Today I want to talk about menstruations and share my experience with using menstrual cups. If you have not heard about menstrual cups, but you do care about the environment – that thing must be interesting for you. Even if you do not care about the environment, but do care about yourself – it’s still worth to know about 🙂 In my opinion, this is a simple and effective solution to a number of problems. Quite another question – is this applicable to you personally?
The attitude to menstruations
In my case, menstruations has always been something hated, and terribly unpleasant. Firstly, I have pains. I’m not even trying to stand it, I immediately drink ibuprofen. However, there are even more troubles, such as weakness, apathy, headaches and as a “cherry on the cake” – a terrible mood and irritability. In a word – PMS. Well, it makes sense, is it? Why would you feel successful, beautiful and desirable when you are slack as a fly in spring, your head doesn’t work, there’s lack of concentration, , your stomach is bloated, weight increases and hormones are all to blame.
It’s hard to love this period. And no one taught us to love it. Just in opposite way – it has historically turned out that women are continually shamed for everything that connected with their femininity… Meanwhile, it is a part of our essence and every aspect of our essence is worthy of respect and love. I could not realize this truth until I listened to Teal Swan’s thoughts on periods. Teal Swan is a spiritual coach and author of books that my sister recommends to read. However, there are also a lot of content on her YouTube channel that changes the view on many things.
So I’ve been on this path for a while – on a path to acceptance of menstruation as something important in my life, intimate, special and even desirable. I have already taken some steps in this direction, and I am honestly saying that I really feel that I am going in the right direction, I am doing something really important for myself and the quality of my life is definitely improving right now. In line with increasing awareness about my body, ensuring optimal comfort during menstrual period was one of the main objectives on my to-do-list. And so we come to the topic of menstrual cups!
Menstrual cups instead of tampons and pads
About a year ago, I learned (again, from my sister) about the existence of menstrual cups. At the very beginning I liked everything in this idea – environmental-friendly, economical, efficient, safe …. recommended by a person I trust to! I ordered right away one for myself on Amazon, the same one my sister had – Deluxe Menstrual Cup Moskito. But apparently it was a rash decision.
As this product is new and not very popular (yet), I didn’t know at that time that cups are so different in so many ways. I thought they are all the same, like tampons or pads – same operating principle for every type of women so your choice is just a matter of taste. Now I understand, that when it comes to cups, there is much more “science” behind choosing the right one. I ordered a wrong one.
The problem with my first cup was in leaking. I certainly understood, that it takes time to learn how to use this new product correctly. I didn’t give up for a very long time, month after month trying to adapt, but had no success. Whatever I tried, it would still be leaking, and sometimes it even seemed to me that cramping and abdominal pain worsened when a cup or tampon was inserted.
I was almost desperate, so I began to think what to do. I didn’t want to go back to tampons. They began to seem even less comfortable than they were before, they dried everything inside and – holly crap! – I was leaking with them too! Pads were not an option at all. Tons of useless plastic and their unpleasant smell flowing me everywhere – that’s what I hate about them … So I questioned myself, that if I simpley choesed the wromg size of a cup? Then I began to look for information on how to choose the right size. I mean, how to really determine correctly the desired size, because the manufacturers themselves recommend a very vague method: “if you did not give birth, then you have size A, if you gave birth, then size B”.
YouTube channel that explained everything
And then I found the YouTube channel Put A Cup In It which explained everything that was not clear to me! On this channel they describe all the advantages and features of menstrual cups, but even more importantly, they explain the built of the female organs in such a calmly, imperturbably, graphically and clearly manner! I regret that I did not hear such judicious explanations at my 13 y.o. How many women are out there, like me, I wonder, who just find out at their 27 where exactly their cervix is located and how exactly blood flows from the uterus?.. Seriously, not theoretically, not just on pictures, but in fact how everything happens in their own body?
To make a long story short, here are the main points that I learned on this channel:
– Cups are really more hygienic and safer than tampons, because they absorb nothing in the vagina. They only catch blood, while the mucous membrane remains to be wet, as it should be;
– The choice of cups is diverse, they all have different in length, diameter, softness (elasticity), volume and type of tail. The effect depends on each of the parameters, so you can choose a cup that suits you individually;
– There is a method to determine the desired length, softness, diameter and volume. It’s not just that, “choose what ever you like”. How can you choose the taste of coffee if you have never tried it? This will not work either. You can examine your body in advance and it will tell you what would match your “taste”.
– Cups existed for a long time, so it is wrong to think they are not time-tested. I wonder why we learn about them just now. According to the comments on Amazon, some women have been using these cups with great success for over 10 years! And I will confirm, if you find the right cup, it will change your life drastically!
– And, there are menstrual disks on the market with which you can even have sex o_O “mess-free sex”, you know what i mean?!
Speaking of disadvantages – you need to adapt to the cups. Some manage to change cups even in public toilets. I think, for me it is not possible. My option is in the shower, as it is scary to squabble in the blood. But here is the plus – you don’t have to change the cup often. Unlike tampons, a cup can be left inside for 24 hours. There will be a bad smell after extraction, but it is not as bad for health as it could be with tampons. Also, at first it’s might be painful to insert a cup. However this depends on the particular cup in many ways – how soft it is, how compact it can be folded, and how sensitive you are. Everything is individual as always, and it is important to make the right choice.
Choosing the right cup
I did everything as Kim and Amanda recommended (Kim and Amanda are authors of the channel). This helped me to choose a cup, which I am super happy with! There are no problems with leaking now (only if the cup overflows), but usually, for 12 hours I just forget that I am having my periods. It turned out that I needed a larger and softer cup (although I did not give birth). In the description of this video there is a link to the chart, you will find there a convenient table with filters to find a suitable cup. In addition, you can pass a test, at the end of the test will get recommendations, which cup to choose.
At first I was sceptical about the test, but it turned out that one of the two options that I liked in terms of parameters (Super Jennie L) was not available for delivery in Cyprus. However other one, Saalt Soft (which became my happy choice) was available for delivery. Exactly this cup appeared in my test result. And you know what, Super Jennie would be too soft for me. Apparently the test works accurately!
As I said before, I am learning to love my periods. One of the Teal Swan’s tips is to have a symbolic item that you will use only during your periods, so that it reminds you that you are going through a special and valuable time now. Actually she spoke about a jewellery. She suggested wearing a necklace with a red gem around the neck, as an example. I have not found a gemstone for myself yet. However, this cute (and pretty expensive) things have become such symbols for me. I use it only during periods and they bring me not only comfort but also aesthetic pleasure. You see at the picture this cool cup and panties with a waterproof layer – now I don’t even need pads “for everyday”! Super eco-periods! I rarely feel excitement by buying things, but I am especially pleased with this purchase!
P.S.: I am reading a book of Alisa Vitti “Woman Code” now. Very interesting book that gives good understanding of how the endocrine system works, and inspires to make changes in life in order to feel better. It gives hope, that your suffering (whatever it can be, headaches/PMS/Depression/painful or irregular menstruations/lack of energy…) can be fixed without special medical treatment. Well isn’t she right? It’s better to cooperate with our body instead of fighting with it, is it? If you want to understand your body better – probably you will find this book useful too.