18 Apr Let’s Talk Menstrual Cups!
Let’s talk about periods and menstrual cups! … Please try not to OVARYact
Ok… Now some might find this a tough subject… I’ve seen a lot of women get grossed out at the idea of using a menstrual cup. Ladies… THIS IS OUR BODY!!! We have periods… it’s life. If you are uncomfortable with this subject….I would just skip right passed this blog, as it’s about to get reallll intimate lol.
I understand that some are more squeamish than others, but it’s shocking to me that so many ladies out there are afraid of touching their own bodies! We need to get over this irrational fear and get in touch with ourselves … quite literally lol. Our bodies are AMAZING!!!!! Periods, Childbirth, menopause… We go through some tough shit as women, so it’s about time we get over ourselves and just deal with that bloody annoying time of the month. (lol …see what I did there?)
Why I Hate Tampons
I used to DESPISE my period…. dreading that time of month when I was in so much pain, could barely get out of bed let alone do anything remotely active. I used tampons, as pads used to make me worry about leaking, and also basically give me diaper rash (yay for being a woman!) That being said… tampons didn’t even really work for me. I would leak right through them, thinking my flow was SO heavy. But when I went to change my it, the tampon WASN’T EVEN FULL! UGHHHH. Not to mention I felt SO self conscious that I smelled like gross period blood and it always felt like the tampon was slowly sliding out of me. I remember always cancelling my personal training sessions whenever I had my period because I was so paranoid of smelling gross or leaking through my tampon and having bloody pants. What a nightmare. Also, can we talk about that tampon string that gets soaked in pee, and heaven forbid being able to keep the dang tampon in if you have to poop!
You put a what in your where?!?
So anyways, one day at work, we were filming out on location at the Capilano Suspension Bridge and I realized I needed to change my tampon. Frick… Unfortunately I was fresh out so I asked a coworker, she told me she didn’t have any because she used a period cup. My first reaction was the same as some of yours (umm eww). Anyhow, being so frustrated with tampons over the years, I got home that night and did some research on menstrual cups. I decided “I’m DOING THIS”. The only brand that was available at save on foods was the diva cup, so I tried it. They had two sizes, one for pre child birth or under 30, and post childbirth or over 30. Being the ever so youthful age of 26 and not having pushed out any babies, I got size #1.
I went home and practiced, got it in there but struggled to get the damn thing “open”. Anyways, two periods went by and with a little will and determination I FIGURED IT OUT!! Hallelujah!
Fast forward to 2019 Kaitlin, loving life, aside from some brutal cramping, not being bothered by the rest of the shit that comes on with periods. I’m telling you, ladies, menstrual cups are LIFE CHANGING!!
There are So many brands out there, the diva cup is what I use but that’s purely because it was the only brand I’d heard about at the time and it was the only one at Save on. (There are tons available online now) *UPDATE* I’ve recently used a new brand “UltuCup” and I’m LOVINGGGGG it even more than the Diva Cup.
Keep in mind I am NOT a doctor lol, and I’m merely sharing my personal experience with you.
Ok, insertion can be a little tricky at first, but I swear you’ll be so pleased once you figure it out!
First… wash your hands with soap!
There are a 2 ways they tell you to insert, My personal preference is the “U-Fold” I fold it in half so the opening is now in a U shape. Holding it with my thumb and pointer finger, I do it while sitting on the toilet, or I lift my left leg and rest it on the bathtub or shower bench. Insert the cup so the tab is facing down (obviously… otherwise the cup will be upside down and won’t catch your blood!) then once HALF the cup is inserted, I wiggle it around and rotate it until it pops open. You will literally feel it open up. Once it pops open I push it the rest of the way in. You don’t need to push a menstrual cup in very far. When the cup is fully inserted it you should not feel the stem poking out, but it should be touchable if you put your fingertip inside. (to check if its open, once inserted – carefully stick your index finger up along the outer edge of the cup and run it along the circumference of the cup. It’s properly open if you can feel that the walls of the cup are firm and don’t collapse when you run your finger around it. This may take a couple periods to get the hang of, but totally worth the effort and patience. Once it’s in, it’s basically like a crock pot – just set it and forget it!
