I first heard of menstrual cups through Laci Green’s Sex Plus Youtube channel. I did some further research and found that they were very popular among travellers for their packability and convenience. After reading plentiful reviews, I went ahead and bought one from Juju. But first, you may be thinking.. what is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a goblet-shaped device made from silicone that works like a tampon, but instead of absorbing the menstrual fluid, it collects it in the cup.The cup is inserted into the vagina and creates a kind of suction-seal, which prevents leakage by creating barrier. It holds twice as much as a tampon, so you don’t have to change it as regularly. When it is time to empty it (up to 12 hours after you inserted it), you simply pinch the base to break the seal, take it out, pour the contents into the toilet, give it a rinse with water or a wipe with toilet paper, and put it back in.
The fact that it collects rather than absorbs menstrual fluid means that it does not soak up natural moisture. This eliminates the unnecessary dryness caused by tampons, which isn’t fun when you’re putting them in/taking them out of your vagina all day. It’s much more environmentally friendly than tampons because when it gets full, you just empty it, give it a rinse and reuse it. You don’t fill up your bins (and landfill) with tampons. It’s also much cheaper in the long term. Although they cost around $50 at the outset, you won’t have to buy another menstrual product until it needs replacing (they can last over five years). The absence of a string means that they are also more discreet than tampons if you want to visit a nudist beach or wear a leotard (for example).
Menstrual cups are not just for environmentalists and hippies. I have found that it provides better protection against leakage. I don’t have to be constantly making sure I’m near a bathroom or counting the hours as to when it’s time to change. I don’t need to think about whether there will be sanitary disposal bins where I’m going. I don’t need to worry about restocking my purse every morning to ensure I don’t find myself tamponless. It’s simply less of a hassle.
However, I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are some downsides that I’ve found with the menstrual cup. Firstly, it takes time and practice to get the hang of insertion/removal. The first time I used it, I could not get it out no matter what I tried. I was freaking out. Menstrual cups do not sit as high in the vagina as tampons do, and I had made the mistake of putting it in too high. After calming myself down and regaining my patience I was able to have another go. I found that pulling on the stem was not helpful as it only made the suction seal stronger. The better method was giving it a bit of a wiggle until it was low enough to remove. All of this is to say that it takes a bit of time and practice to get used to using the menstrual cup. Please don’t embark upon experimenting with it the night of a big event. Practice at home first.
The second problem is that emptying the menstrual cup can be messier and less convenient than changing a tampon. As all females know, menstrual fluid is not always a smooth, watery liquid that will flow into a cup like wine from a bottle (maybe not the best analogy). Without going into too much detail, it can be tricky to ensure that the menstrual fluid goes where you want it to go. In the process of avoiding any undesirable spillage, it’s easy to get one’s hands a bit bloody, which can make it challenging to up one’s pants. This is generally a problem when you’re in a cubicle and have no private sink access. I’m hoping that emptying the cup is a skill that I will improve on over time and with some more practice.
So while the menstrual cup may not be as tidy as a tampon, I feel that only having to change it half as often, and not having to worry so much about leakage makes up for this. It’s definitely a useful product to have.