Health/Beauty

My Menstrual Cup Tips and Experience

menstrual-cup; noun; “A receptacle worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid”.

If you would have asked me what a menstrual cup was 3 months ago, I would have had no clue and went to straight to google and would’ve gotten the definition above.  So let me introduce to you the right way, the menstrual cup.

What exactly is a menstrual cup…?

  • It is a feminine hygiene product made of medical grade silicone
  • It is worn inside the vagina during your period and literally catches the menstrual fluid

What are the benefits to this menstrual cup you speak of?

  • You only have to change it every 10-12 hours
  • No risk of toxic shock syndrome
  • No pads or tampons
  • It can last 5-10 years (so the upfront cost of $24 is pricey, but overall since you wouldn’t need to buy pads/tampons you end up saving close to $1,000 in 10 years!)
  • It reduces landfill waste (the average woman uses 300-420 tampons/pads per year)
  • Tampons and pads contain surfactants, dioxin (a by-product of the bleaching process in tampons) and other chemicals that can increase the risk for cancer and infection (stuff you don’t want near or inside your body)
  • Your period will smell less bad! Really – blood doesn’t smell until it reaches the outside of the body and mixes with oxygen.
  • It won’t dry out your vagina like tampons do (because of their synthetic fiber rayon)

How does it work?

  • You fold the menstrual cup into whichever fold works best for you (see below for more details)
  • Insert the cup.  I found squatting was the easiest way for me to insert the cup
  • After you insert, you will here it “pop” open.  I knew it was in far enough by making sure that the tip of the cup wasn’t sticking out
  • You can rotate the cup to make sure it sealed correctly
  • Wear the cup and be happy that you only have to change this cup 1-2x/day
  • Remove the cup (see my details for tips on this below)
  • To clean the cup:
    • After you remove the cup, you can empty the contents into the toilet (I find it’s easiest while you shower).  You then wash it with water and mild soap (if using a public bathroom, bring a water bottle or just wipe it out with toilet paper).  Then you re-insert and you’re good to go!
    • After my cycle ends, I boil my cup in a pot for 5 minutes to disinfect it.  Just make sure to not let the cup sit against the bottom of the pan to avoid burning.  It is medical grade silicone so it should not melt.

I heard about this “thing” from one of my Facebook friends who was raving about this cup.  I don’t know about you, but those benefits outweighed the fear of this unknown product for me.  So after some research I went onto Amazon, took a leap of faith, and ordered that sucker for $24.

M Y   E X P E R I E N C E

As I counted down the days until I could use my LenaCup, I realized I was more excited to get my period than I’ve ever been in my entire life (I never thought I would say that).  This thing was freaking cool and all I had to do was sit and wait for mother nature to bring me my monthly gift.  Not to mention the packaging from Lena was cute and well packaged.  It comes with a nice storage bag hand sewn.

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The cup itself was intimidating at first – I asked myself how something like that comfortably fits and stays in place. However, there are many different folding techniques to help with easier insertion.  Everyone has their preferences, but the “U” fold is what I found works best for me and is the fold I have pictured below .  There are two different sizes you can buy – the small which is what I bought (which holds 25ml) and the large (which holds 30ml).  They usually recommend the large if you have a heavier flow or for women who have given birth.  The cup is soft and flexible, but sturdy enough that when it pops open it stays in place and doesn’t collapse.

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I’m not going to lie, this cup has a learning curve.  The first time I tried to insert the cup, it took me a good 10 minutes before I got flustered and walked away.  I was so upset – all this hype and I really wanted it to work!  So when I got home from school, I gave it another try.  After another 10 minutes – I GOT IT! I was so excited – it was such a liberating feeling.  

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Then as the day went on, I started to get anxiety about this cup suctioned inside of me.  How was I going to get this out?  Will it be stuck forever?  Needless to say, I started to panic so I went to the bathroom to try and take it out.  After about 15 minutes of trying, I started to panic even more and went straight to google self help tutorials.  And what did I stumble upon?  This hilarious but yet terrifyingly true article by BuzzFeed that described every emotion I was feeling {seriously, a must read article}.

