As a passionate lover of the environment, I have always supported the idea of using menstrual cups. As an everyday woman, I have always been dubious about trying them due to their leakage potential and their requirement to place an unfamiliar object in my body for long periods at a time (pun completely unintended but I will take the credit).
Last week I bit the bullet and decided to try one. My first impressions were that the cup itself was much less threatening than I had anticipated. In fact, I started to wonder why using these isn’t the norm for women everywhere. It is such a simple concept with so many benefits for each of us individually, and the planet.
The highlight from the experience was feeling like a cool eco warrior, leading the way for my friends who were too uneasy about the whole concept to try it. It was almost like that feeling of getting your period for the first time, before your friends, and them telling them all about it because you were the expert. The lowlight was the murder scene I created in the bathroom when I really struggled to get the cup out one night.
The model I tried had its pros and cons. I imagine different versions would suit people differently given the different shapes and sizes of our bits. So the below list is only true for me and the model I tried.
Here’s what I liked about the cup:
- It’s much better for the environment than pads and tampons which are single use and have a whole lotta packaging.
- It’s cost effective. Mine was $50 which equates to about a five month payback period. (I’ve never realised how much I use the term ‘period’ until writing this article.)
- It doesn’t have to be changed as regularly as the aforementioned options.
- It’s comfortable. For real.
- There are no strings to hide when I go to the beach.
- It came with a pretty little purple bag to store it in. Having the bag makes me feel like such an elegant lady with private lady issues. Sort of how I perceived women in the 60s felt with their special diaphragm and contraceptive pill cases.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- It’s not quite as easy to remove as tampons. There could be an art to it but I was still struggling a bit by the end of my period. (There was a brief moment of panic where I pictured myself having to go to the doctor to get it removed.)
- If you don’t get the suction right, or if you insert them too high, they will leak. However, you get to know how to get good suction within the first few times of using it.
- I don’t know how easy it would be to empty them out and reinsert in a public toilet, at a party or at work. Every time you need to empty it, you need to rinse it out. I can’t imagine just casually washing out your blood filled cup in the bathroom sink while making small talk to those waiting to use the toilet. The only way I could think to get around this is to take a water bottle into the cubicle with you. You could be lucky enough to find toilets that have hand basins in the cubicle too.
So, will I keep using the menstrual cup? Yep! I still need to work on my removal technique but I will get there. I just know I will!
If you are thinking of trying one, I would recommend interchanging it with your current menstrual management method until you get used to it. That way, if you don’t like it, you can simply carry on doing what you are doing.