When I was younger my favorite show was 7th Heaven. I remember one of the episodes where one of the characters Lucy was upset because she hadn’t gotten her period ,but all her friends had. It seemed like such an odd thing to be upset about. Fast forward a few years and when I finally got my period, I was so excited that I was now “officially” a woman. I was young and foolish. Now, 209 periods later I dread this one week of every single month. Over the years, I have tried multiple ways to handle my period: pads, tampons, period panties, I have now landed on menstrual cups. This post is dedicated to my period journey and highlights the good, the bad, and the ugly about menstrual cups. Sorry fellas but this post is for the ladies. Feel free to pass it along to your girlfriends, sisters, mothers, aunts etc, or take a read and learn about what we go through.
For most of my 200+ periods, I only ever used Always pads. The sheer thought of using Kotex sent me into a panic and for years, I only used pads. No tampons. That changed maybe a couple of years ago when I started to use both. I then bought a set of period panties to try and make the switch to an all-natural version of menstrual products and to save money in the long term. While the period panties do work they are not the most effective to wear alone and from personal experience I would advise that you do not use alone. After my period panty was a no-go on its own I switched to exclusively using all-natural pads and tampons. I wanted to make this change because the pads and tampons that we use contain a lot of chemicals that are not good to be used on such an intimate area. I will say that once I made this switch I’ve noticed less severity in my cramps and just a better period over all. The one downside is that the lack of chemicals creates a product that is not as absorbent as regular pads and tampons. Not to mention the packs of all natural or organic pads and tampons are much smaller than the regular pads and tampons. So I was constantly buying pads and tampons every month which when you do the math, is about $150 per year(without the pink tax).
This is the line of all natural pads and tampons I was using before my switch to the menstrual cup.
This brings me to the menstrual cup. I had heard about the menstrual cup for a while and was curious, but wasn’t quite sure how it would fit and if it would work. I watched Youtube video reviews and read articles. I talked to multiple people all of whom sang the praises of the menstrual cup. Another one of my best friends was also intrigued, but we weren’t quite sure if we could make that plunge. I wanted to find a more cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to have my period. I’m not a fan of hormonal birth control to stop having my periods for various health reasons so I am stuck having a period every month until I get pregnant or hit menopause. After putting this off for forever (I even had it on my vision board for 2018) I finally made the plunge this year ,and bought two menstrual cups from a company called LenaCup.
The Lena Cup
LenaCup offers two sizes of cups and doesn’t base theirs based on whether you have had children like other companies. It’s also been voted the #1 best beginner cup(according to their website). Each cup is made from 100% medical grade silicone and dyes. I got a two pack which included the small and the large size cup. You can alternate between the two depending on your flow. I personally start off with the small cup then switch to the large cup for the first two days of my period which are the heaviest then switch back to the small cup. When the kit arrived, it included two small storage bags for when the cups are not in use and instructions. You will need the instructions.
I remember when I got my cups I was so excited to use them for the first time! And apparently so was my body because my period came a few days early. I followed the instructions on how to fold the cup and place it in your body. You are supposed to feel and hear it suction to your body that’s how you know it’s inserted correctly. It does take a while to get used to, but what it really shocking is the removal. Menstrual cups will make you incredibly comfortable with your body which is a very good thing, but seeing all that blood can be very jarring the first few times. If you’re at home in your own bathroom, it’s not so bad, but when you’re at work or in public it can be very difficult to remove and dispose of the blood. As often as I can I try to remove it in the shower. The days when my period is super light I insert it in the morning and forget about it. If your period is heavy it will leak once it’s full just like any other menstrual product. Just like tampons, it is advised not to leave the cups inside for more than 12 hours without changing them. I wash them with regular soap and let them dry in between uses and once my period is completely done, I boil them for about 7 minutes. My mom was so disgusted when I told her this part, so I will point out that I do not use my period pot and tongs for any other use other than my period.
I enjoy not having to buy tampons or pads every single month or worry if my period comes early if I have any pads or tampons. It is cost efficient. You just need to make the initial investment which was probably less than $50 with tax and shipping. It has somehow made my period a little less stressful in that I don’t have to constantly worry do I have a pad or a tampon when I go to the bathroom. There’s no waste which is great for the environment and it is cutting down on my carbon footprint.
The constant changing of the cup gets annoying during the heaviest days. It’s more labor intensive to remove than a tampon. And it’s not the easiest solution when you are out, but with a little practice it works. I still wear my period panties as a back-up just in case I have any major leaks which really only happens when my period is very heavy. I haven’t used it swimming or on vacation just because it’s a bit more personal than other menstrual products, and when I’ve traveled it’s been with family or friends in a shared bathroom. It’s been interesting to share this with my older relatives who have looked at me like I had 6 heads, but I think my generation is trying to find a more viable long-term solution to menstruation.
If you’re on the fence about it, I would recommend you to give menstrual cups a try. The initial investment is well worth it, and it really does make it so much easier to just know that you’re always covered no matter when your period comes. The excitement of having my period left after my first cycle, 17 years ago. But I think I have finally found a solution that I’m excited about!