I was thrilled to hear that menstrual cups are gaining in popularity, with several large companies getting on board and bringing their own version of the menstrual cup to the marketplace. Not only are menstrual cups environmentally friendly, but they you a ton of money and are super convenient as well.
You may be doubtful, as I was when I first heard of them, but give them a try and you may be pleasantly surprised, just as I was when the folks at EverCup sent me over a few samples to try out. Before we move on to my review, you may be wondering exactly what a menstrual cup is and how to actually use one…
So, let me explain…and I hope you’re not too squeamish 😉 A menstrual cup is a soft, reusable silicone cup that is placed inside the vagina during a woman’s period to collect menstrual fluids. These cups, which are shaped like upside down bells, need to be removed in between uses, emptied into the toilet, and washed before re-use.
You can probably already figure out what some of the challenges might be. The biggest ones for me were all related to the initial learning curve. Specifically, figuring out what size of cup to buy, how to insert and remove the cup without spillage, and how to empty and clean the cup while in a public washroom.
The good news is that all three of these quickly become non-issues as I became more comfortable using the cup! There is no way I would trade in my menstrual cup and agree to go back to tampons ever again. To give you a good idea of some of the initial challenges I faced when first using the cup, I’ve broken down my initial experience using the cup below.
Sizing: Luckily the good folks at EverCup were kind enough to send me over samples in varying sizes so I could trial and error my way to the perfect size. I found that having two cups works best for me; that way I can switch them up depending on which phase of my cycle I’m in. What’s great is that as menstrual cups become more mainstream, some companies are starting to offer two-pack of cups, one of each size, for a discounted cost, kind of like a multi-pack of tampons!
Insertion and Removal: Ok, this one was a bit tricky at first. I admit it took me a few cycles to fully master my technique and figure out that using two different sizes at varying times during my cycle was the best option for me. If you decide to make the switch like I did, to make your experience easier for you, I have included the best tips I learned along the way!
- The two P’s are critical! During your first few attempts at insertion, give yourself plenty of time to PRACTICE and be PATIENT with yourself.
- Try folding the cup in different ways to figure out what works best for you, then push it up as far as it will go. One leg up on the toilet or a low squat were the easiest options for me.
- Inserting and removing it in the shower made clean-up a non-issue, and is a great option until your skill improves.
- Make sure to get a proper seal by inserting the cup a bit further than you need to, making sure it opens fully, and then pulling it back down a bit until you feel a ‘suction’. Some people also twist it to get a better seal.
- Make sure to test the seal by ‘bearing down’ or pulling downwards on the cup a bit. If it moves it will leak.
- To remove it, give it a gently squeeze and a slight twist or place your finger around the rim to break the seal. Most importantly, don’t panic if you can’t get it out at first.
- If it hurts or is uncomfortable, it either isn’t inserted properly or you may be using the wrong size. Another trick some people find helpful is to cut off the stem a bit to increase comfort.
- Beware that any kind of significant pressure (think sneezing, pooping, jumping) could cause it to move, so to be prudent, you may want to re-insert it.
Emptying and cleaning: In the end, this was a total non-issue for me and I am 100% converted! I love that you can wear the cup for up to 12 hours. There is rarely ever a need to have to empty or clean your cup in a public washroom (plus, you can always carry a bottle of water with you in case of an emergency). I love the convenience of going about your day without worrying about needing to change pads or tampons or finding a clean, private toilet!
I also like the money savings and sustainability of using a menstrual instead of traditional pads and tampons. Did you know that one EverCup can replace 10 years worth of pads and tampons, saving you tons of money and preventing many kilograms of waste from accumulating in our landfill.
Furthermore, menstrual cups are made out of medical-grade silicone, which is much safer for your body than being exposed to pads and tampons made with chemicals and bleach. And finally, what I found really cool was an article I came across in my research about a new trend of woman using menstrual cups to get pregnant faster – and evidence is starting to gather that it might just be working. Who would have thought?!?
Have you tried menstrual cups before? What did you think of them?