I’m not sure how I first became interested in using a menstrual cup. I didn’t personally know anyone who used one (well, I did. I just wasn’t aware of it at the time). It was probably something I originally heard of it as a crunchy thing practiced by women who don’t shave their armpits. However, I’ve always hated every single thing about pads and tampons, and the more I read about cups, the more I began to wonder why they weren’t more common place
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I didn’t jump right in because A) menstrual cups were difficult to find in the normal places where one buys disposable products. B) I had boxes of disposables to use up. C) I became pregnant. Still, I was intrigued by the concept and ended up ordering a DivaCup when I saw them for sale online (I also love that my cup is made in Canada).
Making the Switch to a Menstrual Cup
Now that I have been using my cup I’m find myself wondering even more often why they’re not standard. I started using mine as soon as my cycle returned postpartum. DivaCups come in two sizes. I had ordered size 2 because I delivered my daughter and am 30 years old. I was nervous about insertion—something about getting a correct seal and finding a fold method that works was intimidating. However, I had nothing to worry about as the first try went well and the cup worked for me right away. I walked out of the bathroom thinking, “Really? That’s it?”
Admittedly, the learning curve is a bit steeper for some people. However, most of the stories I’ve heard from friends or online have ended more positively. It does help to be familiar with your own plumbing before ordering a cup.
“I am 33, have given birth vaginally to 2 babies, and I would say I have an average/slightly-heavy flow. I use the size small Super Jennie very happily now. I started with the size 2 Lunette between the birth of my first and second, and it worked beautifully, but things change, and I needed a softer, more rounded cup after baby #2. It’s so helpful for people trying out a cup to know where their cervix sits in the vaginal canal, as well having a lot of patience at first. They are so freeing, comfortable, and convenient. I will never go back to disposables.
While insertion was easy for me, I definitely found removal to be more challenging. I was aware that I needed to break the seal, but that was easier said then done. After realizing how easy it would be to panic, I sat on the edge of the bathtub and watched a YouTube video on insertion and removal. I’ll include it at the end of this post—it’s nine minutes long but worth watching before you start trying to use the cup. It helped considerably. I found that working the cup down until I can pinch the bottom, breaking the seal, works effectively for me.
“I’ve loved cups from the start. Right away I loved that they’re green, but also that they weren’t drying and that they weren’t making me itchy (I seemed to have some sort of allergic reaction tampons). Now that I’ve found a cup that really suits me (Yuuki Classic), I am so happy with it. It’s super comfortable; I can forget it for hours.”
Before trying a menstrual cup I had sometimes read them referred to as “revolutionary” and thought, “well that’s a bit extreme.” While nothing is going to make a period actually go away, I have found the cup eases the burden significantly. As women, we effectively spend a quarter of our adult lives menstruating. With a cup I end up dealing with this for two minutes at the beginning of the day and two minutes at the end.
Some women find that using a cup reduces cramping (worth it by itself). I am also personally much more comfortable with using medical-grade silicon than I am with the thought of chemical-laden disposable products. Another big plus is not having to worry about all the smelly garbage that is created through disposable use.
“I fell in love with (my Ruby Cup) the second I started using it! it was amazing—no smell, less cramping, 12 hours without needing tampons or liners, no worrying about tampon strings at the beach or the pool! I was a competitive swimmer for 11 years I wish I had known about them then! …
Recently I’ve been having trouble getting it in and getting it open and having it feel right, so I cut off the stem and that helped a lot (I have a really high cervix, and I think it might be tilted). I’ve still been having trouble opening it and then I lost it, so I just did some research and ordered a Lena because it’s stronger for stronger vaginal muscles. I think the only frustrating thing about (using a cup) is finding one that fits right. It can also be a little messy and time consuming, but that’s probably because I don’t have the right fit!
Update: I have now been using my menstrual cup for over a year. I rarely (if ever) need to use disposable menstrual products. For me, the Diva Cup has been a definite win. This brand is a good place to start as they’re made in North America and are pretty standard (find on Amazon: Size 1 and Size 2). I have no intention of ever going back to my tampon-dependent days.
If you’re interested in natural and sustainable swaps you can see our posts:
–A (Cheap and Easy) Zero Waste Dental Hygiene Regime
–Cloth Diapers for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide