Menstrual Cups: Eco-friendly solution or periods worst nightmare?

Hello!! It’s been a while!

Far too long, in fact.

I thought I would come back to blogging after a long break at the start of April, and if I were to say that the reason I didn’t in the end was because I was too busy, I’d be lying. Honestly, I’ve just not had the motivation recently and it’s taken me a while to build back up to it.

So, as it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I’m just going to forget the long introductions and jump right back in!

Menstrual cups. They’re advertised as the life changing, eco-friendly alternative to traditional sanitary products such as disposable tampons and towels, they’re supposedly better for you as they don’t have bleaching chemicals in them and because they’re made of silicone they can’t leave fibres behind after use.

Contrary to what I’ve heard, menstrual cups CAN still cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, as this is caused by introduction of bacteria, not the physical sanitary product. However, by regularly cleaning your cup properly and keeping your hands clean, the risk is minimal.

The cup claims to have next to no leakage if inserted properly, is unnoticeable while using, doesn’t dry you out and can be used for longer periods of time than tampons.

So, I decided after a lot of thinking, that perhaps the cup was worth a go. All these claims made it seem like a good option, and honestly I’ve been caught out so many times by not keeping tampons in my handbag, having something that was reusable seemed like a great idea.

Menstrual cup

I ordered the Melyth Menstrual Cup on Amazon. While I know there are lots of known brands such as Mooncup and Divacup, I figured regardless of the name, if it’s got great reviews it’s ultimately a silicone cup! Plus this one came with two different sizes, and I wasn’t sure what would suit me, so a 2-4-1 deal was perfect.

If you do decide to go for a cup, suppliers advise that the smaller cup is suited to those under 30 who have not given birth, and the larger cup for those over 30 or have given birth. Ultimately, I didn’t think the size difference in the two was hugely significant, and you just empty it more regularly the heavier your flow is.

I opted to use the smaller cup first, and honestly I don’t think I’ll touch the larger cup.

When you first receive the cup, sterilise according to the instructions. I sterilised mine by pouring boiling water over it and leaving it for three minutes. After this, during use you can just wash in the sink with water or a specialised cleanser.

Always, always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before and after using the cup. This keeps everything as clean as possible, and reduces the risk of infection.

When inserting the cup, you fold it into a “C” shape, gently push into the vagina and the cup should pop open. It has tiny holes in the edges that help “suction” it in place. You can then twist and adjust the cup until it’s sitting comfortably – you’ll know when this is because you really can’t feel it’s there. I was standing, sitting, hopping and jumping around the bathroom making sure I couldn’t feel mine.

Menstrual cup

There are other ways to fold the cup to make it easier to insert, as the “C” fold means the widest part is at the top, and this can be uncomfortable. However, I found that folding it any other way meant it didn’t pop open correctly once it was in position, and after a few times using the “C” fold I got used to it and much prefer this way of insertion.

So once it’s in, you’re going to feel really weird. I think because you get so used to using tampons or pads, using something different makes you feel ultra conscious of the fact you’re trying something new and have no idea if it will work. I was convinced that the cup was going to somehow tip up and make a huge mess, but it can’t really move once it’s in, and you’d know if it was moving down! The only possible way it can leak is if it’s not seated properly or if it is too full, so by making sure it’s sat below your cervix and emptying regularly, you should have no problems.

For the first couple of days, I used disposable liners to just keep my mind at ease, and even then I was still going to the bathroom every half hour just to be sure. After a while though, I began to feel more confident that this cup was really going to stay put and do its job, and I’ve been wearing it for the last few days without even thinking about it really. I really can’t feel a thing, which if anything means there’s a small risk that I’ll forget it’s even there! (If you worry you’ll forget, I recommend setting reminders on your phone every 8 hours or so).

The only downside I would say the cup has had in my week of using it, is emptying it isn’t the nicest thing in the world. The first time I emptied it I made a complete mess, however after a few times I got the hang of removing it while it was still upright! You then tip the contents into the toilet and wipe the cup with loo roll or preferably rinse in the sink. You then fold, reinsert and off you go!

Menstrual cup

Getting the hang of removing it can be tricky too. Sometimes the suction is quite strong (more evidence it won’t just tip up!) so you might have to push a finger up the side to break the air lock – this is what the little holes are for. Then pinch the bottom of the cup or pull on the little tail of the cup and the whole thing should just gently slide out.

Much to my surprise, after a week of trying out the cup I am totally converted. It’s easy to use and the idea that it’s practically leak proof fills me with so much confidence I could almost wear the white shorts the women are always wearing in those Always adverts (almost – only insanely confident superwomen wear white on their period!)

I suppose that I’ve not really had to change it in a public toilet yet, and thankfully the toilets I have used have sinks, so I imagine that it might be less convenient when the sinks are outside the toilet stalls, but honestly I think that despite the downside of emptying it, it’s really a game changer and I highly recommend people try it out.

The other unexpected upside is I found my cramps to be less intense. I have really heavy, painful periods, but for some reason this made it less painful. I find sometimes putting pressure on my abdomen helps with the pain, so perhaps the cup puts some pressure on the inside? I’m not sure! However, I also found that I needed to pee a lot more often while wearing it, though I’m not sure if this is just because of how much I was drinking, but then again I don’t think I increased my intake of fluid, really.

Menstrual cup

So in short, I totally recommend that you try a menstrual cup. It’s cheaper, better for the environment, better for your health and honestly the peace of mind when it comes to leaks is priceless!

Have you tried a menstrual cup? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

As a side note, I’m looking at potentially starting a YouTube channel, and I was wondering if any of my blog followers would like to watch it! If so, let me know what kind of things you’d like me to talk about in my videos. While I could ramble about anything, I’d like my content to be of value to you all!


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