I converted to using menstrual cups some time ago, now. Have I mentioned it? Only a few times… And yep, I’m still banging on about them. Why? Because they save you cash and they save the environment from being cluttered up with thousands upon thousands of used pads and tampons. I have carried on about them so much that loads of my friends have switched over to them. This may have been purely to shut me up, but I’m okay with that. I’m also not shutting up about them because YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GET ONE if you get periods.
When it comes to menstrual cups, though, I have learned a thing or two. Here’s a few of them that you might want to know if you’re considering a cup. Did I mention that you should totally consider a cup?
Things you will learn about your body
- Learning to use your cup is a veritable voyage of self-discovery. You’ll learn things like whereabouts your cervix sits during menstruation, for example. Who knew it differed from person to person!
- If you need to tell your doctor just how heavy your flow is for some reason, you can actually give them a pretty good estimate. And when you say things like “I bled around 40ml on the first day”, they look confused, then horrified, then impressed.
- One of the main things people worry about is the cup getting lost inside them. Intellectually, we know it’s impossible. However, if you get yourself really worked up about the idea, your whole body will become tense. Including the muscles of your vagina. As they tense up, they unintentionally kinda suck the cup further in, making it more difficult to remove. It’s basically a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Things you should know
- You don’t want to spill it. That’s a given. But you really don’t want to spill it in a bathroom that isn’t your bathroom. Like, say, the work bathroom. I have this information on good authority.
- Cups usually have a tab or tail on the base of them to assist with removal. Some even have a little ring. If you have one of the tab/tail varieties, you can trim it to make it shorter. Depending on the brand, the tail can be kinda long. This can get kinda pokey and uncomfortable.
- It’s possible to end up with bloodstains up under the toilet seat. Something to do with angles, splashing and physics or something. Exercise caution when emptying!
Painful truths you may discover
- To insert the cup, you need to fold it first. There’s a bunch of different folds but you just go with your chosen one and insert. Once in situ, the cup sort of pops open and does it’s thing. However, if you put the cup in at a slightly off angle, it can pop open and kind of suction itself to your vaginal wall. You may not notice at first. You will definitely notice it once you’ve left the bathroom and done something crazy like sitting in a chair. There will be pain in places you may never have experienced pain before.
- I like Tiger Balm for sore muscles. I have discovered that you can’t actually wash this off your hands. You might think you have, but trust me, you have not. You may have scrubbed with soap and hot water for 10 minutes but it is not enough, I promise you. Don’t hold your cup for even a second if you have so much as walked past a jar of this or any other mentholated rub, for the love of god.
- You don’t want to use super hot water to wash your cup, because you’ll end up staining your cup and burning your bits.
- Cold water helps to prevent staining but super cold water, as in, straight out of the tap at 5 am in the middle of winter? Yeah, you’ll know all about that, too. It takes being cold to next-level hideous.
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