Ladies, this is a game changer. A life changer. I’m talking about the menstrual cup. These things are Amazing with a capital A! I honestly can’t rave about it enough, except to say that the cup almost makes me look forward to my period and that’s really saying something.
If you thought tampons were great, you’re going to laugh at how horrid they seem after trying the cup.
So what are they? Well, a menstrual cup is a small cup like vesicle that gets inserted into the vagina during menstruation in order to collect the menstrual flow. The vast majority of cups are made from medical grade silicone. Unlike a tampon, which is worn high in the vagina, the cup is worn low in the vagina and is soft and pliable so it creates a seal with your body to ensure no leaks happen. The cup get folded for insertion and then opens up once it is inside the vagina. To remove, simply pinch the bottom to break the seal and remove. After emptying the cup, simply rinse in COLD water and re-insert, you can wash it with a mild soap and some warm water after the initial cold water rinse if desired. Between cycles, you can sanitize your cup by boiling it in some water for a few minutes, giving it a rubbing alcohol bath or washing it thoroughly with warm water and a mild soap.
Now let me just say that there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using a menstrual cup, so you should expect to wear a liner or pad in addition to your cup for a cycle or 2 before you master the hang of it.
Even though menstrual cups have been around for a looong time, they are only recently becoming more mainstream. There are many brands of menstrual cups available on the market today. In my experience the ones that are the easiest to access in the United States are: Diva cup, Lunette cup and Sckoon cup. After doing a bunch of research, reading tons of reviews and watching a whole load of youtube videos, I decided to purchase the Lunette cup in model 2, however right after I did so, the Sckoon cup came onto the market and it was just really appealing so I went ahead and got one of those in a size 2 also.
I really wanted to love the Lunette cup, it was so easy to use and the silicone wasn’t too soft, which made inserting it a breeze, the tab wasn’t hollow (a must for me), but it did poke me a bit so I ended up trimming it. However, I kept having leak issues. No matter what I did or how I inserted it, the thing would leak but when I went to remove it there was hardly anything in it. Now, this is not a testament to the cup, because it really is an awesome cup. It just simply didn’t work with my body. During menstruation my cervix drops fairly low and sits inside the cup, leaving little room for the blood to collect. So feeling disappointed but determined I tried the Sckoon cup and voila! Success!! The Sckoon cup in shorter and has a wider base which allows my cervix to sit inside the cup, while still leaving plenty of room for collection. The Sckoon cup is softer than the Lunette, and the tab is really flexible and soft, so I found I didn’t need to trim it at all. The softness of the Sckoon makes it a bit more difficult for me to get it to pop open after insertion, but I’ve figured out a method that works just fine. Basically I use the punch down fold to insert the cup, then I wiggle it around a bunch while pinching the bottom to get to open up, finally I run my finger around the perimeter to ensure that my pesky cervix is actually inside the cup. It’s a bit hard to explain in writing, so I highly recommend the channel, MenstrualCupInfo on youtube to learn more about all the cups out there and to help you get an idea about what may work best for you (but of course I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have as well).
Use of menstrual cups is not associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) (ahem, TAMPONS)
Menstrual cups are reusable and some brands can last 10 years, hellooooo savings!
They are super comfortable, since they don’t absorb your vaginal moisture along with your flow (dammit, TAMPONS)
In some cases they reduce cramps and leave you with a lighter period, score!
They can go 12 hours before needing to be emptied (of course on heavy days they may need to be emptied more frequently)
No gross smell (stupid PADS)
Can be worn swimming, running, sleeping, jumping and generally any other activity you can think of EXCEPT during intercourse.
Won’t leave behind icky cotton fibers in your vagina (die TAMPONS die)
Most come in 2 sizes (before children and after children) to ensure the perfect fit
There is a learning curve – unlike tampons or pads, a cup takes a bit longer to get the hang of and in some cases you may need to try several different brands before you find one that works best for you.
They have more of an upfront cost ranging anywhere from $20-$40 per cup- but since they’re reusable, they actually save you money in the long run. AND many companies will refund your money or send you a different size if one isn’t working for you. So really it’s a risk free investment.
Emptying your cup in a public restroom takes a little forethought, but it’s really not that complicated. All it involves it bringing a water bottle with you or a cleansing wipe, but really since they can be worn for so long, you can usually plan your day accordingly without ever having to empty it in public.
So there you have it. Try a cup and thank me later.