If that’s the case many individuals in my life had been making the swap, was I lacking out by being caught in my tampon rut? I made a decision it was time to check out a number of of one of the best menstrual cups for myself.
Menstrual cups are reusable female hygiene merchandise. These versatile, bell-shaped cups—usually made from medical-grade silicone—are inserted into the vagina, and as a substitute of absorbing your interval blood like a pad or tampon does, they acquire the blood within the cup. After 12 hours, you take away the cup, pour out the blood, give the cup a cleansing, and put it again in. Some manufacturers say they’ll last as long as 10 years. (Although there are additionally some disposable menstrual cups accessible.)
If this feels like a newfangled Gen Z invention, know this: The primary usable industrial cup was really delivered to market all the way in which again in 1937, however solely lately has the concept change into extra mainstream.
If that’s the case many individuals in my life had been making the swap, was I lacking out by being caught in my tampon rut?
I gained’t lie—beginning this chapter felt intimidating. I made a decision that I might strive three totally different manufacturers over the course of three cycles to offer menstrual cups a stable strive. To determine which manufacturers would make most sense for me, I meandered over to Amanda Hearn’s interval schooling platform Put A Cup In It—and really rapidly realized it’s not all one-size-fits-all-vaginas. Luckily, Hearn has created the Menstrual Cup Quiz you possibly can take to seek out out which cups to strive. I’m 36 (hey, mid-thirties!), have vaginally delivered a child, and have a regular-to-light stream. Sure, these particulars matter when discovering the appropriate cup for you.
Studying the right way to use a menstrual cup
As a result of I used to be a beginner, I practiced inserting the cup earlier than my interval really began so I wouldn’t be caught off guard making an attempt a brand new contraption once I was already bleeding. (I extremely advocate studying how to insert a menstrual cup earlier than your stream begins.)
After sanitizing the cup (boil for 3 to 5 minutes after buy and to begin every cycle), I attempted my luck. The best methodology to get a interval cup into your vagina is the U-shaped fold. With clear palms and a sanitized cup, maintain the cup between your fingers and fold it within the form of a “U.” You may then insert it rim-side first, virtually such as you would with a tampon with out an applicator. As soon as inside, the cup returns to its cylinder form and creates an hermetic seal.
This was simpler stated than carried out, and it took apply to get proper. I knew I did it flawed at first as a result of 1) I might really feel a uninteresting stress from the cup, and a couple of) the stem was protruding. That could not be proper.
I attempted once more, and after getting the kinks of consumer error out, the cup was absolutely inserted into my vagina and the stem was now not seen—this left a way more snug really feel that was as pure as a tampon, to my shock.
Month 1: Saalt Delicate Cup
I began this cup journey with the Saalt Soft Cup, common dimension ($29). This dimension cup is really helpful for larger cervixes and post-childbirth. Celebrated for its snug really feel, Saalt Delicate is a professional first-timer’s cup. I used to be involved it might jab or I’d really feel stress inside, however as soon as I bought it in the appropriate place, it match simply.
The cup has the capability of 4 tampons. However I used to be satisfied it might leak and felt nervous to go about each day life. I had a hike with buddies deliberate on what would have been thought-about a heavy stream day, so I additionally used a panty liner to be protected.
Spoiler: You actually can put on the cup and reside your life. It stayed in place your complete time and after two intentional pit stops to examine for leaks, I used to be pleasantly stunned to seek out none.
After about eight hours (you possibly can go for 12, however I used to be nervous and wished to ensure I didn’t push its limits), I attempted my luck at removing the cup with out leaving my lavatory wanting like a homicide scene. Interval cups aren’t meant to only be yanked out like a tampon. As a substitute, to take away a menstrual cup, with clear palms, you could attain inside and break the seal of the cup earlier than gently pulling it out. I learn horror tales about cups getting caught, so my nerves had been on edge. However, the light squeeze to interrupt the seal labored for me, and the cup got here out. I emptied it, after which I used the Saalt Cup Wash ($13)—which claims to assist preserve a wholesome pH—to wash it earlier than giving it one other insert.
My take: This was a beautiful newbie cup to expertise my first month of nixing tampons. The web site’s instructions are useful and straightforward to observe. Familiarize your self with the method earlier than your interval and don’t get discouraged with it doesn’t really feel snug the primary time you insert it.
Month 2: The Honey Pot
The Honey Pot Menstrual Cup ($24) is sturdy, straightforward to make use of, and feels tremendous substantial with out leaving you conscious you might be utilizing the cup. Feeling a bit extra assured on month two, I took different customers’ recommendation and trimmed down the stem, so it wasn’t as lengthy. This may be carried out for any cup with a straight stem to make sure most consolation. Some cups, nonetheless, have a loop on the top for straightforward gripping. As soon as reduce, this meant the cup (I used to be making an attempt dimension 2) felt a bit larger inside my vagina. Be aware that in the event you do really feel a poking sensation, you may need inserted it incorrectly.
