Let’s talk periods. Every girl’s favourite time of the month. Ugh, EVERY month us girls have to endure 4-7 days of hell. It’s annoying, it’s inconvenient, always having a billion tampons in every handbag we own, white pants absolutely out of the question, and feeling sluggish. Constantly being stocked up on tampons/pads ain’t cheap, and we all own the unsexy ‘period pants’. But on top of this, if you think about the waste, it's quite shocking - each one is individually wrapped in plastic and ends up thrown away after a few hours. The average woman will use 10,400 tampons in her lifetime. On top of the tampon itself, that’s 10,400 plastic applicators and 10,400 plastic wrappers. Times that by the number of women who live/have lived on this planet since tampons were introduced, and well, that’s math I can’t even do.
So when someone told me about the cup, I was intrigued. How does this work? Does it leak? How much blood do we actually lose?! I also read that they are actually better/gentler on your body. The cups are made from silicone that’s chemical, latex and BPA free. Whereas tampons absorb your vaginal fluid along with the blood, which can disturb the delicate pH balance of your vagina; this hadn’t even crossed my mind.
I was super excited to give this a try, especially as I know a lot of women are reluctant to do so. So keep reading, and I’ll tell you how I got on...
First thing’s first: how do you know which one to buy? It’s not actually a ‘one size fits all’ type of product unfortunately so you should know what size is better for you before purchasing. I’m pretty comfortable with my body and even trips to the gynaecologist is no biggy for me. But if that’s not you, then this is a good opportunity to get up close and personal with your vagina, your cervix, and generally get to grips with what’s going on down there. After a good prod around, and after watching numerous videos on how to measure your cervix (this one was particularly useful), I concluded that I had a ‘normal’ cervix height. (I actually thought I would have a long cervix, considering I’m pretty tall but it doesn’t work like that ha...)
Step 2: Finding the right cup for you. After measuring my cervix, I then took a quick quiz which asks a series of questions including things like your age, if you have ever had a baby, how active you are etc and, once completed, it suggested which cup was the cup for me. I ended up with the Lunette Model 2, and swiftly ordered it on iHerb.
A few days later, and just in time for ’shark week’ as someone called it the other day (lol), my cup arrived! On first glance, it was much bigger than I was expecting, which freaked me out a bit if I’m being completely honest. But it was pretty flexible, and with the right fold you could get it up there.
It was a little scary at first but so was trying your first tampon, right? Thankfully, though, it was very easy. Fold it up, insert, and make sure it opens fully once inside; I found Lunette’s guide to inserting really useful here. You should be able to tell when its unfolded and it feels secure. I pottered around my flat for a while, and it was totally comfortable. Given it was my first time, the idea of potential leakage was just too much for me, so I used a pad as well for a double layer of security.
A few hours later…
Toilet check: I was pretty nervous and unsure what to expect, but of course it was absolutely fine. Happy days! Everything where it should be, doing what it should be.
Later that evening…
Removing the cup: for sure the scariest bit as I read it can be messy, but I was at home so felt pretty chill about it. Just break the seal with your finger, then pull it down. The cup was less than half full - I thought it would be so much fuller - this was 12 hours worth of blood! Pads and tampons make it look so much worse ladies.
Regarding mess: honestly very minimal, nothing worth reporting.
As this product is to be reused over and over again, it’s crucial to keep them clean, so I bought the cleanser and wipes for on the go. Once washed, you can re-insert and that's it for the night. I continued using for the next few days. The most surprising is on the second to last day. When I looked at the cup, there was barely anything in there - as in, 5mm! Normally I would use at least 3 or 4 tampons/pads on my final day, how can all this waste be for such a small amount of blood? My mind is blown.
Why, WHY, do only a fraction of women use these? The menstrual cup has been around for years, but still are not yet mainstream. Do Lunette and other brands simply need to up their marketing game? Or is it just that more women need to be educated about the benefits and ease of them? Maybe more women use them than we think? I think one of the biggest problems is that we don’t talk about it openly enough and that not enough women see menstrual cups as a serious alternative that will actually make their lives easier. With cups ranging from $35-55 and lasting several years, this is a solution that is better for your body, the environment and your purse. I can’t rave about this enough, but I’m hopeful that, soon, women will stop using disposable period items altogether and this will become the norm.
Now go try one! And don’t pretend like you’re not excited to measure your cervix...