The Menstrual Cup

OrganiCup the menstrual cup
Whenever I’ve written about finding eco-friendly period products there is always an overwhelming response from fans of menstrual cups. I even heard the mention of mooncups in Neighbours the other week. To be honest it frustrates me that a small minority of people are borderline agressive about the choices we make with period products, no one should be ashamed about what they use each month. I’ve written about pads and somehow people seem outraged that you don’t use tampons. I appreciated that the menstrual cup is a very effective product for some people but spare a thought that not everyone feels the same and that’s OK. Our bodies, periods and lifestyles vary and it makes sense so would our product choices.

After trialling a number of eco-friendly disposable products I was still left disappointed so I gave in and took the menstrual cup route. In all honesty I have mixed feelings and after 3 months I’m still not sold on the idea. This silicone cup is the most frustrating of products you will ever choose. After selecting a brand and size you then have to become skilled in origami. You’ll spend hours online and then practising. You find the perfect fold and then the trial and tribulations of inserting begin. Getting the cup to “pop” open inside you becomes this weird dance in your bathroom. Squatting and squirming didn’t work for me so instead partially inserting then letting it open and pushing the cup into position does the trick.

I’d read hilarious stories about people “birthing” their cups because it had got “lost” inside so this instantly makes you a little anxious. The cup has a little “tail” but it doesn’t hang outside the body in the same way as a string. I soon realised the cup doesn’t have to be inserted as high as a tampon. I came to the conclusion that you’re doing it wrong if you are reaching for your tonsils to retrieve it. It sits lower down and I can’t get my cup to budge very high even if I wanted it to. If at any point you have difficulty removing the cup you do need to relax which is sometimes easier said than done but it’s important to try and calm yourself. Tension just makes your body work against you.

A delightful side effect of periods can be diarrhoea or constipation which I found makes using cups a tricky son of a bitch at those times. One piece of advice many articles overlook is if you need to poop get that over with first before inserting the cup since your muscles down there work alongside each other. On occasions I found peeing and sneezing can reposition the cup so you’ll end up practising kegals like your life depends on it.

Menstrual cups do require a level of intimacy which some may not be comfortable with and that’s ok. Don’t feel bad if your period grosses you out a little, we’ve been conditioned to feel this way but there is no shame. The hardest part is negotiating this dilemma in a public bathroom something I am yet to accomplish. There is no denying removing and emptying can become a little messy but I’ve managed without losing my cup down the toilet or creating the scene from a horror movie. Take it slow and steady, have wipes or tissues nearby. 

I read that you might need to trial a few cups to find your perfect fit which can be a little disheartening because the initial outlay might be a concern for some people. I would hate to end up with a collection of cups because it’s not as if you can donate the old one to a friend.

After hours or months of practice you’ll achieve the ultimate goal and you will want to shout it from the roof tops. You suddenly become that annoying person. You’ll be bragging about your menstrual cup that is until you have to empty it and can’t get it back where you need it. Cue the swearing and deciding that your lady parts must be faulty. 

So this might come off as a little negative but as I said I have mixed feelings about whether a menstrual cup is the right decision for me. Let’s flip this and discuss the positives. Firstly environmental impact is huge as mainstream disposable pads and tampons are not only full of plastic but they can end up on our beaches. Please never flush your products and always bin them. I know this has an impact on landfill but our oceans are suffering right now and need our attention. On my heavy days I can use tampons with a pad and gets leaks within one or two hours. The cup has given me freedom from this because it holds a greater volume of liquid. I will not need to empty for a few hours and in fact most of the time I’ve removed it from sheer panic that it must be full and it wasn’t. Whilst cups claim 12 hour protection I do see myself having to empty it well before that time with a heavier flow. The other difference I noticed was I always had a sneaking suspicion that tampons worsen my cramps and I must say after 3 months with the cup my pain seems milder. A menstrual cup is an investment but overtime you do save money. With proper care your cup can last a few years. I don’t know about you but I spend a small fortune each month on disposables. 

The cup I am using is OrganiCup and I purchased it from Content Beauty. An alternative is Mooncup and TOTM have recently launched one.

Sarah x

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4 comments

  1. Really interesting read. My daughter wanted to try and can't make it work. The environmental argument, plus the 'you can do sports and not worry about leaking' has her keen to try. I thought of it getting 'lost' fills me with horror and I can imagine the panic. Hmmm...no easy answers.

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    1. My main motivation was for travelling, there are many pros but the cons get very frustrating and the fear of not being able to retrieve it is very real lol :D

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  2. Thank you for this honest post Sarah. I'm looking to try this myself soon so this was interesting to read. Thanks also for giving me a good laugh; some of the descriptions had me in giggles! Just what I needed after a long day at work! Another reason to love your blog :)

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    1. I'm pleased to hear you found this funny as I was certainly aiming for that, my experiences have made me giggle so I didn't want it to be too serious :)

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