Using a menstrual cup is easier than you think, here’s why i’ve been using a menstrual cup for ten years and still love it!
Ten years ago I purchased my first menstrual cup. A player on my softball team had gotten pretty sick from a forgotten tampon at the end of her cycle and it scared me. I recently had become a mom to my second daughter and I felt that I needed a safer menstrual product that would still allow me to be as active as I am.
I was absolutely frightened of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). As I researched more about TSS I became even more fearful – TSS is pretty scary stuff! My life was no longer just about me, with two daughters depending on me, I wasn’t ready to hang up my softball cleats just yet so I researched my menstrual options and concluded that a menstrual cup was the best product for my active life. I instantly fell in love.
I’ve now been using menstrual cups for 10 years!
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups are made of high quality, medical grade silicone. They are soft and comfortable, made from a single piece of silicone so it doesn’t have any irritating seams. They have a stem that is usually thin and soft, allowing it to move as you do. Because it’s free of synthetic fibers, bleach and dioxin, menstrual cups are a healthier and safer alternative to tampons. With menstrual cups, you don’t have to worry about Toxic-Shock Syndrome (TSS) or vaginal infections with proper use. And unlike tampons, menstrual cups doesn’t absorb moisture, which can cause dryness and discomfort.
Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, even on heavy days!
(Trust me, I’ve tried this many times).
Do menstrual cups leak?
I’ve been using menstrual cups for so long because generally they don’t leak! I wear light grey dress pants and white dresses at work confidently – I have no worries about having a pants catastrophe. I also wear a menstrual cup while I train: running, cycling, swimming, and even kettlebell workouts don’t cause any leakage!
Now you may have noticed that I said they generally don’t leak. I’ll be honest here, there has been the occasional time when I didn’t insert it correctly so the fold didn’t fully open. On those occasions the cup blocked 95% of the menstrual blood from coming out, but did not catch it in the cup so some leaked while I was wearing the cup, and removing the cup was way messier than normal. Compared to a really full tampon, the leakage was minimal.
Do menstrual cups hurt?
No, not at all. In fact they’re softer and more comfortable than any other menstrual product than I’ve ever used. When you first begin using a menstrual cup expect a learning curve. It takes a few tries to find the most comfortable position to place it. You don’t want it too high nor too low. With practice you will find your own “right spot”. I often completely forget I’m wearing it – good thing it can be effective for up to 12 hours!
How do you put a menstrual cup in?
You fold it in half, called a c-fold to make it smaller to slide in. When the menstrual cup is in, rotate it fully to create a suction and to prevent leaks. This is very important – do not skip this step! Rotating it ensures the cup is fully open. You will usually feel it open after turning it. This creates the suction against the skin to prevent anything from leaking out around the sides of the menstrual cup. (The suction is very light – it won’t suck your lady parts out).
How do you remove a menstrual cup?
To take a menstrual cup out you pinch the base of the cup to release the seal, and pull the cup slowly out. You then empty the cup into the toilet, then rinse it or wipe it before reinserting it. It does take some practice to learn how to remove it without getting messy hands. It can be washed with a mild soap, and sterilized in boiling water for a few minutes at the end of your cycle. Because it can be worn for 12 hours without having to be emptied, I don’t bother with it in public bathrooms, I just wait until I got home to empty and rinse it. As I mentioned earlier, even on my heaviest days, menstrual cups don’t leak. Despite being left in all day while I’m at work, hockey or softball tournaments, and through a lunch hour runs, I can come home with clean underwear!
Can you pee with a menstrual cup in?
Yes, we have three output holes: the urethra, the vagina, and the anus. Your menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina, so theoretically there is no interference with urination; they’re two separate holes and a cup will neither catch nor block your urine. However, it is possible for a menstrual cup to apply pressure to the bladder or urethra. This is an experience that most individuals have to varying degrees. If it causes discomfort, simply remove the cup and put it back in at a slightly different angle. For me, because of the pressure it places on the urethra it helps to stop stress induced incontinence which means it keeps me from peeing my pants when I run! (Another reason why I’ve been using a menstrual cup for 10 years).
What else should I know about menstrual cups?
Menstrual cups usually come in two sizes. Generally a size small are for those that have not had babies, and the bigger size are for those of us who have. There are several brands of menstrual cups, but I have only tried the Diva Cup and the SckoonCup. The cup pictured in this blog post is a SckoonCup. Out of the two I prefer the SckoonCup because the tip is softer and doesn’t cause any irritation. It is a bit harder to grasp to pull out than the tip of the Diva Cup, but I’ll take the all day comfort over the slightly increased difficulty in getting it out.
Menstrual cups are changing lives:
In Africa, menstrual cups are changing women’s lives. Menstruation is expensive, so girls resort to using alternative methods to manage their periods such as leaves, newspaper, cotton rags, mattress stuffing etc. On average, girls miss 4.9 days of school per month due to their periods. Menstrual cups relieve the financial burden of menstruation. Having 12 hours of protection allows women to go about their lives without having to worry about locating latrines — a major challenge in many communities. This allows girls to go to school, and reduces their risk of infection cause by alternative menstruation management tools.
Still not convinced? Here are five more reasons to try a menstrual cup:
1. They’re Suitable for ALL Activities
I’ve worn a menstrual cup everywhere over the past 10 years: swimming, running, cycling, jumping on a trampoline, golfing, skating, skiing, horseback riding, bowling, country line dancing etc. They’re comfortable and don’t leak.
2. No Surprises
Because a menstrual cup collects liquid instead of absorbing liquid, it doesn’t cause an imbalance in the vaginal environment. A menstrual cup can be placed a day before your period is expected and for that same reason it can be used until your period is completely over.
3. No Chemicals
Free of synthetic fibers, bleach and dioxin, menstrual cups are a healthier and safer alternative to tampons.
After an initial investment, there are no additional costs for a menstrual cup for 5 years or more! When I was purchasing other disposable menstruation products I spent about that much every.single.month! I’ve likely saved approximately $360/year over the past 10 years!
Since they are reusable, menstrual cups help to reduce waste. Some disposable sanitary napkins and plastic tampon applicators can take 25 years to break down in the ocean and can cause a significant environmental impact. Source
I honestly love menstrual cups so much! They’re easy to use, don’t leak, are less expensive and are so comfortable!