Let’s talk menstrual cups
It’s a busy day at work, you’re running around, when suddenly you get that feeling. We all know that feeling. Maybe it comes in the form of a drip, or just a sixth sense you have developed over the years. It’s time to hit the bathroom, weaving in and out of coworkers and standing in line for way too long. You had to change your tampon.
The year is 2019 and it is no longer a dirty word. But, that doesn’t mean our troubles are even close to over. So many cramping cures and revolutionary products have come and gone without so much as rocking the boat. I met some ladies who swear this latest craze is not like the others.
Menstrual cups claim to eliminate the hassle of tampons and pads, while making periods more sustainable. One cup can last over a year if taken care of properly, which not only reduces waste and cost, but allows women from all over the world to be fully active during their cycle.
I spoke to two women who made the transition from tampons and pads to menstrual cups, to find out all the nitty gritty information you need to know before giving it a go.
Meet Niña, a user of menstrual cups for 6 months (left), and Elycia, a 9 month user (right).
Q- Why did you start using a menstrual cup?
Niña: I had a discussion with my friends years ago but I was reluctant to try it, I thought it would be too big to be honest. But in the last year or so I had seen a lot of inspiration on social media about the zero-waste movement and I just started slowly making changes in my life. I’ve been quitting plastic for a really long time, I just thought it would be a really good way to incorporate zero-waste into my periods as well.
Elycia: I saw someone on social media talking about them, and I was like ok so theres a bunch of chemicals in tampons, and they produce a bunch of waste, and they’re just a hassle. It wasn’t one thing, it was more like “let’s just try it.” I liked the convenience of only having to change it every 12 hrs because then you don’t have to worry about it leaking or changing it throughout the day.
Q- Tell us about your first experience
Niña: To be honest I felt very traumatised, the first time was difficult, you have to fold it a certain way, then, once it’s inserted, you have to unfold it a certain way so that it catches everything. When it came to taking it out, the cup suctions in and I couldn’t work out how to get it out. I was in tears, crying to my partner, I couldn’t get it out! I was thinking “oh no I’m going to have to go to the hospital.” But in the end I got it out and now I love it.
Elycia: The first time I tried to use it, it was the biggest pain in the ass. It was so uncomfortable because I had it inserted it wrong. It leaked and I was like “this is a waste of time what am I doing.” I got really frustrated, I thought maybe it’s the one I got, because I bought a cheap one off Ebay, but I haven’t had a single issue with it once I got a hang of it. Now when I put a cup in and it’s suctioned I can tell straight away.
Q- Let's talk "ick" factor
Niña: Not as gross as you’d think. In my mind, it’s more gross if you actually have to throw something out. I find it interesting to see and to learn about my body. It’s all natural.
Elycia: I have a really string stomach so I find it interesting changing it and finding out how heavy my cycle actually was. If my cycle’s being really heavy I’ll change it in a public bathroom and wipe it out with toilet paper, but at home I rise it out in the shower and boil it.
Q- How hard are they to use?
Niña: I’m still learning myself. I would choose to use pads [over Menstrual cups] because I don’t like actually inserting something but it’s worth it to be zero-waste. You really have to be patient, it takes time. Watch youtube videos and use the internet.
Elycia: I think by my third cycle I knew how to get it in properly and make sure it was suctioned in. So my first few cycles I still wore liners because I just couldn’t get it. You would insert it and try to get it to pop out into position but it didn’t pop out, so it would still catch most of it but would slightly leak. Now it doesn’t leak at all.
If you’re interested in trying a menstrual cup but not sure where to start you can head to Put A Cup In It to take their quiz and find out what size and brand might suit you best.