It was recently my birthday...
I know. I know. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, Brad.
For the evening of my birthday, I celebrated with the women I am closest to in life and, true to our sisterhood, we were free to discuss everything openly.
We are lucky like that.
It wasn't long, probably around a bottle of champagne, until menstrual cups came up in conversation. Yes, menstrual cups.
A few sisters knew what a menstrual cup was but hadn't tried them, a couple were like, "What the f**k is a mentrual cup?!" and then there was me... on day five of menstrual cupping for the first time ever.
So with this topic at various stages of understanding, the discussion opened up and flowed (yes *shudder* pun intended) into deeper, more specific levels of talk.
What does it look like? How do you put it in? How do you take it out? Is it safe? How gross is it? What is its usage life? What do you mean you can wear it overnight and not flood? Can my daughter wear one? Do they come in different sizes? Is it comfortable? This question always comes after seeing the picture of a menstrual cup.
Well, for those of you who also want to know these answers in a very simple, unbiased way, then read on. I will do my best to answer them as a beginner user. I also want to let you know that I have not been asked to review this and I am in no way affiliated with the company of my menstrual cup.
I just realised at my birthday dinner that there are women who are unable to discuss these types of things with the other women in their life. Which is fine, I'm not judging, but if you wanted to know from a real person using them then here are the answers...
What does it look like? Well, it looks as it sounds... Just like a cup, except it has no base to stand up and instead a tab. Like a champagne glass without its base -- which would normally be messy but not in this case.
How do you put it in? It's made of a silicone material so it is bendable... so don't freak out about the above picture. The particular brand and model (Model 2) that I bought is sturdier than the other option called, originally, Model 1, which is for virgins (which I am definitely not). To place it inside, you just need to fold it twice and insert. It really is that simple. You might need to find the most comfortable way to do this but it won't take you long. Promise.
How do you take it out? At the bottom of the cup is a tab that acts like the string except it doesn't hang out. You bear down like you would in childbirth -- or just doing a big poo -- and you gently pull on the tab. I found if you move it side to side and pinch the bottom of the cup once you reach it then it releases the suction and voila -- Bob's not your Uncle but Flo is your Aunt.
Is it safe? Yes, they say. So far I haven't lost it 'up there' in neverland and I have always found it easy enough to remove -- don't Google horror stories before you've given it a crack.
How gross is it? It is a little bit gross and you do have to be prepared as to when and where you are removing it -- purely for hygienic reasons. It's not like you can be in a public toilet cubicle, pull it out and go rinse it in the sink and then go back to the cubicle and refit it.
You can buy disinfectant wipes to do it while on the go, but I would avoid it initially until you are a pro. My advice is to always be prepared before you remove -- especially for us heavy flow-ers. Toilet paper, flushable wipes, positioning. You'll get what I mean when you do it.
What's the usage life? Well, that depends who you ask and how you care for it -- but considering that thing is wedged up your private bits for some time every month I would expect you would care for it pretty proper. Some websites say they should be replaced every year, while others say up to 10 years. I can't say based on my own knowledge but I will just see how it's faring on my 38th birthday.
What do you mean you can wear it overnight and not flood? Seriously! I am pretty heavy but the beauty of it is that if inserted properly it creates a seal and allows you flow naturally. As it 'catches' rather than absorbs, you don't get leakage. I haven't had an overflow on my first week but I've been pretty vigilant about checking and emptying. I have, however, been able to leave it in overnight without a flood in the morning. Great news.
Can my teenage daughter wear one? Yes. There is a Model 1 for our newbies and one would assume virgins -- they're not married right? Just like learning how to insert tampons, the menstrual cup is a learning curve, but with extra considerations such as cleanliness. In saying that, my teen went out and bought herself one as soon as she heard I was trialling one. I'll get her feedback.
Do they come in different sizes? Yes, as mentioned the particular brand I bought came in two sizes -- Model 1 and Model 2. Model 1 is a softer silicone and is smaller, perfect for those who haven't had sexual intercourse or have light flows. Model 2 is better suited to heavier flows, those sexually active or that have had children -- nicer way of saying you have a bigger twat, you know.
Is it comfortable? Yes. By day five of my cycle I had it totally sussed and then on day seven (yes, I bleed for seven to eight days every 28 days) I didn't even know it was there -- actually someone might need to remind me each month... The first few days I wasn't sure about it being 100 percent comfortable down there, but when I mastered it it definitely was.
So there you have it.
Would I recommend it? Yes absolutely!
Will I go back to tampons? No way!
I paid $59.95 for mine which sounds expensive, but considering I spend about $240 on pads and tampons over a year, if this thing works for a year I am already winning.