The topic of the moment in social media has been menstrual cups- how they can impact the lives of women in third world countries, how they could be the answer to the prayers of homeless women without regular access to restrooms, and how women in the US are making the switch too. Not only are menstrual cups a wise choice for your health but there are longer term benefits that can make your period week no different than any other day of the month. If you are looking to make the switch you can expect to go through these phases, just be sure to hang in long enough to experience #periodnirvana.
You almost talk yourself out of it.
There are some great videos out there about using cups and there are some that can turn you right back off from it. I can’t tell you how many times a particular “horror story” video has been referenced in the comments of my videos about cups as evidence to why they would “never put that thang up there.” Well, what if I told you that there are way more good stories than bad? It can be frightening to try something new (I was scared too!) but when you consider the future advantages there is nothing to lose and lots to gain. Lesson? Avoid the bad videos. Don’t let other people’s ignorance and fear of new experiences hold you back from a switch that will change your life for the better. You can do this.
You stare at the cup and wonder “will that really fit?”
Menstrual cups looks intimidating, but when folded they can be about the size of tampons or slightly larger. If you also think about the amazingness that is your vagina you will remember that it can accomodate a baby being born through it and can also make room for other activities. You work up the nerve to try it after folding and re-folding for practice after watching those good videos I told you about. You’ve already made the small investment, there is no turning back now. Have a glass of wine and get to it.
You’re locked in the bathroom for 10-15 minutes.
It can take time when you first begin using a cup to go through the process of inserting (you might go through a few tries at first before you find the perfect folding technique and angle for your body) and you might find yourself going through and washing your hands a few times more than usual. This is ALL NORMAL. You can’t expect to get it perfect the first time and that is OK, but maybe to prevent your significant other or housemate from worrying run the shower or take a bath so they don’t think you are having a medical emergency. You’re ok and this is working, it just takes a little practice, relax!
You leak… at first.
Just like when you learned to ride a bike, learning how to use your new menstrual cup can have some bumps along the way. Instead of wearing a protective helmet and knee pads you should wear disposable or cloth liners to protect your underwear and leave you feeling confident for the first cycle or two. Even if you *think* you aced it on the first go it’s better to be safe than sorry! Don’t worry though, it will get better!
You magically use all of your toilet paper a week early.
Sh*t! You just bought toilet paper but you’re already out, where did it go? Well, when you use menstrual cups there is a higher amount of toilet paper used. You use it to wipe out the cup before washing in the sink. You use a bit to sit it on while you do what you need to do. Plus when you’re on your period you tend to use more TP because you tend to use the bathroom more- this is a proven side effect of menstruation. They don’t call it shark week for nothing… still… an extra roll of TP is a small price to pay for the positives of using menstrual cups.
You forget about it.
The first time you forget you are on your period and that you’re wearing a cup you have made it to #periodnirvana. Go to a theme park with just a small bag (without 15 tampons as back-up that the guy at Disney has to pretend not to see when rifling through your bag) and live in the moment the entire trip. Your mind won’t be on finding the bathrooms at each section of the park or wondering if you brought enough products and if not what the hell will you do? Sun up to sun down you can ride rides and be carefree… just like those tampon ads but WAY F*CKING BETTER because tampons can’t last for 8-12 hours can they?!
You stop going to the “pink aisle” at Target.
There is a lonely half a box of tampons under your sink that you haven’t looked at in months. You can’t remember the last time you had to make that stroll to quickly grab a box of tampons and you’re hoping to never do it again. You’re there, you are free from disposable feminine products! Treat yourself to a venti at Starbucks with the money you’ve saved this month.
You start recruiting.
Cup users almost always begin converting their friends and family once they have made it past the early adoption phase and into #periodnirvana. They share links about cups on Facebook, tag their friends in the comments of stories about them, BUY them for friends because they HAVE to try one because “IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.” Now go forth, #vagangelists, and convert your friends! Drag them to a MommyCon near you for my menstrual products sessions in 2016![hr]
Menstrual cup usage is increasing rapidly thanks to these women who are courageous enough to speak up about the unspoken taboo of menstruation. Women are learning there is more to periods than wasteful and uncomfortable disposable products. There is a life outside of the tampon box that goes camping for a week even though it’s that time of the month. There is swimming without checking for tampon strings, there are 10 hour days at work without easy access to a restroom and no worries about leaks. There is true freedom, comfort and peace of mind. Without even adding the health, environmental, and financial benefits cups already beat the pants off of tampons when it comes to comfort.
Ready to make the switch? Find past articles and videos on how to use menstrual cups in the Reusable Menstrual Care section of DDL or my new menstrual cup website Put a Cup In It.. Then buy one and find out for yourself.