Have you ever used a menstrual cup? For a lot of women it seems very foreign to use a cup instead of the standard pad or tampon for their menstrual flow. I finally took the plunge last month and tried it.
Research, research, research. I had been researching an alternative to pads and tampons for months. I thought about disposable pads, but considering that I hate washing clothes, having a blood soaked piece of cloth could be laying in my hamper for weeks drawing maggots and all types of bugs wasn't an option. I stumbled upon menstrual cups while searching. In other countries, its a normal thing. Here in the US, not so much. I remember telling my friend that I wanted to get a menstrual cup, and I was met with 'What? Huh? So, what will you use during your period?'. There are literally 50+ types of menstrual cups out there. Just search amazon and you will see plenty, google it and you could be reading for days.
Its no secret that I had horrible periods; blood clots, heavy flow, lasting for days on end. I say had because in a future post I will reveal how I took control of my periods without birth control or hormones. I still experience these symptoms but milder, and my period is a lot more predictable than it was before. The incident that lead me to trying a menstrual cup happened one afternoon at work on a Friday. I remember because it was super busy in the office. I had on a pair of jeans and I completely forgot to change my tampon/pad since lunch. I sat at the table to sort through some papers and felt some wetness after I got up. But since the seat was black (thank goodness), nothing showed up. I went back to my office and sat there and did some work on my computer. I got up to get ready to leave and that's when I seen it. There on my stripped office chair, a huge stain! I was embarrassed, but thankfully I was in the office alone. I went to the bathroom and there was blood on my jeans, visible for anyone to see. At this moment, I knew that I needed something that was more effective than a pad and tampon combination that I had been using for years. Saturday morning, I woke up and went to CVS and picked up Instead Softcups.
If you looks at the size of the softcup on the box, you will be slightly intimidated. I know that I was, but I brought them anyway. I had to wrap my mind around how this ring was going to fit inside of me...how was it going to fit down there. I read that box about 3 times before I tried it. To my surprise, you cannot feel them inside of you. I repeat, you cannot feel them. I used the instructions provided and it went smoothly. I put on a pad, just to be sure or in case there were any leaks, I would be covered. I wore my first one for 9 hours without a leak. The next day, I did the same, and had minimal leaking. I slept in them without anything, no leaks. The most important thing with the softcups is the placement. This may be one of the cons: You have to be comfortable touching yourself, seeing blood and it being a little messy. When you take it out, there will be blood and you basically have to finger yourself to get it out. I didn't have a problem with doing this considering I only have to do this 2 times a day. If you want to rinse these and reuse them, it may be a little weird in a public bathroom. I personally just remove, dump, dispose, and put a new one in. If you have a heavier flow, you may have to change more often. I can go 5-6 hours without problems on a heavy day.
Am I a menstrual cup user for life? Exclusively, no. I will still wear a pantyliner or light pad a back up. And I feel like on light days, it may be a waste. As of today, I am happy with my experience with softcup and will buy it in bulk on Amazon because $10 at CVS is a bit much. I am also looking into getting a reusable menstrual cup such as the diva cup or lunette; I just can't decide. I would encourage all women to give the pads and tampons a break, not just for the environment, but also for your health. Research and find out what option may work best for you.
If you have any questions, please sure to leave them below!