me, myself and my menstrual cup
I’ve always been a tampon girl, never given it much thought. I’m of the - better the devil you know - mindset. There are lots of things I haven’t liked about them but I’ve just kind of got on with it and not really questioned.
Just your typical Brit ~ don’t acknowledge what’s going on keep smiling pretend everything’s fine ~
But the conversation of sustainability is becoming more wide spread (that feels like a weird term to use in a menstrual cup post) and the more the topic of reducing waste became part of every day conversations I just couldn’t keep going with the throw away mentality of so many parts of my life.
Enter, the menstrual cup. I remember hearing about friends’ using them years ago and it all seemed pretty alien and intimidating to me.
It’s encouraging to think how far we’ve come. Back then I thought vegan was a foreign word and a menstrual cup was only used by people that lived in canvas under the stars and home schooled their children. Now you can buy them anywhere and more and more people I know are using one. Halle-frickin-lujah.
How do I get hold of one
I bought mine from Amazon. Which already felt like a bit of an eco conscious fail as it had to be packaged and posted rather than just popping in to a shop but in my usual way I’d left it to the eleventh hour to order one before my next period was due.
I went for an Organicup, there are two different sizes depending on your age/whether you’ve given birth vaginally.
The Organicup website is super helpful for pretty much everything you need to know. They have a little video showing a few different ways to fold the cup for the easiest insertion.
It was all incredibly straight forward, if you’ve been using tampons for years then it’s really no different.
A few facts that won me over
Ease A menstrual cup is the equivalent to 3 super tampons and with absolutely no hazardous chemicals in it you can happily and safely leave it in for 12 hours at a time.
Money. I bought the Organicup for around £15 and it will last me now for years and years. No monthly hauls of tampons and pads.
Landfill. I’ve now completely eradicated the waste that I was producing every month. With tampons, wrappers, pads, wrappers, applicators etc. There is so much plastic involved in a period. And it’s totally unnecessary.
Natural. The Organicup (and I’m sure the other leading brands too) is made of 100% medical grade soft, flexible silicone.
Kind. The Organicup is vegan and not tested on animals.
Does it hurt?
I found inserting was much easier than I expected. I watched the little video, folded it in one of the ways they suggested and then inserted the exact same way you would a tampon. I then found I just needed to jiffy it around slightly to check it had opened fully to form the vacuum.
Day one I had bit of discomfort through out the day. Not constantly, but now and again I felt like I needed to rearrange the cup a bit.
After a few times of trying to readjust the cup I realised that it was the stem that was causing discomfort and occasionally poking me. Nice. So I took it out, trimmed the stem slightly (which I checked on the site is a fine thing to do) and all was better after that.
If you’ve been using tampons/having sex/given birth then there should be no reason at all for the cup to be an uncomfortable experience.
Getting it out
The cup is super easy to take out. You just take it slowly, pinching the bottom and easing it out, you feel the vacuum seal release as you shift it around slightly and then it’s comes out easily.
No mess. No big blood bath. I saw on Beth Sandland’s post that she suggested taking it out in the shower. The first day I was having an evening shower anyway so I followed her advice but since then I haven’t felt the need to have a shower specifically to take it out.
The cup comes out slowly and smoothly and then you just tip it into the toilet/sink/shower. I tip it in the sink and then wash it out fully.
Is it hygienic
When you first get your menstrual cup you fully submerge it in boiling water for a few minutes to sterilise. I thought you then needed to do that each time you took it out but actually you just give it a rinse in between uses and then at the end of your period you put it in boiling water again before popping it in the little bag it comes with ready for next month. SO much easier than I was expecting but it still all feels super clean and happy.
Can I change it out and about
Again because, unlike tampons, the cup can last so much longer you shouldn’t necessarily find yourself in a situation where you need to change it whilst out and about in the day. But if you do its still just as easy and straight forward.
Either find a public loo with a sink in the cubicle or if not its fine to empty the cup and then give it a quick wipe with toilet roll. Then you can give it a better rinse once you’re home.
The cup has reminded me in a lot of ways of home birth. My opinion of both before I knew all the facts was that they would be a bloody massacre, not as hygienic as other options and just generally messy and unpleasant. And both couldn’t be further from the truth.
As anyone that’s been reading these blogs or watching my videos knows, I’m a big home birth convert and the same is definitely the case for the menstrual cup. I find tampons can dry you out, they don’t provide enough assurance (particularly on the first day of my period) and I often find myself running out at inopportune moments, not to mention the environmental effects.
It says on the Organicup website that it can take you a few periods to get used to your new friend. I’ve now had one period using a Organicup and I am already completely sold. It’s so straight forward, more efficient than a tampon, much less faff AND better for the world and your body. What more could you want?!