I decided to take a break and tell myself it was all going to be okay – it can’t stay in there forever.  Until I found some articles on other blogs about women who ended up in the ER because the cup suctioned to their cervix…  You know how sometimes you google your symptoms for minuscule things and you come up with all of these terrible different things that could be wrong and the more you research the more anxiety you get? Yeah, that was kind of like that.  

So trying to calm myself, I started giving myself pep talks.  You can do this Marisa. I went into the shower (because I had no idea what kind of a mess I was going to make) and literally birthed that menstrual cup out for a good 20 minutes.  I felt as though I had just given life to this cup and I literally jumped with joy that this cup was no longer suctioned inside of me. (PS – It didn’t make a mess and it was barely full to my surprise).

Now I know what you must be thinking, why would you ever want to try this after hearing how difficult it was?  I honestly will say that after that experience, I wanted to try it again – I wanted to literally master the art of this menstrual cup.  I loved the idea of it being healthier, more convenient (once you get the hang of it), and more eco-friendly.  The product itself was great, it was me who needed to learn.  So I gave it another go, and with each time I used it, I got more and more better at insertion and removal. 

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Here’s a fun BuzzFeed article that perfectly describes my first experience.

This menstrual cup has changed my life.  Tampons were never comfortable for me – there were always dry and irritating.  Pads always felt gross and unhygienic (not to mention smelly).  However, this cup was so comfortable I almost forgot it was in.  I had no leaks (which can also be a learning curve for some women) and it made me learn a lot more about my body and my period. Like the fact that you actually only bleed about 1 – 1.4 ounces (30-40 ml) per cycle (FYI – the cup can hold 25ml of volume so don’t fear it leaking too much).

A B O U T  T H E  C O M P A N Y

The company Lena has been such a great company to buy from.  They sent me a personal email after my purchase asking how my experience went and if I had any questions.  I emailed them back saying how I loved it but the removal was what I struggled with.  Within 10 minutes, I had a personalized response with helpful tips for removal.  A+++ to Lena, I would 10/10 recommend! Their customer service has been wonderful and their product is great.  You can tell they really care about their customers by the way they handle their emails and the way they packaged their product.

M Y    T I P S

  • Don’t be afraid to try it, after you get the hang of it it is a lot more convenient and healthier for you (not to mention better for the environment too!)
  • DO NOT panic – I learned that is the worst thing to do.  It causes your muscles to tense up and actually makes insertion and removal more difficult.
  • Know that there are many different folds that can make insertion easier for you.  Here are just a few.
  • When you remove the cup, I found it really helps if you do “birth it” – bear down and don’t forget to breathe.
  • I also found it easier to remove when I was sitting down.
  • As the cup moves down lower closer to removal, pinch the bottom of the cup the best you can to break the seal.
    • Do not pull down with the stem until you have broken the seal – this causes a lot of pain otherwise because you are just pulling down with a strong suction.  Trust me on this one.  You can however use it to help you grip it as you’re bearing down.
    • IMPORTANT (this is where I messed up):  As you’re removing it don’t forget to fold the cup again!! I removed it without doing so and it was very painful.  Try to fold it the best you can to make it smaller as it exits you.
  • If you get flustered, don’t give up!  Give it another try, it just takes practice.  
  • Check out Lena’s website for more info, tutorials, and to learn more about their company. 

Have you ever heard of a menstrual cup?  Have you ever tried one?  What do you think of them now if this is your first time hearing about it?  

I would love to hear your opinions, advice, etc. šŸ™‚ 

This is something that I never knew was an option and I wish more women knew about.  The benefits are crazy good and the only con I can think of is just the fear of trying one!

PS – I was not in any way paid to endorse this company or product, I was just wanted to give my real and honest tips and experience with this product.

Sources:  x

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