The real deal scoop on The Menstrual Cup:
Beware: I tried to be discreet as possible, but it is necessary to share the details. We're talking about a menstrual cup here...
Why you should consider it:
If you're trying to reduce your waste impact, something to think about: Tampons can take up to 400 years to decompose in a landfill. Let's make a scenario so that we can grasp the full impact of this: the average woman menstruates for 7 days... maybe she changes her tampon 3 times a day, for about 40 years... you're looking at at around 10,080 tampons over her life. Multiply that times a million and then by 400 *great, I have to pull out my scientific calculator here*, in half a century there could be over 4 Trillion tampons rotting in a landfill. Should we even mention the chemicals?... Oh yea! They aren't just pretty white cotton. Those chemicals will be leaching into the earth and ground water, yum.
If you're in it to save money... hold on, let me pull out my calculator again... (I just googled tampons, shopping, and found that on average, with name brand tampons, you can get an 18 pack for around about $5.) Let's just do an annual calculation because the cup is really only supposed to last a year. 10,080 divided by 40, then divided by 18, multiplied by 5... c'mon, keep up! That's $70. The cup will cost you $40. That's a $30 annual savings. Big woop, right? Multiply that times 40... $1,200 savings between puberty and menopause.
If none of those appeal to you, I've got 3 words for ya, Toxic Shock Syndrome.
What to expect:
I'm sure that you're first thought is, gross! It's really not. You get no more dirty than you would fooling around with a tampon or pad, and no, I'm not splatter painting my bathroom walls.
- Expect to have to buy more than one to find the right size at first. Every woman is different, most cups come in 2 sizes and each brand is sized differently. They are non-returnable and it's not like buying a bra where you can go into the dressing room and find the right cup size. I had to buy 2 and wasn't exactly stoked about it.
- Plan on it taking a couple months to get used to. I don't know about all of you other women, but it took me a while to get used to using a tampon. This is no exception. Stick with it, things will go wrong.
- You won't feel it. If it's in right, and you have the right size, you won't notice that it is there.
- It really does last for 12 hours. It's a cup! It'll hold a lot more than some cotton stick. The plus side of this, you only have to change it morning and night. So, you don't have to worry about changing it in a public bathroom.
- It does NOT come out like a tampon. Don't freak out, it's not going to get lost in there. It will come out.
- It doesn't smell. Blood starts to smell once it touches oxygen. The cup makes a seal, so the blood doesn't touch oxygen until you pull it out. No smell.
Ok, I'm not speaking from some dream experience here, "Oh, the Diva Cup changed my life!". It's was a huge ordeal, and the information on the internet is very limited. I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, other's can have a better experience starting out.
Round 1: The first cup I bought was the large size Diva Cup. A pushy sales lady talked me into it because I had previously had children, I explained that am I am very petite and have had cesareans, but she wouldn't let me walk out with the smaller size... I was right, it was way to big for me. 2 terrible things happened: 1. It wouldn't expand properly and leaked. 2. It pressed up against my bladder having me going to the restroom, no exaggeration, literally every 10 minutes. It felt like I had a UTI for 2 weeks afterwards. For the record, the test results came back negative for a UTI, I assume it was some kind of internal bruising. I was irate when neither the store that I bought it from or the actual Diva Cup company would not offer a replacement. *I'm boycotting both of those jokers now* So, I went to the internet, read all of the forums that I could find, and researched all different kinds of cups. There's a couple different kind. The main ones are The Diva Cup from Canada, The Moon Cup from the UK, and The Lunette Cup from Finland. **They are all a little different, it's about finding what fits you** I decided to order the small size Lunette Cup off of Amazon because the forums claimed that the silicone rim was softer and their website had better information that applied to me, such as, people who do yoga and pilates have a stronger pelvic floor and should go with a smaller size.
|Left: Lunette Cup Model 1 Right: Diva Cup Model 2|
Round 2: The Lunette Cup. I was NOT excited to do this thing again... I continued to used the Diva Wash because I still have it and they sell it at Whole Foods. The initial experience was pleasant. It fit, it didn't leak, and my bladder was fine. I needed to trim the wick because it was irritating me, which made me nervous because it was my safety string. Things went well for 3 days... Then, I started to get some serious irritation from putting it in and taking it out. It's silicone... rubbing rubber on your skin isn't that pleasant either. Problem numero dos, something that felt like a yeast infection. -- This time I wasn't going back to the doctor to get the head tilt, "Now, please explain to me... what exactly is this Menstrual Cup?" with her pen and notepad as if I was some lunatic patient that was experimenting by pouring cyanide in my vagina. -- I was very clean about it. I boiled the cup before use, washed it at every change, washed my hands, washed down below... How could this happen? Again, I consulted the internet forums. Turns out, like douching, the wash will strip you of all of that good bacteria. They recommended using a half vinegar, half water solution to wash the cup between changes. Having that information, and since the Monistat wasn't working *it probably wasn't a yeast infection*, I cleaned myself with a vingar soaked towelette for a couple days and the symptoms cleared up.
Round 3: The Lunette Cup round 2. I went into it more confidently, I had a good cup and a better plan of action, which I'll describe in the "how to use the darn thing". It all came together: No irritation, no discomfort, nothing negative. It went great! It took me 2 months to work out how to use it, and now I'm officially a menstrual cup user.
How to use the darn thing:
Pick these things up, you'll need them:
- Your menstrual cup. Any size or brand that works for you.
- Some type of feminine wash, I'm still using the Diva Wash $11 even though I think that they suck for not offering a replacement to such a loyally green customer.
- Distilled White Vinegar
- KY Jelly
- A bath tub and 5-10 min.
*When you get your cup, boil it for 5 min to disinfect it before use.*
- Get into the empty bath (bottoms off) and run the water with the drain open.
- In a small bowl or basin, soak your cup in vinegar and water for a few min.
- Using the wash, clean your hands and your labia majora (outside of your vagina) -- since we're getting technical here.
- Rinse off the cup and fold it according to the directions or as indicated in the image below.
- Using a dot of KY Jelly, rub it around the portion of the cup that will go in first.
- Insert the cup *standing up* until you'll feel it expand. It'll go *bloop*. Is that a good explanation? Run your fingers around the base of it to make sure it's fully expanded. *Note: It's not going to go all the way up to your cervix like a tampon, just into the entrance of your vaginal canal. You should be able to feel the wick with your finger. I've also heard that you should insert in the direction of your rectum. Not IN your rectum. Got it? The directions say to give it a turn, but who can do that?
|Visual Demonstration of how it works when you put the cup in.|
12 hours later... **It is very important that you read these directions or you maybe be running around freaking out that you've lost this stupid thing inside of you, trying to figure out who you can call who's got a set of forceps on hand.**
- Repeat step 1 from 12 hours earlier.
- Get into a squatting position and bear down. If you've ever had a baby, or faked an orgasm, you know how to push your kegel muscles. This will push the cup a portion of the way out, enough to where you can grab the base and pull it out. You'll feel a very brief and slightly uncomfortable suction as you pull it out, you can squeeze the base before hand to release the suction to make it more comfortable.
- Empty the cup and repeat steps 2-6 from 12 hours previous.