GO WITH THE FLOW: MENSTRUAL CUPS
Anyone that has periods will know what an utter faff they can be.
From strategically planning what not to wear (in case you leak) to restocking on expensive sanitary products; despite what the advertisers tell us about rollerblading on a pier and menstrual blood being blue (FFS!) the facts are that every three weeks or so, for many women, periods are a real pain.
My first one arrived the day after my 13th birthday. From then on, they’d last usually around 6 days. I’ve always been quite a heavy bleeder and ridiculously regular, too.
As a dedicated super-plus-tampon-fan by day and winged-ultra-absorbent-pad user by night, I’d NEVER entertained the idea of a menstrual cup, let alone use one. I remember being somewhat disgusted at the idea when a colleague confessed that she was a fan and suggested I tried one!
I mean, the thought of rinsing out blob-blood? Err… no thank you.
However, motherhood well and truly shifted these views somewhat, as my vagina wrestled with the arrival of two eight pound plus babies; one in my mid 20s and then the second in my early 30s.
Moreover though, it wasn’t just adulting and the realization that all sorts of stuff vacate from our bodies that made me reconsider the monthy menstrual mop-up.
Today’s present social climate – which is becoming increasingly more aware of how we can all become more considerate towards our environment – has been the main reason why I finally ditched the pads, wings and string.
According to the Women’s Environmental Network, a woman will go through an average of more than 11,000 disposable menstrual products throughout the course of her life. It’s an alarming amount that contributes to more than 200,000 tons of waste per year.
Using a menstrual cup means zero waste. Not to mention, much cheaper in the long run, too.
For me, it really is that simple – but I’m not going to lie – it can get messy!
When using a menstrual cup for the first time, I’d advise that you use a toilet that has access to a sink. Everyone’s techniques are different and while some are happy enough using tissues to clean their cup, others prefer to bring a bottle of water into the crapper to rinse it out.
On my heaviest days, despite the claims that the silicone grade cup can collect blood for up to 12hrs, I prefer to rinse out and re-insert every 3-4 hours, rather than run the risk of leaking – which I did the first time.
You’ll see how much blood collects and clots too (wonderful, eh?) so you’ll be able to gauge your flow instantly.
There is of course a knack to inserting what looks like a baby bottle teat into your vagina.
You fold it (like a taco, sorry!) then relax as you ease it up and in. It opens up once inside creating a container to collect your bleed.
Taking it out will also need practice – you’ll have to fish around for the tab or ring and ease it out carefully, so as not to recreate a scene from Carrie. Awkward? A little. Painful? No.
You may initially feel discomfort while you work out your technique but rest assured, after just my first cycle, I felt totally confident thereafter to wear my menstrual cup whilst training for the London Marathon 2020 (not sure if that postponed date of October 4th is actually going to happen mind you!) and during a lengthy work presentation, too where I had to stand up and speak and sit down in a deep chair – all the scenarios where I’d usually worry about leaking.
I haven’t yet tried roller blading on a pier with it just yet but I can absolutely confirm that menstrual blood ain’t blue.
So? Are you in the ‘mooncup’ club? I’ve been in it for nearly two years now and I’d never go back to tampons.
Feel free to ask any questions and here are my favourite three menstrual cups to try (did I really just say that?)