diary of how much blood you’re losing each month but it does keep you familiar with your flow and if anything changes you will know!
5. It will change your life.
There is a reason why women that use a menstrual cup are menstrual cup activists, IT CHANGES EVERYTHING. I travel overseas a lot, to countries where tampons can be hard to come by, so every time I would go overseas I would have to reserve a portion of my suitcase for a box or two of tampons.
You need to change your tampon sooner than every 8 hours. You can leave a menstrual cup in for TWELVE HOURS.
Y’all the cup is convenient, safer, cheaper, less wasteful, simple, hygienic, and I could go on forever.
Have I persuaded you yet? Yes, fantastic, keep reading.
You have been persuaded to buy one, now what?
Every one who tries the cup has a few bumps along the way while they learn, how to use it, their own body and adjust to life without tampons/pads.
1.It freaks most people out
This is one of the main reasons I wanted to write this post. If you haven’t had given birth to a child or had anything up there other than a Regular Tampax, looking at the Diva Cup will freak you out.
I first learned about Diva Cups when I was in LA four years ago. One of my dear friends just raved and raved about them. She explained to me what it was and I was freaked out of my mind. It sounded disgusting, uncomfortable and frankly impossible. When I moved back to Canada, I decided to take the leap and tried it. I pulled it out of the box and was like ahhhh this is not happening. I could never even brave to use O.b so how the heck was I going to brave this goblet.
Guess what, a lot more can fit up there than you realize, a lot more comes out of there than the size of a diva cup (i.e. an infant).
2. Find your fold and keep trying.
There are several ways to fold your cup and insert it, my go to is the first one shown in this video. Find the fold that works for you and feels comfortable. If you don’t find a good grip in your fold, there’s a good chance it will unfold too early and it hurts like words I can’t say. Y’all veterans know what I’m talking about but if you’re a newbie don’t let this scare you, you’ll make it work.
Many of my friends have sent me messages in utter panic because they cannot do it. They are too scared, or they got it up there but it doesn’t suction. It takes practice. It takes getting used to. Keep trying. Make sure you get water on it first, get comfortable and relax, the more tense you are, the more difficult it is going to be. Just remember, it is not inserted like a tampon. Read the instructions from the box or go on the website of the brand you bought from. Pull out a mirror if you need to. Try it a few times. When and/or if you start feeling stressed and discouraged, put it down and try again the next day, or heck the next month.
When you finally get it, feel comfortable, it’s up there, you felt the pop(suction), then you start stressing that it’s leaking. If you inserted it properly, it shouldn’t leak but, when you are getting the hang of things, there is a good chance that you haven’t fully inserted it right. Try wearing liners with it or invest in a pair of Thinx.
If you got it up there but it is leaking, make sure the four holes around the rim are clean, these are what allow the cup to suction and will prevent leaking.
4. Oh my gosh it’s stuck up there!
No, girl you are FINE! The cup works by suctioning to the walls of your vagina, so in order to remove it, you need to release the suction. Slowly pull the base of the cup down, then squeeze the sides of the cup until you hear or feel it release suction and wiggle that bad boy out. DO NOT FREAK OUT. If you start to panic, your muscles will tense and it will be harder, and probably painful, to remove. Also, Kegels, they are now your best friend. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read the bottom of this page.
Once you remove it, empty its lovely contents into the toilet, wash it with warm water and soap(check the brand site for approved soaps) and reinsert.
5. I am in a public washroom what do I do?
Hah, don’t step out of the stall with that bloody mess, no one in a mall bathroom wants to see that, instead, clean the cup as best you can with toilet paper (making sure those four holes are clear and clean), reinsert and clean when you get home.
Or use a family washroom, where the sink and toilet are isolated and you can properly remove, wash and reinsert your cup.
6. BOIL IT
For some dumb reason, I didn’t do this for the first while, which is actually really disgusting. At the end of your period fill a pot with water and boil your cup to clean and disinfect it. Do not forget about it like my girl, who’s name I won’t mention, did. She boiled the pot until all the water evaporated and the cup melted to the pot. Learn from those whose shoulders you stand on. Don’t do this.
1.Will it break my hymen?
A question lots of people have and I think are often afraid to ask. I like how Diva Cup addressed the Hymen breaking on their website:
We are sorry to say but Shakespeare had it all wrong when he referred to the hymen as “The Virgin-knot”. Like tampons, The DivaCup does not affect the state of a woman’s virginity. While The DivaCup may stretch or break the hymen, it is important to remember that a woman is a virgin because she has not had sex. You may be interested to know that some girls are born without a hymen and activities such as horseback riding, biking and gymnastics can break the hymen without a girl even knowing it happened.
So yes, your hymen may break using a menstrual cup, but that does not mean you are no longer a virgin.
2. Read the websites!
Every popular brand out there like Lunette, Lena, Ruby and Diva Cup all have really great sites with really great resources. I HIGHLY recommend doing your own research on insertion instructions, brands to purchase from and ways to wash/clean/maintain your cup.
3. Did I mention it will change your life?
Seriously, I sometimes forget I have a cup inserted, it is comfortable and really a great thing once you get the hang of it. It saves you money, time, frustration, suitcase space, and has no risk of TSS. I could go on forever.
4. Let’s stop being weird, awkward or ashamed about our periods!
Yeah, they can be really gross. No, people don’t need to know the gory ( and we all know that’s adjective is literal here) details of your period, but we should not feel ashamed about bringing our purses to the bathroom or feeling like we need to some how stealthy pass a tampon to a girl friend so she can shove it up her sleeve and casually walk to the loo. It’s life, most women (not all) menstruate and you really cannot avoid it. Let’s remove stigma, shame and embarrassment. God created you as a woman, thank Him for that, praise Him for the body He has given you and let’s embrace the beauty of womanhood.
All the best sweet ladies, try it out and let me know how it goes.
If you have more questions or comments feel free to comment below, send me a message, or contact me here.
Check out Bethan’s post on Periods here.
Oh, and as requested, here are more memes.