For those who have not heard of the menstrual cup before, it is a small, flexible cup that you insert into the vaginal canal, where it collects your period. After several hours, you pull it out, empty it, and reuse it. We have written about why you should switch to menstrual cups before, if you want a more in depth explanation.
If that was not enough to convince you, it’s probably because you have never met anyone who uses it. Well, I’ve been using menstrual cups since 2011.
Here is what I’ve learned after 6 years of using one:
Yes, it’s intimidating at first
People see the menstrual cup and are usually intimidated by its size. I was intimidated, too, when I first saw it — I was in college then, and a virgin, so I wasn’t sure if it would be painful or uncomfortable. But I went ahead and ordered one, because I needed something hypoallergenic and safe. I have very sensitive skin and suffered from terrible rashes whenever I use a pad, and I was terrified of tampons for the same reason.
Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone or TPE — the same material used for catheters. It seemed safe to me compared to the bleached white fibers in pads that caused me so much suffering.
When my cup arrived, I realized that the size wasn’t so intimidating at all. It was very squishy and smooth. If you think about it, the rim of the cup is the width of an average penis, and the length barely hits two inches.
It’s not scary at all, and no, it didn’t hurt the first time I used it, but it’s likely a different experience for each woman.
You have to be patient during the learning curve
I will be lying if I say that it was easy for me at first. Insertion and removal requires a fair bit of skill, and it took me about three cycles before I learned how to do it quickly, and with ease. The trick is to be patient and not be discouraged.
I settled with the punch down fold for insertion, as it creates the smallest possible width for insertion. I push the cup past my pubic bone, as it’s the most comfortable position for me. Since I prefer to wear mine high up in the vaginal canal, I cut the stem off completely to avoid any poking.
For removal, I just bear down with my pelvic muscles until I can pinch the bottom with my fingers.
It leaks sometimes, but it’s an easy fix
What I love about menstrual cups is that you do not feel it at all once inside. I can insert it, and then just forget about it for the next 12 hours. I wear mine at the start of the day, and empty it in the evening.
Menstrual cups are very secure and don’t leak, but have leaked for me a few times before. Usually, it’s because I allowed it to overfill. This is an easy fix, because it just means that I have to empty it more often. On heavy days, I empty my cup every six hours instead of 12. It also leaks if I didn’t position it properly.
Surprisingly, it’s not messy at all
People keep saying that menstrual cups are messy, but that’s not my experience at all. It was a little messy when I was still learning, but that was mostly because I had dropped it while trying to remove it (I suggest to practice in the shower first for the first few times).
Once I got the hang of it, I can pinch the bottom and pull it out, making sure I don’t spill. I don’t get anything on my fingers at all.
You have to be comfortable with your body
I obviously love my menstrual cup and will never trade it for anything else in the world. But I do not suggest it for everybody — to use a menstrual cup, you have to be comfortable with your body. It won’t work at all if you are afraid of coming in contact with your privates, or get faint at the sight of blood.
If you gather the courage to go through with it though, your menstrual cup can be the best thing that ever happened to your period.