Hello. I’m Tracey – the owner of the Menstrual cycle we are about to discuss. Now chances are that whatever way you happened to stumble upon this came with a bit of a disclaimer attached. But just in case you missed it I want to clarify that this post is about periods. If you do not want to know about a menstrual cup or you are uncomfortable hearing about personal issues like this then this would be the time to tune out.
If you are still reading then hello and welcome. I really don’t think there is anything to be embarrassed about when it comes to talking about your period. If you are a girl then it’s just something you are biologically designed to experience. It’s natural, it’s normal and it’s sticking around so we kind of just have to get on with it. But I understand that not everyone is comfortable discussing it publicly.
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t have any intention of discussing my menstrual cycle on my blog until now. I’ve just never really been compelled to discuss what Tampon brand I like the most or what painkillers do the trick for me. But this might be helpful for others and that is a good enough reason for me. I had also never heard about menstrual cups until I saw a You Tube video discussing it so I figure that it might open up the possibility to others who may also have never heard about them.
So what is a menstrual cup? Well it’s basically a way of managing your period every month without needing to use pads or tampons. Instead of absorbing the “flow” internally (tampons) or externally (pads) a menstrual cup actually collects it throughout the day. If like me your initial reaction just there was “ew” or even a temptation to stop reading then I hear you. I was the very same and I would encourage you to stick with me for a few more minutes and have an open mind.
The idea of a menstrual cup, for me anyway, was dirty. The idea of an object collecting the blood and then me having to remove it and empty the contents in to a toilet before cleaning it and re-inserting it? Yeah no I’ll pass thanks. It completely freaked me out. And then I did my research. It’s actually the cleanest and most hygienic way of managing your period. So lets think about the function of a tampon or a pad for a second. It sits in you or on your underwear and it collects the blood over the space of a couple of hours (less or more frequently depending on the person). You then have to remove the object and dispose of it. Let’s cut to the chase here and admit that it doesn’t feel very clean or cute. It also comes with it’s many issues and concerns.
And this is the part where I have to get a bit personal but it is all in the name of helping others. I have an extremely heavy period and it has caused me some major issues in the past. I’m a grown woman and my period completely holds me back in so many ways. Firstly it lasts a long time. Some women get their period for 2-3 days but on average most women tend to be in or around the 3-5 day mark. Mine would be in the 7-9 day category so the length of it is the first issue. It can really take over your life in that sense.
Next comes the pain. Everyone is different but the first couple of days of my period are intensely painful. The cramps stop me in my tracks and I need painkillers, hot showers and hot water bottles to combat it. This sounds so dramatic but I’m trying to portray an honest picture here. Will I even bother going in to the hormonal stuff? But that is REAL folks. I’ve been known to cry over ads about paint like. I suppose I’m trying to show you the not-so-fun realities that can come with ones period and none of those things even involve managing the physical part. So anything that could possibly make that part easier is intriguing to me.
I started reading up about alternatives to pads and Tampons last month. It’s hard to even write these words but I’ve had so many issues in the “accident” department. My flow is so heavy that even the biggest and most expensive pads and tampons don’t always do the job. It makes work, days out and trips an absolute nightmare sometimes. I am constantly checking myself and paranoid that it has happened again and no matter what I do it can happen every single month at least once. A late night googling session took me to an article about Menstrual Cups and I started to read about the reasons why a woman might choose to use one.
- To avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome. This a really serious condition which can be caused by using Tampons. Google it – it’s a bit scary. The risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome is pretty much erradicated when you use a Menstrual Cup as they are made from 100% medical grade silicone. No nasty chemicals inside of you.
- To save money. Think about how much money you spend every single month on tampons and pads. Now consider that you use the same Menstrual Cup every single month and they usually last between 5 and 10 years. They also cost between €30 and €50 for the most part so in the first 6 months you’ll have already started to save money.
- The environment. Add up all of those pads and tampons and imagine them not going to landfills. You are doing your bit for the planet.
- People find them more comfortable. When inserted properly you shouldn’t even feel like they are there.
- You can leave them in for up to 12 hours which means you can even wear them overnight without needing to think about it.
- When inserted properly they will not allow for any leakage.
Number six is what sold me. Leaking and accidents were the very things I was trying to get away from so for that alone it was worth a shot.
I watched a couple of Youtube videos and got my head around the whole idea. I remember seeing the size and shape of it but a little more research and some informative videos opened my eyes to the various different ways that you can bend and hold it when inserting the cup (C hold in my case if you were wondering) and really it’s no different in size than a Tampon when you fold it properly. It does involve getting up close and personal with your lady bits but nothing is quite as up close and personal as a leak in public so I’m OK with that part.
So this is what it looks like – and this is the brand I went for. It’s the Organicup and I picked it up from EarthMother.ie for about €26 including delivery. It was with me two days later in a really cool biodegradable box which also functions as the instructions. Inside you will find an organic cotton storage bag and the cup itself. And here she is in all of her glory.
I suppose on first glance it’s a bit hard to imagine how this will actually go inside of you. But it’s actually not as difficult as it might look. When inserted properly it will open up, form a seal and collect the contents of your period directly from your cervix. If it is sitting in the right position there will be a seal that will ensure there is no leaking.
I wanted this post to be a bit of an introduction to the whole idea rather than a review or description of how I have found it and that is purely because I want to go in to detail about my experience in the next post. But for now I will give you a bit of a heads up and say that I am really impressed and happy to have found these. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the first month can be tricky in terms of finding what works for you even when it comes down the way in which you insert it and how often you need to change it etc. It has definitely been a learning curve but I have found the Organicup to be really great. I expected a few teething problems but I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I got on with it even in this very first period. I’d go as far as saying that it was my easiest period in years and I am thrilled to say that I had no leaks (well, one – but that wasn’t the cups fault – I’ll get in to that in the next post).
I think this is going to be a beautiful relationship and I feel confident in saying that I don’t see myself ever using pads or tampons again.
Until next time!