Reusable menstrual options have been gaining in popularity for the past several years. After having a baby and falling in love with her fluffy cloth diapers, I began exploring reusable options for myself like cloth pads and menstrual cups, and I’m so glad I did! Six years ago I switched to a menstrual cup (a size 2 DivaCup if you were wondering). Reducing waste was part of making a better world for my kids, and not wasting money on disposable pads and tampons meant more money for paying bills and buying those cute, squishy diapers.
If you’re curious about using a cup, here’s what I learned when I made the switch.
Not gonna lie, there’s a steeper learning curve when it comes to cups than there is to tampons or pads. I soon learned to stop and take a break if I needed more than a couple of tries. Tense muscles are a bad idea when it comes to learning how to insert a cup! Wearing a cloth panty liner the first couple of cycles helped me feel more confident until I was sure I had it right.
I learned that the easiest insertion folds for me are the U-fold (also known as C-fold) and the punch down fold. I also learned that rinsing my cup in warm water first helps it go in easier.
When I switched to a cup, I learned just how much I actually bleed every month. Absorbent products like pads or tampons are designed to pull all the blood inside so you end up with very little idea how much you’re bleeding. Hint: it’s probably less than you think.
I learned to be more comfortable with my own body, and I learned where my cervix is. Yes, using a cup means you will put your fingers inside your vagina. Chill out, it’s your own body and it’s not gross. I was a little squeamish the first few times, but after pushing a baby out, stuff like that just doesn’t seem like a big deal any more. Besides, since the blood is caught and collected high up in your vagina near your cervix, you get very little on your fingers anyway.
Having said that, I also learned the hard way not to “pop” the cup out or squeeze too hard when removing the cup. Whoops!
I learned that cups are surprisingly more comfortable than tampons. Thinking about inserting a cup up there may seem intimidating at first, but once it’s placed properly you really can’t feel it anymore. And since cups don’t absorb natural vaginal secretions the way tampons do, I stopped feeling dry and uncomfortable during that time of the month.
I also learned that cups are safer than tampons since they don’t cause microtears from dryness and they don’t leave behind tiny fibers that could potentially breed the dangerous bacteria that cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.
I learned that anything I can do with a tampon, I can do with a cup. In case you were wondering, I’ve gone swimming, horseback riding (but it wasn’t in a white dress galloping down a beach!), zip lining, and camping. I learned how nice it is never to worry about running out of products mid-period.
Finally, I learned that I should have made the switch a long time ago!
All the beautiful images here were taken by Jeanette from The Green Vagina: a place to find eco-friendly vagina living, reusable menstrual products, toxin-free lady care and female health. Curious about reusable menstrual pads? Your first menstrual cup? Strengthening your pelvic floor pre or post baby? Toxin-free vagina care? Visit The Green Vagina!
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