Bloody hell. I have no idea how to start this blog. But it’s important to me so here we go:
Now I must say this– not only women have periods. Anyone with female anatomy can have a period/periods. I hope this post can be helpful for all of us strong humans who have to deal with our uterus throwing a temper tantrum and crying tears of blood.
This post is coming from a place of experience. Yes, I have had a positive experience with menstrual cups and want to share my supreme and vast knowledge! But in all seriousness, I have been using a cup for three years (loving it) and want to share what I’ve learned.
So a menstrual cup is a small medical grade silicon cup that you shove up your honey pot. By folding and and inserting it into your vagina, it creates a seal and collects your flow rather than absorbs it.
Wait, slow down.
How Exactly Does It Work?
You can fold your cup like a tampon and hold the base. Inserting the cup like a tampon, it sits comfortably inside. Every 4-12 hours you can empty the cup by grabbing the base and pinching. This breaks the suction of the cup and you may hear a small sucking noise. Then you simply pull downward and turn the cup upside down into the toilet. Every thing that has been collected just dumps out. At home I can easily wash it out it the sink with water then reinsert. You can wear the cup for 12 hours! Yes, you read that correctly. And that includes overnight.
Personally I can sometimes go longer! But for the first couple days of my cycle I tend to change mine every 8 hours or 3 times a day. No matter what way you slice it 8 hours beats 4 hours every dang time.
The most important part of a menstrual cup is creating a seal. Without a seal then there could be leakage. When first using my cup I also wore a liner. To check if you cup is suctioned to your walls, just run a finger around the base of the cup to make sure there is not intents.
Personally, I change my cup in the morning and before bed at home. At home it is easy to hobble over to the sink and wash it out with water. I did use soap but the perfume of soaps and harsh washing didn’t leave a good feeling in my stomach (maybe womb?). So I just thoroughly rinse mine with hot water.
There are some great benefits to using a cup:
Less cramping and full range of motion. You can everything while wearing your cup. Running, swimming, dancing are all fair game. I am a swimmer and one thing I have noticed is that water will sometimes get into the cup. This only happens when doing a lot of high impact/strenuous water activities. No big deal but this means I will have to dump it sooner rather than later. This could also just be a personal problem but I tend to dump mine after being in the water just in case. But for a day at the beach, good all day long.
No odor or smell! Yes you also read that correctly as well. The problem with tampons and pads is that they add perfume to help combat the smell as opposed to address the problem directly. The reason there can be smell is when the blood comes into contact with air. With the suction of the cup and no leakage, there is no smell.
No toxic shock syndrome! No chemicals, no TSS. As simple as that.
It’s healthy! A cup is great because it collects everything that flows naturally during your cycle. A tampon can dry out your kitty and scratch the walls of said kitty.
Price. Money. Dinero. Budget-friendly. Inexpensive. Investment. So many words to describe the first reason why I switched. Before I went zero waste I came across a menstrual cup as an option to save money. I spent about $25 on my cup and it will save me hundreds of dollars in the 7 or so years I will be using it.
No waste! So much waste is created with periods! Think about all the tampons you toss during one day of your period. Think about all the tampons you toss during one cycle. All the tampons you toss in one year. Now two years. Three years. You get the idea. It piles up both literally and figuratively. Silicon can be recycled. You can do an internet search to see where and how. I found that sex toy companies will take menstrual cups and recycle them along with sex toys.
Taking Care of Your Cup
The picture above is my actual cup that I have been using for 3 years! All the pictures I took are of a cup that I have used during my periods. But my cup is holding up amazingly! After every cycle I boil my cup in water for 7 minutes. I have been religious about doing it after EVERY cycle. It might be a couple days after but I make sure to put it in a pot with roiling boiling water every month. There is no odor and no stain after 3 years. This brings me to the question of when to replace a cup. They can last up to 10 years! I will probably replace mine in another 3 years or. The reason you have to replace it is because the form of the cup. After years of use the rigidness of the cup decreases. This makes it harder to open once inserted.
I purchased my cup for $25. There are some cups of the market that are as low as $15. To me, I wanted something that was going to last and $10 didn’t break the bank. Something cheaper would probably have to be replaced sooner than something a little bit more pricey.
Travel and Using In Public Bathrooms
Another reason a menstrual cup is great is that is packs away so easily. My cup came with a cotton drawstring bag to keep my cup while not in use. I keep it in my purse or backpack. And there is no waste! Cups are especially useful when camping, hiking, or enjoying other outdoors activities.
I have changed my cup in public many a time over the past 3 years. I just wipe my cup out with toilet paper if I’m in a public bathroom. Maybe in a couple years it’ll be normal to rinse my cup in the sink next to someone washing their hands. I, however, am not quite dedicated enough to start the trend. Plus it’s not a huge deal to just dump and reinsert. Once home or in a bathroom with a sink, then you can rinse it.
About my LENA Cup
Since I purchased my cup 3 years ago, the company has only got better! I first decided on this cup because it was FDA approved and was made in the USA. I literally had no real idea what I was doing but the company was legit and the size fit. LENA makes one of the smaller cups on the market. For a 19 year old, this was a great first cup for me. I do not have a history of a heavy flow so I was not concerned about having to change it more frequently.
In terms of eco-friendly and sustainable, I pulled this right from their website: “Our silicone and dyes, cup production, printing and assembly are all based in California. As a company we make conscious choices to ensure that LENA does not create any unnecessary waste.” The dyes and packaging are green. They now even have a sensitive cup option.
Other Eco-friendly Period Options
- Reusable pads/washable pads
- Period Panties
Honestly I have NO experience with these two sustainable alternatives. But I have been lucky with my menstrual cup experience. It might not be for everyone. And I get it! It definitely takes some getting used to and can be a huge learning curve. You have to be comfortable with your body and this honestly didn’t happen for me until senior year of high school. It’s a process and as long as you know what you are or are not ready for that’s all that matters. You do you!
For those of you that think this could be something that might work for you, give it a try! If not then who am I to tell you should? Umm yeah I’m nobody.
And maybe you did try and it didn’t work. Girl, you are not alone! All of this stuff is tricky business.
Now, this is only skimming the surface of menstrual cups. Other blogs and the company website has so many answers. I even watched a Youtube video about cups. It was a pretty no-fund video with a lady demonstrating how to insert a cup using a champagne glass. But do you have any questions? I could go on and on and on about menstrual cups until the day I hit menopause (and maybe even after).