Join me as I cross the period ocean for the first time with a menstrual cup instead of tampons.
One day I ran across the phrase “menstrual cup” and was like, “what the heck is that?” Through my research, I found out it’s an alternative to tampons. There are disposable and reusable options. Me being the green person I am thought, “Eh it’s worth a shot!” I have a period every 3 months (pills) & 1-2 days are worthy of a murder scene. I soak through super tamps in an hour, for real. So day 1 came.
Setting sail- The nervousness surrounding the first insertion was reminiscent of the first time I used a tampon in high school… except my husband was outside the door instead of my mom. I folded the cup and began to approach my lady parts, then, “SNAP!” It unfolded as I didn’t have a firm grip. I screamed a little scream. My husband said, “Are you okay?!” Me: “Yes, I’m fine. It just tried to bite me.” I proceeded to refold and try again. The experience was, I imagine, similar to stuffing a turkey… or a reverse birth (get in there!). Once in, I was good. It felt similar to a tampon so nothing weird. I slept with it in that night, no issues. One cool thing is that you can wear these things for up to 12 hours!!
Day 2 (smooth sailing)- I was getting the hang of it. I had a few small leaks, probably due to my inexperience (I hear there’s a learning curve). I was getting over the ew factor & the discomfort dissipated within 5 minutes of insertion. I even went to a family gathering. Cramps were a little rough that day though. That night I appreciated the fact that I felt more free to place my legs wherever I wanted, which is not the case with tampons.
Day 3 (stronger tides)- I went to pee that morning & noticed I was barely peeing and sat there forever. I reinserted the cup afterwards and still had this urge to pee. I thought, “Great! A UTI right when I was getting addicted to this thing!” It may as well have been the biggest decision of my life deciding what to do next. Should I wear a pad today? It’s my heaviest day!! Definitely not. I was so excited to test it out for this specific day! Ugh ok. So I wore a tampon, which lasted a whopping 3 hours. When I went to change it, I noticed the smell of blood & realized there had been no awful smells with the cup. I was going through withdrawal, noticing all the wonderful things I hadn’t even noticed while wearing it. So I sat there until my leg went numb dreading wearing another tampon. A moment of brilliance hit me like a bird flying into a sliding glass door. I grabbed my phone, which is real fun with your pants around your ankles while trying not to create a murder scene. I read stories of women getting UTIs and yeast infections from wearing cups, but then I ran across a lovely little life-saving video at http://putacupinit.com/peeing-with-a-menstrual-cup/
Ah! So the cup could simply be pressing on my bladder and/or urethra creating the symptoms of a UTI. Brilliant! So I gave the cup another go and simply pushed it back toward my rear instead of my bladder. Issue mostly alleviated! Since there was still a little pressure, I took their quiz that helps you choose a cup & it led me to the Super Jennie. I currently have a Lunette size 2. The Super Jennie ($30) apparently has softer sides that won’t press as hard, so I will be ordering that for my next period.
Day 4 (bright future)- This morning I woke up and had a small leak through the night, no where near what it would’ve been with a tampon on the worst night. The UTI symptoms are practically nonexistent. Today may once again have heavy flow or it may subside. My period is a fickle thing, but I feel something I don’t normally feel during this time: hope. Hope that my period won’t be this looming darkness that builds as I progress through my birth control pills each month. Hope that this cup relationship will only strengthen in love and appreciation, once I find the right fit for me.
Hurtful truth: Although new things can be scary, they can also be what you never knew you needed.