Ok, please excuse me for the slightly clickbaity title. I’ve actually been using a menstrual cup for around four months now, however, this was my first time using this specific cup, so I can kind of get away with it, right?
What are menstrual cups?
Menstrual cups are a reusable, silicone alternative to tampons that can last for up to ten years. All you have to do is fold them up, put them up your vagina and you’re (usually) good to go for 12 hours. To empty them, you simply tip the blood away, give them a good rinse, and put them back up again. They’re so much better for your body as they don’t soak up your vagina’s natural fluids as tampons do, and there’s virtually no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. They’re also much, much cheaper in the long run, so is the best way to say a massive f**k you to capitalism. On top of all the positives, they’re also zero waste so you won’t be contributing to the billions of pads and tampons that find their ways into our landfills every year.
How Do You Use Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual cups usually come in two sizes; a smaller one and a bigger one. The smaller size is usually made for those who haven’t given birth, and the bigger size is for those who have given birth. However, I have seen the bigger size being used for those who have heavier periods. In theory, they’re pretty simple. Firstly, you need to sterilise them for around 5 minutes in boiling water before you start your period. That’s very important, and also the easiest part. The difficulty comes in inserting it. I would recommend keeping your nails short, especially if you’re using the cup for the first time, cause you really have to get down and dirty down there. And having longer nails can make it more painful than it needs to me – I’m talking from experience here! Before I insert my cup, I like to run it under cold water. This acts a lubricant and also stiffens the silicone which makes the cup ‘pop open’ more easily. There are many different ways to fold your cup to insert it, but I personally found that the C fold works best for me (you can see this fold demonstrated in my IGTV video.) Once inserted, it’s a good idea to feel around the cup to check that that it’s completely open and there are no dents to make sure the cup has suctioned to your vagina. Then you’re good to go for 12 hours depending on how heavy your period is!
Taking the cup out is a lot easier than putting it on. To take it out, all you have to do is push until you can get a hold of the base of the cup. Then you just have to pinch it and take it out, tip the blood away, rinse the cup out with water, and put it back in! I know what you’re thinking; but what about public bathrooms!? And, well, because I can keep my cup in for so long I’ve never had to change it in a public bathroom before. However, you’re perfectly fine to just clean your cup with tissue paper until you’re in a place where you feel comfortable enough to wash it with water. Alternatively, you can bring a bottle of water in with you or you can buy menstrual cup wipes to clean it.
What Menstrual Cup do you use?
I previously used the Organicup, however this month I switched to Ruby Cup and I found that it personally worked a whole lot better for me.
What My Experience using the Ruby Cup was like.
The Ruby Cup was gifted to me by The Cup Effect when I became an ambassador for them. If you would like to try the Ruby Cup yourself, then you can use my discount code ‘bronte10’ at their shop The Cup Effect is great because, with every cup that is bought from them, they will donate two to those who can’t afford them!
As I mentioned previously, I have actually been using a Menstrual Cup for four months and used the Organicup before I started using the Ruby Cup. Therefore, I’m a little more used to the cup than someone who is trying the cup out for the first time. It is difficult to get the hang of and involves a lot of inserting and reinserting to get it right, but once you get it right, it becomes super easy!
The Ruby Cup is not as stiff as the Organicup, so for those who find that the cup causes some pressure and discomfort, I’d recommend going for a softer cup, such as the Ruby Cup. However, this does also mean that they can be more difficult to pop open, that’s why I recommend running them under cold water to stiffen them up a bit.
When I inserted the Ruby Cup for the first time, I was really suspicious about how easy it was to insert. It almost felt too good to be true because it was the first time I’d managed to get it in correctly the first time. It turns out that it was too good to be true because I ended up leaking, and I was out that day so I couldn’t really do much about it. It wasn’t the cup’s fault, it was mine for not checking properly. So a heads up, if you’re using a cup for the first time, whether it be for the first time completely or trying a different brand, maybe have a backup planned like period underwear or reusable pads!
Day two is the worst day for me when it comes to pain, and this particular day it was pretty awful. It’s also one of my heaviest days, so I took extra care when checking it was in correctly. It was because I didn’t leak once and I left it in for the full 12 hours. But I was still suspicious of how easy it was to insert, so I tried reinserting my Organicup and found myself struggling to put it in as easily as the Ruby Cup. So on this day, I found that softer cups work a lot better for me.
Day three of my period is also a heavy one, but as before there were no problems. I felt like I’d finally got the hang of this menstrual cup thing!
DAYS FOUR AND FIVE
On these days I’m very light because it’s when I start taking my Pill again. Before I started using the menstrual cup, I’d really hate these days because I wouldn’t be heavy enough to fill up a tampon by the time I had to take it out, which resulted in a very painful few seconds of when I had to take it out, and I didn’t like wearing pads so they weren’t an option for me. The menstrual cup is great for the lighter days because they’re so much safer for your body and you don’t risk getting TSS!
Overall, using the Ruby Cup was a very positive experience. It’s so much easier to use than my previous one (of course, there’s no shade to the Organicup, it just didn’t work for me personally!) So don’t be afraid to shop around a little bit for a different cup if one doesn’t work for you, all of our bodies are different! But once you find a cup that works for you, you will not regret it.