Removing the cup can be intimidating, a lot of women that I’ve spoken to are worried it’ll get stuck and you won’t be able to get it out! (this is not common and has never happened to me) Simply insert your index finger and thumb until you can pinch the bottom 1/3 of the cup. You’ll need to pinch firmly to release the seal and this will allow the cup to be removed. If you’re having difficulty pulling the cup out, you may not be pinching firmly enough. If there’s a proper seal – the cup is basically suction cupped within your vaginal walls and won’t be removed easily unless the suction is broken.
Check It Out
Once you’ve pinched the cup and released the seal, pull directly downwards trying to keep the cup upright. Now…before you dump it, HAVE A LOOK!!! This is probably the COOLEST part of using a menstrual cup! GETTING TO KNOW YOUR BODY!!! I used to think I had a heavy flow, but in reality I was only going through super plus tampons like they were going out of style because the tampon wasn’t actually absorbing my period blood. As you may or may not know, periods are a mix of uterine lining, blood and tissue. Therefore sometimes your period may be quite thick or “gooey”, coating the tampon in a slimy layer, which can result in the tampon being ineffective.
Bye Bye Blood
Before you dump it you will be able to see the amount of blood, the consistency, the color etc. The best part of the menstrual cup is it can be worn for up to 12 hours and you’ll probably be shocked and how little you actually bleed. Fun fact – your period blood DOESN’T ACTUALLY SMELL BAD! It has a light metallic scent…. If you’ve ever experienced a bad odor like I used to when using tampons, it’s actually from your blood being exposed to air. Because the cup is worn internally and “sealed” in, it isn’t exposed to air and therefore doesn’t create an odor.
Once you’ve inspected your blood lol, just dump the contents into the toilet and if you’re at home – carefully place the cup in the sink while you’re still on the toilet. Clean yourself up with some TP or if you have biodegradable/flushable wipes – even better! Rinse your cup out into the sink, make sure you get the little vent holes on the sides of the cup (these help with suction) and reinsert!
Reasons to Switch
– Lasts a long time – around 1 year!! (Isn’t that freaking AMAZING!?!? $40 for a YEARS worth of periods!!?!?!?)
– It’s safe to use when you THINK you’re going to get your period.
– You don’t have to worry about not having a tampon on you, if it’s already in, you just empty and reinsert!
– It’s better for the environment
– No gross smell
– More aware of your own body/menstrual cycle
Change your cup in the shower!! If you’re worried about creating a CSI crime scene in your bathroom, just do it in the shower! I put my leg up on the little shelf in my shower and it’s so easy and no mess. Since the cup can be worn up to 12 hours, I just body shower twice a day when it’s that time of month, and change my cup in there.
If you have long nails… BE CAREFUL! Your lady bits are SO delicate and pinching your skin with those talons will NOT be pleasant.
If you’re new to the cup and worried about leaking due to improper insertion, wear a panty liner to ease your mind!
If changing your cup when you’re out and about – Look for a family stall that has a sink. If this is not an option – bring in some feminine wipes with you to help clean yourself and your cup off.
After each cycle boil your cup in hot water for 20 minutes to get rid of any discoloration.
CUT THE STEM! I don’t know about all brands, but specifically the diva cup – cut the little stem off the bottom so it doesn’t stick out and irritate you!! This piece of info will for SURE come in handy! *UPDATE* I didn’t need to trim the stem on the UltuCup as I found because of the shape of the stem I don’t feel it AT ALL!
I’ve posted the link below for instructions – this is from the diva cup site but you can google other brands if you try a different one!
https://youtu.be/5NLAltYsmEI (check the 2:00 minute mark for insertion)
Here’s a quiz to determine which brand of cup might work best for you!!