Aside from cramps and fatigue, the worst thing about my period is having to wear pads and tampons. Pads, no matter how thin, feel like diapers and get soggy, and tampons are rough (at least to me), drying, they can throw off your vaginal pH, carry the risk of toxic shock syndrome, and trace amounts of various toxic chemicals that may or may not be harmful. They’re also expensive.
On the other side of pads and tampons you have menstrual cups. Menstrual cups tend to be made with reusable silicone, and other polymeric-like materials (it differs by brand), which means less risk for toxic chemicals to leak into your body, no risk of toxic shock syndrome, you can wear them for longer stretches of time (most boast up to 12 hour wear, but that still depends on your flow), and many can be used repeatedly for multiple cycles (or until they finally wear out). The types of menstrual cups you get, and there are a lot of them out there, vary, but the general consensus is that they’re better for your body, and the Earth.
After reading my friend Sheena LaShay’s experience with the Instead Soft Cup, I decided to give it a go for the first time last year. For some silly reason, I assumed the entire process would be simple, but nope. That wasn’t the case.
My first round with the Soft Cup, and the three subsequent months of trying to make it happened were frustrating. The problem that I kept having was that the cup kept slipping out, and also shifting out of place, which would cause it to leak. So, basically, I still ended up wearing pads with my Soft Cup because I was afraid of shifting and leaking. Before you start questioning my insertion practices, do know that I’m familiar with my body and what the inside of my vagina feels like. I work with Yoni eggs, generally feel around up there often just to make sure nothing palpably weird is going on. Most important, I read the instructions thoroughly, and made several attempts to get the cup to sit right by inserting in different ways and from various positions, and it just didn’t work. I figured that it was something I needed to keep practicing and getting used to, so I decided to try it for a total of three cycles. By the end of my last cycle, I was frustrated and convinced that there was something wrong with the way my vagina was shaped. The verdict: Soft Cup didn’t happen.
The next up to bat was the Luna Cup. That also came with issues. The first cup I ordered was the wrong size (because the Amazon shop that I ordered it from was mislabeled), so it didn’t fit properly (yup, I tried it anyway). The next time around, I ordered the correct size and still no bueno. The cup kept slipping out and shifting out of place, which led to that pesky leaking problem again, so I decided to give up.
Months later, which brings us to my last cycle, late last month, I decided to try again with a different brand.
See, what had happened was…I stumbled upon a post on Facebook from a group of women singing the praises of various menstrual cups. Everyone had tried and had great success with different brands, and I was just confused because I felt like the only menstrual cup failure. Seriously, I have read nothing but glowing reports about menstrual cups, various brands, everywhere, even beyond that Facebook thread, but when it came to me they just weren’t working.
The women in said Facebook group are women whose opinions I take seriously, so I decided to give it ago again. This time around, I tried the Diva Cup.
The verdict is still out, but I made some progress. I had the shifting out of place problem for the first two days, but by day three I seemed to start developing a rhythm and finally got comfortable-ish. I still wore a pad just in case the shifting out of place problem started again, but for the rest that period, aside from mine spots here and there, it seemed that I had finally found a cup that worked for me (I consider my flow heavy, btw).
Admittedly, I was too scared to work out with the cup so I’m not yet satisfied in my research. I need more testing before I go around boasting that I’m a menstrual cup convert, but things are finally starting to show promise. Give me another couple of cycles before I get back to you on this with more thorough details!