A couple years ago I ordered a free (minus shipping and handling) set of two menstrual cups (different sizes) from rebelkate.com. I had been hearing about menstrual cups for a while by then and was interested in trying them, considering the touted benefits. Namely, they can be used up to twelve hours (and I have even used them closer to 24 hours at the end of my cycle, when my period is light), they eliminate the risk of TSS, and they are reusable (so better for both the environment and the wallet). Many women also claim they ease cramps. For many months after first trying them, I found it took a lot of time and effort to insert them correctly (they need to sit right up against the cervix to guard against leaks) and also to take them out (a tight seal keeps leaks from happening but also can make it difficult to pull the cup out). At this point, after lots of practice, I have far fewer issues and feel I can offer some points of advice on the topic.
I find it is convenient to empty them in the morning in the shower because there is no mess and the blood simply washes down the drain. When inserting, there are many different folds you can try, and there are many different diagrams of these folds available on the internet. I have found the C-fold or punch-down fold works for me. After inserting, run your finger around the cup to ensure it popped completely open. If not, take it out and try again. I have had the experience of feeling a pinching feeling sometime after having inserted it and realizing I hadn’t ensured my cup popped open completely. While you’re still getting used to using your cup, you can wear a pad or panty liner for extra protection. Taking out the cup requires pinching it slightly at the base so that the seal breaks.
Adept use of this cup took me some time. There were points I wondered if it weren’t for me and I should just give up. However, I’m glad I stuck with it, as it turns out to have been well worth it. I hope this post helps someone out there who might be struggling with theirs or who is on the fence about trying one. Do you currently use a menstrual cup? What have been your experiences with it? For those who haven’t, what are your questions or concerns?
In the past few years, I’ve become more interested in sustainable, less-wasteful living. Not that many decades ago, before the proliferation of easily-attainable, inexpensive, disposable options, Americans were used to living sustainably. It was the only option. However, today many (including myself) rely on paper towels, disposable feminine hygiene products, plastic bags, paper plates, plastic silverware, plastic water bottles, and/or disposable razors, etc. These things are harmful to the planet, costly, and must be bought regularly. Thankfully, there are “greener” options that will save you money, time, and guilt. Some of these I’ve already incorporated into my life and some I’ve yet to try.
Microfiber cleaning cloths and cloth napkins can be substituted for paper towels and paper face napkins. Cloth hankerchiefs can be substituted for facial tissue. Reusable cloth bags can be substituted for plastic grocery bags. An electric razor, safety razor, or using the tip for disposable razor blades I gave in my blog post entitled “Tried & True Life Tips I’ve Picked Up” can replace constantly buying new blades. A menstrual cup (I’ll be doing a blog post about my experience having used one for two years now) and reusable cloth pads can replace disposable pads and tampons. These are just a few of the many replacements I have found. Many, many more can be found through a Google search, which, if you’re like me, you didn’t even know exist (Examples: reusable beeswax wraps and fabric bowl covers for food storage!). Even if you’re not all about hugging trees, saving money by replacing disposable items with non-disposable items and having a way-shorter shopping list each week are pretty nice perks by themselves! I’m also interested in starting my own compost pile and possibly starting to make my own hygiene and cleaning products. There are a lot of areas in which I could improve to live a more sustainable life. There are other ways to be gentler to the planet, such as buying secondhand clothes and local food. I hope to write more on these topics in the future as I incorporate more of them into my life and get more proficient living responsibly and simply, and I hope you’ll challenge yourself right along with me.