What I Learned From Switching to Menstrual Cups | This West Coast Mommy
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What I Learned From Switching to Menstrual Cups

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!

DivaCup

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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11 Comments

  • I love my menstrual cup. Totally agree about the learning curve – definitely took a couple cycles to be totally confident – but I absolutely wish I’d switched sooner.

  • I wish I had tried the Diva cup years ago as now I’m only a few years from beginning menopause. Yes it is a learning curve but well worth it. I love that you can wear it for 12 consecutive hours. It took 3 cycles to be confident in using.

    • I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t like menstrual cups. I had a Diva cup for 3 years and wanted to love it but was so much happier with pads and tampons. I found it pushed on my bladder so it always felt like I had to pee, was so messy to take out if it was more than half full, would often last less than two hours before overflowing so I had to go to the bathroom constantly to take it out and check how full it was (my flow isn’t consistent at all), and when it overflows it’s a huge gush instead of a little dribble like tampons. And it would often shift upwards so it was really hard to reach to take out. I can see it being convenient for lighter flows if you can actually leave it in for 12 hours, but I still much prefer cloth pads so that I can easily see and feel when to change them, and are more convenient in public bathrooms.

  • If I look at the issues I have had with the Diva cup, they are minimal. I have had a full feeling at times using it but it does not last. I have a tipped uterus which I think made my learning curve a bit harder. I found the 7 fold works best for me. I also would not like changing it in a public washroom, so I am glad the 12 hours works for me. It also took me a little experimenting to find the easiest way of removal, but removal really hasn’t been much of an issue.

  • I’ve been using them for a few years, I must say, after having my 2nd child, it took a while to be able to use it successfully again. I always had trouble with the insertion and often found it was uncomfortable and had to remove and try again. A friend of mine recently told me to try doing it while standing, I was doubtful but tried it with one leg on the tub and it works great on the first time every time. So happy!

  • yes!! menstrual cups are the absolute best! I agree with everything you said and want to add how happy I am that I have my cup now that my period has returned after having my little guy. The first cycle was super light and I could get away with nothing or a little cloth pad, but this past one having the cup was amazing. I had several very heavy days and it was so nice to know the cup could handle it all and I could leave it in for long periods of time. Also now that a trip to the store is kind of a big deal (having a toddler) I second your statement about peace of mind of never running out of menstrual products.

  • I completely agree with everything you said! I love my cup and will never go back to tampons! I used to have to only wear tampons for one day at a time because they would be so uncomfortable and scratchy but I can wear my cup all day and night with NO problems!

  • I have tried the disposable cups before investing in a reusable menstrual cup and fell absolutely in love with them lolol! I had my son shortly after so I haven’t had the chance to try one yet (Aunt Flow is still on vacation). However, dare I say I am excited for when I get my period again so I can try a reusable menstrual cup!
    TMI ALERT….Any recommendations on brands? I have a low cervix and after having my son my vagina has actually gotten tighter which makes no sense! But i am now not sure whether to get the cups label for post children or not. We don’t have a large monthly budget so I am hoping to do enough research and buy the right one the first time. TIA!

  • I started using a Diva Cup about 6 months before I got pregnant with my first. Then I didn’t have a period for 20 months after she was born and I had to go through the learning curve all over again. And I still found the Diva harder to insert than I thought it should be. So I got a Lunette, which is a little different–I can’t remember whether the silicone is harder or softer, but it made all the difference for me. And then I trimmed off the little tab at the bottom, which I’m pretty sure is there for peace of mind more than anything, and now it’s perfect. (And then I got pregnant with my son and had over two years before my period returned, but there was no re-learning curve then.)

  • I can see how there would a lot of pluses with having a menstrual cup. I don’t like throwing away pads and it would be nice to know how much I am bleeding each month.