If you would have told me last year that I would be discussing my period on my blog, I would’ve laughed in your face. Yet, here I am to do just that. Almost since the time that I started my period, I’ve been a tampon girl. We’re talking ride or die here. Any time someone would mention trying menstrual cups, I clung to my box of Tampax Radiant like my son clings to his stuffed monkey. How do you take it out? Better yet, how do you put it in? I’ve been using a menstrual cup for the last three months now, and I’m here to answer some questions that I’ve received, as well as talk a little about why I switched from tampons to a menstrual cup. (And why I’m not looking back).
When I first started hearing about menstrual cups, I was obviously skeptical. A cup that you have to empty and clean every day? That sounds incredibly disgusting and inconvenient. For those of you who don’t know, a menstrual cup is a reusable feminine hygiene product. It is made of medical grade silicone which you fold and insert into the vagina. Unlike a tampon, it collects the menstrual fluid as opposed to absorbing it. You simply empty the fluid into the toilet and (bonus points) you don’t have to do it as regularly as you change a tampon.
Not only was I just over spending all of that money on tampons (did you know that you will spend well over $1,000 on tampons in your lifetime?), I was tired of putting those chemicals into my body. Toxic Shock Syndrome is terrifying. We’ve all heard the horror stories, and yet we just knowingly put that into our bodies every month. After a lot of reluctance on my part and reassurance from some of my friends, I decided to pull the trigger. Or, maybe in this case the string? I spent an entire night scouring the internet. Reading about every single brand of cups. There is even a quiz that tells you “Your Perfect Menstrual Cup”. Yes, I took it.
I landed on the LENA Feminine Hygiene Cups, and I’m so glad that I did. According to my research, they’re one of the softer cups out there–which was very important to me. I didn’t want to feel anything.
The LENA Cup comes in two sizes–small and large. They even offer two cups, in both sizes, for an amazing deal.
Which size cup should you get?
There is a lot of conflicting information regarding this. From what I’ve seen, the Small size is for women under 25 who have not given birth vaginally. The Large size would be for the rest of us. According to the awesome people at LENA, the small is for a lighter flow while the large is for a heavy flow. I’ve also heard that cervix placement has a lot to do with it. Lower, you’d obviously want smaller. Higher would be larger.
I recommend getting both sizes to try out. You won’t know what’s comfortable in your body until you try them out. That being said, I use a large.
Inside of the LENA Cup box, you will find two menstrual cups tucked inside carrying bags (how cute are these?!), and a pamphlet with instructions. I still have no idea how they fit those two cups into that tiny box, but I’m not complaining.
My First Period with a Menstrual Cup Was….Entertaining.
I remember being so excited to start my period. When I purchased them, it was two weeks prior, and the anticipation was killing me. I ended up not doing a “dry run”, because I heard that insertion could be difficult, and I don’t just have lube lying around my house. Although, I guess now I should. I remember walking out of the bathroom waddling like a duck, or just my every day walk when I was pregnant–nothing new. The look on my husband’s face was priceless.
It turns out that I didn’t have it in far enough, and I could feel it, hence the waddle.
That first night, I removed it to take a shower–that was a breeze. Emptied it, cleaned it, and went to reinsert it. This time, I placed the cup correctly! I couldn’t feel it. Not even the stem, which freaked me out. It actually freaked me out so badly that I assumed the cup was lost in the abyss and it was going to be stuck there forever. I ran to the bathroom and tried to rip it out. Eventually, I calmed down, removed it to ease my mind, cleaned, and reinserted. Once I sat down, I realized that I was able to feel and comfortable remove it.
By the end of the week, I was a pro. My cramps were significantly less excruciating (one of the pros to collecting and not absorbing the fluid), I felt more comfortable, and I didn’t have to buy tampons!
I’ve been talking all about my cup on social media, which has garnered some questions. While I’m no expert here, I thought I would answer some questions that I’ve gotten. Maybe there’s something you’re wanting to know before you take the plunge?
How do you insert a menstrual cup?
Inserting a menstrual cup is super easy! While it does take a few tries to get it right, once you’ve got the hang of it it becomes second nature. It’s just as easy as inserting and removing a tampon. There are several different folding methods that you can try out. Figure out which one works best for you. I’m a fan of the “C Fold”, and I think that it’s a great one for beginners. You can sit on the toilet, squat, or stand with one leg on the toilet–same as a tampon. Once the cup unfolds and “suctions”, you’re good to go. Some times, mine don’t suction right away, and wait until I’m walking around to do so. That’s real fun. It also makes a sound. Yep–a suction sound. I’ve found that moving your hips in a circle (think hula hoop) helps it to suction.
How do you remove a menstrual cup?
Again, easy! You can remove these the same way you insert. I’ve found that I am able to get it out easiest while sitting. I normally bear down until the cup is in my reach, pinch it to release the suction, and pull it straight down. DO NOT PULL IT OUT WHILE THE SUCTION IS INTACT. I can’t stress that enough.
It seems way bigger than a tampon, does it hurt going in?
They are indeed bigger than a tampon, even when folded. I use the “C Fold” because it seems to make it the smallest going in, and no it isn’t weird and it doesn’t hurt. Not even a little bit. When they’re inserted properly you can’t even feel them. The silicone they’re made of is quite soft, so I can’t imagine it hurting under normal circumstances. I will say that the suction does feel a little weird.
Can you feel them while they’re in?
^^^ Nope! I haven’t felt it at all. Most days, I forget that it’s even there. I’ve read that some people do feel it brushing against the vulva, but a simple trim of the stem attached solves that. Trimming the stem isn’t something that I’ve had to do.
How do you clean it?
Upon receiving my cups, I washed with a mild soap, and then boiled them. When I’m “changing it”, I wash it in warm water with a mild soap, dry with a clean towel, and reinsert. When the week is over, I reboil it and store in the carrying case that it came with. I have a recipe for a homemade cleaner using essential oils that I will post soon.
Can it get stuck inside of you?
Although I did recently read a post by a woman whose cup got stuck and her mom had to remove it, I don’t think that it can truly become stuck. There’s no place for it to go. Do I think that you can become freaked out with how far in it is and think it’s stuck and will never come out? Duh. Happened to me. Does it really get stuck? No.
Do they help with menstrual cramps?
Using the cup, in my experience, has minimized menstrual cramps. Are they gone entirely? No. The cramps that I’ve gotten my entire life are incredibly severe though, so it could possible take them away entirely if yours are mild.
How long can you leave a cup in?
You shouldn’t leave it in for longer than 12 hours at a time. The way that my day works, my cup gets put in when I wake up in the morning. It doesn’t need to be changed until that night, I take it out prior to showering and reinsert it before bed. This will vary based on how heavy/light your flow is, of course. With a heavier flow, you’ll need to change it more frequently.
If you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me or leave it in the comments! I will do my best to respond.
Overall, this has been such a positive experience for me. I’ve been using a cup for almost four months now, and I’m a believer! I am 100% comfortable going out in public with one, sleeping with one, and just enjoying my every day life. During my periods in the past, I was a recluse for the first three days. It was me, ibuprofen, and a heating pad—best buds all day long. Periods should not have to be this miserable time where we have to pause our lives. I feel so much more comfortable being on my period now. It also allowed me to be more in tune with my body. You really get to know yourself when you’re using a cup–you have to become pretty comfortable reaching up into your cervix, and fast.
Have you tried a menstrual cup? Do you want to? Let me know!
*This post does contain affiliate links. However, I purchased these products with my own money, and was not paid to review or mention them. All of these opinions are my own, swear. I wouldn’t tell you to put some random thing inside of your vagina unless I believed in it!*