Remember when you first got your period, and a trusted adult handed over a pack of pads and explained how to use them? Or maybe your trusted adult introduced you to tampons. Well, these days we have an additional tool at our disposal: menstrual cups. These handy devices are being praised by period-having people who are done with the cost and waste of disposable pads and tampons. That said, using menstrual cups can result in some epic fails.
Personally, I’ve been debating about taking the plunge with a cup for some time now, and haven't been able to really jump into the deep end just yet. I’ve heard stories, both good and bad (but mostly good), about making the switch, and I'd be lying if I said those stories haven't made the decision difficult to make. That’s why I thought I would talk to some other moms who use menstrual cups, so I could get a firsthand account of the experience. When I’m going to try something new, I always prefer to do my research and make sure I know what I’m getting into.
While most of these stories are slightly horrifying, they’re also hilarious and not the sort of thing that would put me off using a cup. In fact, I’m more determined than ever to ask Santa for one this year (OK, I’ll probably just buy it myself for fear of my husband accidentally buying me a small funnel, or something equally ridiculous, instead). But in all seriousness, if you're like me and you're still trying to decide whether or not to make the switch, consider these women's experiences:
“I love my Moon Cup, but there's a definitely learning curve that leads to some terrible, messy moments when you're first starting out.
To understand my worst moment, you have to understand that using the cup requires folding it to a smaller size, inserting it, and then giving it a little tug to make it springs back to shape inside of you. Well, one time I guess it didn't spring back to shape when I'd initially thought it did... because it happened about half an hour later... as I was talking to my boss. It didn't hurt, but it felt like someone popped a tiny umbrella open in my vagina and I was not expecting it. My surprise must have registered on my face, because he asked if I was OK. I blamed it on a sudden headache and excused myself.”
“Blood all over the hand in a public restroom stall. Not my favorite.”
“True story: I am in the ladies' room at LaGuardia airport. I pull out the cup and empty it. And then, because it's wet and slippery, I fumble it and it springs out of my grasp and hits the floor. There is no soap at the sink, so I can't wash it and there's no way I'm putting it back in. The five-second rule does not apply to my vagina or airport restroom floors. So I wrap the cup in eleventy paper towels, shove it in my purse, and then have to stuff eleventy paper towels in my underwear on top of the pantyliner I'm wearing and hope it gets me through the four hour flight to Miami without me bleeding all over the airplane seat. Fortunately, it was a light flow day.”
“I dropped it in the sink in a not very clean public bathroom when I was rinsing it out, and had no choice but to re-insert it. Needless to say, I got a yeast infection! It didn’t put me off and I love my Moon Cup, but I try to remember to have a back up when I’m out.”
“All I'll say is that when those things get full, you had better be near a bathroom, or be prepared to waddle awkwardly with every ounce of Kegel power that you possess. They are pretty good at staying in, but it's also not too cool to walk around with one of them hanging out of your vagina, just saying.”
“OK so, a little history. I started my period at 17 and had maybe two cycles before I got pregnant. And I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding since, so I haven’t ever really had a period. So, my [fourth child] turned 1 a little after I got my 'first' period! I was super excited! So I got a cup and watched lots of YouTube videos on how to use it. I put it in and didn’t look back.
I am at the gym every day, and I felt confident enough to go wear it to the gym. Well, I love hanging upside down. It’s so good for the body! I didn’t think it through, though. Here I am, hanging upside down, and I start doing my ab workout. The cup is suctioned to the vaginal wall, because that’s how it catches all the blood, right? Well I can feel it stop suctioning, and I’m still upside down. I knew that I was screwed because I’ve been wearing it all day! I get down, and sure enough: all the blood that was in the cup is all over my pants. I had to walk through the whole gym with blood all over my butt (you could totally see it). Luckily, I had brought extra clothes and I was able to shower there, but oh my god, it was hilarious!”
“I love mine, I really do. But if you’re in a rush in the morning and don’t get a good suction, and then have a coughing fit walking your daughter to school, be prepared for it to shoot into your undies like a vaginal missile.”
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