Throughout this spherical, I used to be in peak summer season mode and examined my luck swimming. No leaks and no discomfort. I spotted my considerations had been principally psychological. I used to be too conscious of the cup solely as a result of I used to be nervous about leaks poolside, however as soon as I grew to become extra assured in my cup-inserting expertise, I finished fascinated by it and relaxed.
When it got here time to take away The Honey Pot, I used the squat methodology to loosen up my pelvic ground muscle tissue. I gave it a squeeze and slight twist and felt the seal break.
My take: I preferred the sturdy really feel of this cup. It gave me the boldness to step out of my consolation zone and do extra whereas on my interval.
Month 3: The Ruby Cup
What pushed me to strive the Ruby Cup ($33) is the corporate’s mission. For each cup bought, they donate a cup to an individual with out entry to interval merchandise. So far, that’s greater than 140,000 cups, which has saved greater than 14 million kilograms of plastic in tampon utilization. Whereas the value tag is a bit larger than the opposite two, the donation made the additional cash spent greater than value it.
Past the mission, the Ruby Cup made me really feel like a seasoned professional. The dimensions medium inserted simply, and identical to the opposite two, the fabric was agency however snug. What set this cup aside was the easy-grip stem: It has elevated pumps that make grabbing it with out wanting easy. I didn’t really feel the necessity to trim this one down in any respect, as a result of it was such a cinch to take away after use.
I had one heavier than regular day throughout this cycle and cleaned the Ruby Cup noon whereas on the workplace (I had my cleansing wash in my purse). I used to be a bit involved how this may go, whereas for the earlier two I used to be nice for 12 hours. However it was a breeze. I eliminated, cleaned, and reinserted the cup in simply 5 minutes.
My take: With an excellent mission, it is simply an added bonus that this cup is a cinch to take away.
Steadily requested questions
How are you aware when your menstrual cup is full?
In line with Dame interval care, there are a number of tell-tale indicators that your cup is full. The cup may begin to really feel heavy and your pelvic muscle tissue will tire a bit kind holding it up. You may begin to expertise some leakage. And you may also begin to really feel some discomfort because the cup shifts down in your vagina beneath the additional weight.
As Amandine Pranlas-Descours, former international model supervisor of female care firm Intimina, beforehand instructed Nicely+Good about using menstrual cups, when you begin utilizing a cup frequently, you may start to intuit precisely when it is time to take it out.
Can you’re feeling a menstrual cup whenever you stroll?
When you’ve inserted a menstrual cup appropriately, it ought to really feel no totally different than a tampon. That means, apart from possibly getting a uninteresting sensation when it is fuller, you actually should not really feel it—particularly not throughout day-to-day actions like strolling.
What are the disadvantages of menstrual cups?
Menstrual cups are clearly more environmentally-friendly than disposable tampons or pads that refill your lavatory trash can. They’re additionally extra wallet-friendly, since one cup can final a number of years.
That stated, there’s a studying curve related to utilizing menstrual cups and discovering the appropriate match. “Every model has a special design, and each vagina and cervix is a special form,” Jennifer Conti, MD, board-certified OB/GYN and co-author of The Vagina Ebook: An Proprietor’s Handbook for Taking Care of Your Down There, beforehand instructed Nicely+Good. “If the cup is just too small, you’ll have leakage. If it’s too huge, it could be uncomfortable.” Particularly, there is a potential for mess whenever you empty it, which is why specialists advocate that you just take it out whereas hovering over the bathroom and ideally at house, so that you’ve quick access to a sink for laundry your palms and rinsing the cup.
And whilst you can put on a menstrual cup with an IUD, there’s a probability it might get caught on the IUD’s string, inflicting the system to dislodge. Discuss to your medical supplier in the event you plan on carrying each—they might reduce the IUD’s string brief to keep away from issues, in line with Nicole Alicia, MD, an OB/GYN and an envoy for The Hiya Cup.
One huge realization for me was how a lot of my nerves surrounding menstrual cups had been simply based mostly on a societal stress to maintain durations a secret. The dreaded leak felt like a nightmare—I’m speaking flashbacks to center college fears of a stain in your denims. However durations are part of life. The cup, I discovered, really helped me normalize one thing that’s been in my life for 20 years. I hadn’t anticipated this methodology of interval administration to be so empowering.
After three months, a bit psychological work, and a brand new sense of interval empowerment, I can formally say I’m a cup convert.
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