Health · Menstrual Cycle · Women's Health

Menstrual Cups

At the beginning of 2016 I found out about menstrual cups. I did quite a lot of research; mainly using the lovely Bree’s Precious Stars Pads YouTube channel but also reading articles and watching other YouTube reviews.

After using one here are my reasons why they are great:

  • Environment: A menstrual cup can last up to 10 years; one product for years is a big difference to several each month. That’s a lot of waste! Not only is it less waste for the environment to handle but it’s less waste for you too, no more horrible smelling toilet and bathroom bins.
  • Financial: Buying that one product that can last for years with a cost between about £10 for a cheaper one and £30 for a more expensive brand could save you a lot of money. Possibly working out at a lot less than a few hundred pounds in a lifetime (would be more if you use disposable pads too, maybe an extra £6/year for pantyliners). Research suggest that currently a woman spends as much as £18000 on her period in her lifetime. I think it’s safe to assume that the average woman is not using a menstrual cup!
  • Time: You can go up to 12 hours between changes.
  • Volume: Most cups hold a lot more liquid than tampons and pads.
  • Risk: Lower risk of TSS.
  • No smell: This is a big one for me. I didn’t realise how much I hated the smell.
  • Quality of period lifeSo it’s only for a few minutes a day that my day is different to any other.”  Read below for further details but it’s made my period so much easier. 

I chose the Si-Bell cup (bought for £14)  and for the first time I was excited for my period, like many women buying a menstrual cup after using tampons and pads since the start of puberty. It sounds crazy I know, but after learning about all the benefits (particularly those relating to making period life easier) I couldn’t wait.

si-bell-economic
The Si-Bell cup (image from feminewear.co.uk)

Fully prepared thanks to Bree (Inserting and removing a menstrual cup), when my period came I knew what to do. I folded the cup, applied lube and pushed it in. It was a bit fiddly at first and I wasn’t sure whether the seal had formed but it was in! The next few times that I removed it and inserted it it was a little fiddly still but one period later and it’s not fiddly any more and I don’t use lube.

 

I have only had one leakage problem but this was due to a particularly heavy flow (caused by something else). I was wearing a cloth pad so all was fine. Since then I went to the doctor about flooding so such a heavy flow shouldn’t happen again for me.

The seal is great and means that anywhere below the rim of the cup is blood free. I rarely have anything mark my pantyliners and often just go without a pantyliner. When I do get a mark it’s usually a barely noticeable pink dot which probably escaped during replacement of the cup.

I know that not all women have such success with menstrual cups but many do once they find the right one. Bree’s reviews and advice helped me in making my selection. For example, in her video How to choose your first menstrual cup she describes how to determine cervix height which should influence your decision, particularly if you have a very low cervix as this could greatly affect your choice in menstrual cup.In the video she also discusses how to decide on the firmness of the cup and makes recommendations. Another especially useful videos of hers was the Menstrual Cup Comparison video. Bree has quite the collection and is very knowledgeable so I can’t think of anyone better suited to get advice from. She also does direct comparisons between her cups so that can help you choose when you get down to a choice of two or three.

I have found that the Si-Bell cup has changed how I feel about my period. Before I had to make sure that I had tampons with me and I hated the removal of the tampons, the smell, the string etc. I always wore big “period knickers” to fit the pads in and/or because I never quite trusted the tampon not to leak on my “nice” knickers. Now I can wear my best knickers (I’m a big fan of lingerie and love wearing a nice,pretty or sexy set) with or without a pantyliner. There is no smell, puffy pad or string to deal with when I go to the toilet. I only have to remove, tip, rinse and re-insert the cup once in the morning and once in the evening. So it’s only for a few minutes a day that my day is different to any other.

I do know that for some women the idea of being so hands-on with their vagina isn’t deal and the idea of dealing with a cup of blood isn’t pleasant but personally I find it more pleasant than a pad or tampon (I think it has a lot to with the smell). If you’re apprehensive because it seems scary have a look at the Inserting and removing a menstrual cup video where Bree demonstrates how easy it is.

So, in conclusion, if you have not already tried one I fully recommend doing some research and giving it a go! It’s been so good for me that I tell every woman that I know and tell them to tell every woman that they know.

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