It's taken me a while to get to the point where i've been ready to try out a menstrual cup. I swapped to reusable menstrual pads over a year ago and have found them simple to use and get used to, but the cup was a little scary for me so I wanted to wait until I was well and truly in the headspace to trial it.
And that time came about 3 months ago. The first part was figuring out which size would be best for me. Size 2 of the Lunette seemed appropriate as my period can be quite heavy, i'm over the age of 30, i'm pretty sure I have a high cervix, and I don't play sport. I have had two children but as both were via caesarean, I have the choice of either cup size.
I'm not going to lie, I was really excited to try the cup. So by the time my period came around, my cup had been washed and boiled and was ready to use, yikes!
I folded the cup in half lengthways (the C fold) and attempted to put it in - "holy moly this thing is bigger than I thought it was!" (That's the cup i'm talking about, not my bits, no wizard's sleeve here. I really wish I could use emoji's to help this story...).
No luck that way.
My confidence was already starting to decline at this stage. I thought surely there's other ways to fold this thing, so I googled 'ways to fold a menstrual cup', the triangle fold seemed the easiest to try (how the hell do people get it in with the shell fold?!) so I gave it a go. Much easier to get in, the tricky part was getting it in far enough without feeling like I needed to put my whole hand up there (which I wouldn't even nearly be able to do thank you very much!) as well as trying to get it up far enough before it suctioned! (Can you imagine what sort of unpleasant position i'm in right now? Luckily no one walked into the bathroom, my kids would have been scarred).
It was in but just didn't feel right, I then had to work out how the hell I was going to get it out now that it had suctioned as it advises in the instructions to not yank it by the stem!
Bloody hell, I didn't realise i'd need a degree to fricken operate this thing!
I worked out I could kind of hook my nail in the ridges at the bottom of the cup while squeezing it slightly and pulling down....and then yanking (gently) on the stem once it came further down, SUCCESS!! But screw this, let's try again tomorrow, I am seriously sweating.
Ready and rearing to give the cup a go again and show it who was boss, I was able to get it as far as I could on the first go, yay!
But hang on a minute, what the hell is that scratchy thing? Oh god I can feel the rigid bits of the stem hanging out slightly from my...you know what.
Maybe i'll get used to it and won't be able to feel it after a bit? I mean, the worst that can happen is that I would need to take it out. I put on a reusable pad as I had heard that leakage is common at the start when you're still trying to get used to fitting it, and off I went to work.
After a few hours, I couldn't really feel the stem. I went to the toilet to see what had happened...
I COULDN'T FEEL THE CUP AT ALL!!
It had transported it's way higher and I now couldn't reach it! Panic!! I couldn't do anything but leave it in until I got home from work. I jumped straight into the shower and squatted as low as I could and went digging (sorry, WAYYY too much info, but doesn't it make you feel a little more comfortable as to what you can do if you get into this situation?). Man, she were high! But I was eventually able to get a grip on it, reduce the suction, and pull it out, fewf!! And that was it for that period, I felt like i'd given it enough of a crack for my first go and would try again next period.
DAY 1 OF SECOND PERIOD
I decided to put the cup in whilst in the shower this time around.
1. I'd heard it was easier
2. It was a pretty heavy day
I was pleasantly surprised to find I was able to get it into a relatively good position and couldn't feel the stem. I knew that at least even if it wasn't high enough, that it would work it's way up higher during the day anyway. I put a pad on and out the door I went. I had to change the pad a couple of times during the day which made me curious to see how much the cup would have actually collected because at this stage I was skepitcal it had caught anything! When I got home from work the cup had been in for about 9 hours. I jumped in the shower and very carefully removed the cup.
HOLY CRAP! It was 3/4 of the way filled! Boo yeh! You don't even understand how damned proud of myself I was!! Victory! I decided to give myself a break and not put it in again until the morning.
DAY 2 OF SECOND PERIOD
After my epic win the day before, I felt like a pro, I got this shit now.
I ain't got this shit....I struggled to get it in and then struggled to get it in far enough. I thought i'd leave it in and just see how I went but could feel the stem so I took it out before I went to work and accepted defeat.
You win this time cup but next time you will be putty in my hands!
It's nearly that time of the month again and i'm looking forward to trying a few things out with the cup to see if they make a difference, ie. fold the cup inside out so I don't have to worry about the stem/seeing if that helps with insertion, and cutting the stem slightly to see if that helps on the days I just don't feel like I can get it far enough.
What i've learnt...
- You really have to practice patience with yourself, this is going to be a skill that you may be learning for the next few months if not 12 months. Be ok with potentially not getting it right from the very start.
- After trying it, you may decide that this just isn't an option for you. If so, no need to fret. There are several other options that are kinder on the environment: period underwear, reusable pads, organic cotton pads and tampons.
- Read about other people's experiences with using it or ask people you know whether they use one. I really found this helped me relax with it and to realise that some people are able to get it right really quickly and for others it takes longer. Our body's are all different so we can't just expect to all pick it up at the drop of a hat. It also helped me get tips with what other users found helpful or unhelpful and how these may work for me.
- Many women can use the different sized cups interchangeably so if you're unsure which size to get, go by your flow, you can always get the other size as well if you feel you need it when say you're period is heavier, or lighter. They are also really easy to sterilise so you may even have a friend or family member that might be happy to have your cup if it truly isn't the right size or you're just not into it.
- Use the shower when you can, you then don't have to worry about mess and it is much easier to put the cup in/get it out.
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