Time for some period TMI: I’ve been using menstrual cups for a while now, but it wasn’t always this way. The first time I used tampons, I was grossed out. My mom bought my 11-year-old self a variety pack of Tampax, and we ducked into a single stall restroom in the Cancun airport to try them out. We were going on vacation and she was determined to not let my third period – of all time! – get in the way of me enjoying the pool or swimming in the ocean. I came up with alternate methods: “What if I wear shorts over my bathing suit? Could I still wear a pad?”No dice. It was awkward, but I got over my squeamishness and I did it. I had a great time on vacation and I’ve been a steadfast tampon user ever since.
Until I realized there were other period options out there, that is. I had been meaning to try menstrual cups since I heard my friend excuse herself to go to the bathroom to “empty the Diva Cup” (At the time, I honestly thought she was making a joke about having to go pee).
I wound up converting to menstrual cups once I moved across the country to Los Angeles from New Jersey. The Costco-sized bulk pack of tampons I stashed in my car had just run out and the thought of dumping money into disposable tampons made me so angry. I had yet to get a job and it felt like I was literally bleeding on my money I could otherwise use to, I don’t know, EAT. The Diva Cup is, admittedly, a larger upfront investment than pads or tampons, but I can say it was the best choice I have made for my personal health and finances.
The squick-factor is high (I know! Blood! In a cup! That you dump out and put back inside of you!), but it’s really not that scary or weird. Considering making the switch? Here are 20 things no one has told you about using menstrual cups.
1) There actually isn’t as much blood involved as you would think.
Everyone always assumes that menstrual cups mean you come in contact with, like, buckets of blood. Um, nope – no more than normal. Plus, everyone who has a period winds up getting their hands dirty on some level.
2) Actually, you touch less blood.
You could wrap a bloody tampon in thin-ply toilet paper and get blood on your hands. You could roll up and wrap a pad like a sad, bloody burrito and deal with the floating blood clots that haven’t absorbed. Or, you could touch your vaginal walls and a silicone cup – THAT’S IT.
3) Overflow? Not a thing.
You lose about 3 oz. of blood each period. The average menstrual cup holds 1 oz. The average tampon holds between 6-9 grams. You may feel pressure when the cup gets heavy, but flowing out of the cup? Not gonna happen.
4) THERE IS NO LEAKING!
If you’re doing it right, your cup should form a seal. That’s what the handy dandy little holes are for on the side of your cup. You know the annoying blood stains you get from tampons? Yup, they don’t happen with menstrual cups.
5) It’s really simple, once you get the hang of it.
Fold it in half, then fold it in half again. Insert the cup and turn it counterclockwise until it seals. Bam!
6) It isn’t gross.
A lot of people think menstrual cups are gross because your hand is all up in your lady business. Uh, have you guys ever masturbated? It’s literally the same thing.
7) You should grab a mirror and get the hang of it before you start bleeding!
Your menstrual cup is going to be a lot easier to navigate once you know where you’re going and you aren’t fighting your flow to get a good look at what’s going down. Most of your vulva is out of your immediate line of vision. If you need, grab a mirror. No biggie.
8) There are no chemicals to mess with your pH.
Your vagina is a delicate ecosystem of it’s own with an average pH balance of 3.8-4.5. There’s no latex, BPA, or added dyes, fragrances, additives, or bleached rayon to throw off your pH or strip away the moisture in your vagina with the cup!
9) This means they’re safer than tampons.
Did you know tampons dry out your vaginal walls? Thanks for nothing, chemicals. Menstrual cups don’t do that!
10) You can set it and forget it.
Diva Cup recommends emptying the cup every 12 hours, but if you feel the pressure change, if your cup becomes heavy, you can dump it as needed.
11) No more worrying about TSS!
Cotton materials in tampons can cause cuts and abrasions in your vagina, leaving those open wounds to collect bacteria and cause TSS. That’s why you shouldn’t use tampons overnight or for more than 8 hours.
12) You really, REALLY can’t feel it.
The silicone warms up to body temperature. Hey now!
13) No more bloody strings getting stuck to places you don’t want them stuck.
Same goes for diaper-like pads. The Diva Cup is a game changer for anyone who’s active. Again – you. touch. less. blood.
14) Washing it doesn’t actually take as much time as you think it does.
It comes with it’s own wash for when you’re home and when you’re in public, you can just wipe it down with some toilet paper and reinsert. No need to bleed all over your bathroom at work while you hover over a sink and scrub.
15) Your menstrual cup wash can also be used as face and body wash.
You’re welcome 🙂
16) No more smelly period trash.
The less period trash you have collecting in your garbage can, the less your bathroom is going to smell. Menstrual blood technically has no odor to it (if it does, please see your gyno). Once it mixes with open air bacteria can start to develop, hence your smelly trash stinking up your bathroom.
17) No tampons diving out of your purse when you least expect them to.
But maybe carry them anyway in case you need to help a friend. Just imagine those people are tampons and that ocean is the check out counter at the grocery store. We’ve all been there.
18) You save so much money
It adds up, in the long run.
19) Use your menstrual blood for other things!
If that’s your thing, you do you. Menstrual blood has many different uses. From witchy elixirs to a practical compost-aide, you can use it however you want. Or you know, flush it down the toilet.
20) There are more kinds than just The Diva Cup.
If the Diva Cup isn’t right for you, that’s OK. Every body is built differently and everybody flows their own way. You might be better fit for the Moon Cup, Lunette Cup, or Instead Softcup. Keep trying till you get it right. You got this!
Do you use a menstrual cup? Are you gong to try it? Tell us in the comments!
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