I hate it when writers start a factual article with a personal story. I’m here to find a recipe, why am I reading about your first boyfriend’s step-son? So, I’m getting right into it.
I’ve used a menstrual cup regularly for the last 2 years. And I absolutely absolutely swear by it. It has made my life 10x easier. But I can’t recommend it freely. Below I list why I think it’s a god-sent product and why I don’t think it’s for everyone.
Some benefits you may have heard:
- It is amazingly comfortable. To me personally, it feels like nothing 95% of the time with the exception of the first half an hour of use. There are days when I forget if I’m using it and I don’t think any other product (I’ve tried pads and tampons) can do that for me.
- You really don’t need to empty it for 12 hours. Obviously, this depends on your flow but for me, I can go without emptying it for the recommended 12 hours. Anyone who menstruates and goes to work or school knows how difficult it can be to strategize and change sanitary products throughout the day. I think we can all relate to asking around for a napkin when we run out. With cups, you never run out.
- You produce little to no waste. The truth is, cups can leak too. Personally, the leaking is so less that a liner can handle it. So I went from throwing 8–9 pads in the bin, to about 4 liners per cycle. I think that is a significant difference, all while feeling more comfortable.
What you may have NOT heard:
- It eliminates any odour, unlike external-use products like sanitary napkins. It really does what it says. It’s a cup that blocks everything inside, so you can feel dry and clean all day. This also means no menstrual odours leave your body.
- You can pre-wear it in anticipation of your period, unlike disposable products. Since it is so comfortable and has no chemical reactions (for me), I can pre-pop it in and forget about it. I almost never have to worry about staining my clothes from an announced period. However, this only works when your cycles are regular, which for most women they are not.
- Its a long learning curve. But it gets better and better. It’s not an easy product. You have to figure out the right size for your body and that may mean trying a few. Inserting a cup into your body may feel scary, but it folds to a much smaller size and becomes quite easy. With practice, it begins to feel like nothing.
- The pull-out is the worst part, not the insertion. Imagine a brief moment of what feels like manually pulling out your intestines. But then it's gone. And then who enjoys accidentally pinching yourself? It's a cup that’s sucked into a vagina and vacuumed on to the walls. To remove it, you need to pinch the cup to disengage the suction and then pull. It is easy to accidentally pinch yourself doing that. Having said all that, it becomes very normal once you get the hang of it.
- Buy it on Amazon. Diva Cup is not special. This is a tip from my friend which I’m so grateful for. I haven’t tried the Diva cup, so I might be low on credibility here. But I’ve also had no lasting complaints with the cheaper cup I got on Amazon. Go for the Athena, Softdisk, Dutchess, Lena, Pixie cup, whatever. They’re all silicon cups, just at half the price of the popular brands. I’ve met with the makers of the Diva Cup and to explain why its so expensive they said ‘Well, we provide a container for it (so does any brand on amazon) and we have a larger and smaller size in a pack (still costs less to buy 2 from amazon)’. Also the cheaper brands provide a cloth bag as a container which is much more convenient to carry around in a pocket than a hard plastic case.
- You can FEEL when it's full. When you’re a regular user, you can tell when it is full. Its a feeling like when you're stomach is full, almost like you've overeaten. But in your vagina. You can feel a light pressure. How convenient is that?
- You NEED water and privacy. Every time you empty the cup, you will spill some on the floor and probably on yourself. It's just like a tap that had been shut with a cork, it will flow heavily once it's plugged out. To stop that from happening, you need toilet paper. To wash the cup itself, you need running hot water and a mild soap. To do this ritual you need space, time and privacy. All of it is easiest done under a shower or in a bathtub but that is not an option for many people around the world.
- Sterilizing is necessary and also super easy*. You need to sterilize as recommended between each cycle. To sterilize leave it in a pan of boiling water for 7 minutes. That is a very simple process given *you live alone, can use the kitchen alone or have people around you that don’t mind. This factor can be a make or break since it is dangerous to buy a cup that you know you will not be able to sterilize once a month.
- It doesn't work for everyone. People around me have sincerely tried, but it doesn’t feel so comfortable for everyone. So please don’t feel like it has to work.
That’s my list. I hope this helps you pick it up, only if it makes your life easier.