Let me start by saying that this post is very much not an ad. I paid for my menstrual cup myself. There are some Amazon ads, which are affiliate links, later in the post, as I thought you might be interested to know what I bought. As you can imagine from the title, I am going to be discussing menstrual cups, periods, the female anatomy, other sanitary products and my personal experience of all of the above. So if you’re not up for that, then please navigate away from this page. (Perhaps you’d prefer a nice tuff spot activity or my feelings on being a stay at home parent?)
Still with me? Great, then I’ll continue. I bought a menstrual cup for myself last week, as I was expecting my second period after the birth of my daughter. I’d had ten, glorious period-free months of breastfeeding before mother nature reared her crimson head, and Aunt Flo paid me a visit.
Up until now, I’d always used a mixture of tampons and pads during my period. But last month, during that first period since having B, I found tampons to be unbearably uncomfortable. I’ve never been a huge fan of pads anyway as I find them pretty bulky, but last month I found them quite itchy, too. Apologies if you consider that an overshare; I did warn you in the first paragraph!
I’d been considering a menstrual cup for a while. As well as wanting to reduce the amount of waste I’m creating, I’ve heard from various people that they’ve made their periods lighter, less painful and generally less hassle. All positives, so I thought it was about time I gave one a go.
When I first started looking at menstrual cups, I felt seriously overwhelmed. There are so many to choose from. They come in all different sizes and firmness, with different stem lengths. I had no idea which one would be best for me. Then my lovely friend Becky at The Mummy Adventure told me about a website called Put A Cup In It. It has tons of information about menstrual cups and, crucially, a quiz that you can take, which tells you which cup might be the best fit for you. Based on the results of said quiz, I went for a Lunette Size 2*.
I’d never heard of Lunette before, but I instantly liked the brand as their menstrual cups come in all different funky colours. I chose a purple one. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as M’s favourite colour is purple. You can imagine my surprise when I turned to find M using my newly-purchased menstrual cup as a form of goblet for her toy giraffe. When I took it out to boil it before first use yesterday afternoon, she demanded to know what I was doing with ‘her’ cup. Whoops…
Anyway, I digress. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I don’t know if the guidance is the same for all menstrual cups, as I only own this one so far, but I started by washing the cup with lunette’s cup wash, then boiled my cup in a saucepan for 20 minutes, being careful to make sure that cup didn’t burn on the side of the pan. When I say being careful, I mean I poked it with a chopstick to keep it floating in the middle!
Then came the time to insert the cup. This was the bit I’ve been most apprehensive about, since the cup arrived. I’m not going to lie, I thought it looked absolutely huge, and felt completely overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to insert it into my vagina. After watching a really helpful video on the Lunette website on how to fold the cup, I tried the punch down fold, as this makes the cup as small as possible to insert.
It took a few goes to get right, but eventually I managed to insert the cup. I felt like I had regressed to my 14-year-old self, learning how to use tampons for the first time. Once the cup was in, though, I found it really comfortable. I could slightly feel the stem when I sat at certain angles, but other than that, it was fine. But then, a few hours later, came the scariest part…
Full disclosure here; this was terrifying! I spent a considerable amount of time fishing around in my nether regions, trying to get a grip on the cup in order to release it. Of course, the instruction leaflet that comes with the cup is all chill about it…
“Grasp the bottom of the cup with your forefinger and thumb. To break the seal, squeeze the bottom ridged part of the cup, until you feel the suction release”
This is the point at which I started to wonder whether said leaflet had been written by a man. I’ll spare you too much detail, but suffice to say my pelvic floor doesn’t appear to have been weakened much at all by carrying two babies, and they both came out via the sunroof, so there’s not a great deal of excess space, or, er, ‘give’ up there. Especially when it’s full of larger-than-anticipated menstrual cup.
Undeterred, though, I persisted, despite the rising panic and visions of a trip to A&E to have the cup removed with forceps! Eventually, I removed the cup and congratulated myself on not dropping it down the toilet. I gave it a wash using the cup wash, while considering whether or not I should reinsert the cup, or chicken out and use a pad overnight.
After a bit of dithering, I reinserted the cup, already feeling more confident than the first time around. I’m slightly dreading having to take it out again, but I figured that if I didn’t force myself to practice, my menstrual cup would end up back in the drawer, never to see the light of day again.
On the plus side, despite being a total novice at cup insertion, I’m finding it really comfortable to wear, and I don’t have any concerns about it leaking overnight. Hopefully, with practice, I’ll be a menstrual cup pro in no time!
Do you have a menstrual cup? How did you feel about using it to start with? Are you a convert, or will you be sticking to more traditional sanitary products? I’d love to hear your views in the comments!
*Affiliate link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.