Menstrual cups! Where have you been all my life?!
I *WISH* my mom, sisters, cousins, friends, hell – anybody – had introduced me to the world of menstrual cups when I was learning about and beginning my period. Seriously, if you don’t know about them or haven’t tried them, you should!
From the very beginning (I think 11 is when I started?) my period had always made me feel… ick. I always felt… unclean. Foul smelling. Extremely unattractive. Who else felt/feels this way? All of us? We’re taught from a young age that you don’t talk about your period or menstrual cycle, that it’s not for boys to ever discuss or experience any part of, and that it’s embarrassing. Hide your pads/tampons when you have to use the bathroom. Don’t advertise that you are “on the rag”.
I was lucky in that I rarely experienced cramps, and as I got older, I started to have very short periods. Two things every girl/woman wishes she could say. But honestly, I would have traded the cramp free or short periods for the heavy-ness of mine. Especially in these last few years. I seriously went through an insane amount of tampons each 2-3 days of bleeding. Seriously! I also had to change them ALL THE TIME. ALL. I used the SUPER brand for heavy flow and just recently discovered the SUPER PLUS. Guess who experienced leakage and stained underwear… within a mere couple of hours? Yep. I sure did.
So, I saw someone I follow on Instagram post something about menstrual cups. I followed the link out of curiosity, having tried the Instead brand before, which are designed to be cradled by the pubic bone around the cervix and do not create (in my opinion) the same kind of seal. I read all the information, looked at all the posts, checked out the website and mulled over the cost and whatnot. And then I thought, $25-$30 for a Lena Cup that could last up to 10 years with proper care VS paying for boxes of tampons every couple of months (did the rough math, it’s about $480 for a 10 year span, if I calculate conservatively and doesn’t include inflation). So, $30 once in 10 years VS $480. Do I really have to highlight the difference in value?
Also, no one ever taught me how to use anything. You expect a young child to learn the ins and outs of “womanhood” on her own? I mean, I started with pads, which were pretty self explanatory. Pads, though? GROSS. Sitting in your own blood for hours. Leaking onto your panties and clothes, and sometimes furniture. Having the “period odor” follow you around. Feeling like you can’t do anything more than walk or you’ll have major flow issues. I used pads for a couple of years because I didn’t know any different. Didn’t know there were options.
Then, one day, my older sister had tampons under the bathroom sink. I checked out the box, read the information, and thought it would be amazing to be rid of the messy smelly pads. My next period, I tried them. Again, without any assistance or prior knowledge. They weren’t as self explanatory to me. I had NO idea how to use them and I was too embarrassed to ask my sister or my mom. So I tried what I thought was right… and boy, was I wrong! I learned the hard way that you don’t remove the plastic casing before shoving a dry wad of cotton up your vagina. OUCH! is an understatement. Tampons also don’t address period smell.
In time I got the hang of tampon use, but it still killed me to have to use them. I hated my period and still felt unclean and smelly. I still had issues with leakage. It was still gross. I eventually just got used to it, while loathing my period each month. Here I am, 20+ years later, learning that there was an alternative to all of that. I could have been using cups. WOULD have been using cups, had someone just told me about them.
Enter the Lena cup. There was a special on their website about a 2 for 1 deal, but unfortunately they were out of stock for that. Funny that they were out of stock for 2 for 1 pricing, but I could have ordered 2 separate cups each at regular price. I don’t understand that, but that’s beside the point. I had no idea which cup size (small or large) to buy so I picked the large, thinking that it would be better than having too small and not getting a good seal.
The cups are made to form a seal within the walls of your vagina and to catch all of your flow. There’s a small stem on the end, which from my understanding can be cut to personal fit/preference. As I mentioned above, I tried the Instead soft cups, but always felt like it was going to pop out when I moved and I found myself going to the bathroom frequently to do a finger check, or to just change it out all together because I was too paranoid about overflow. With the Lena cups, they are deep and semi-firm, which eased my mind about leakage some.
I ordered my cup just after my last period, so I had to wait to use it – and I will never be able to say this again, but I was anxiously awaiting my next period!
The cup comes with instructions and illustrations on how to fold for insertion. You can also google or You Tube insertion instructions. I watched a fairly detailed video before this period started and it seemed pretty straight forward.
I started yesterday. First insertion was a bit awkward, but it worked out. At first I was still paranoid about leaking and whatnot, but after using the restroom a couple times during the day I felt more at ease as there were no signs of leakage and there was no “period smell”. I did not trim the stem of the cup as I had never used it before and wasn’t sure if I would need to (they recommend using your cup for a couple of days to determine if you need/want to trim it). I think I will leave my stem for now, as I don’t feel it when it’s in use and I feel like it helps a lot with removal.
I slept with the cup in and had no issues at all. I tossed and turned some and didn’t even remember I had the cup in at all! Usually with tampons I actually wake to use the restroom and change them out multiple times during the night. I am in my second night of use and I have no fears about overnight leaking, for once. I know I wont have to wake to change anything, clean anything. I can sleep peacefully knowing I can simply empty the cup in the morning.
Changing the cup can be a tad messy, but once you get used to it, I’m sure it would be quick and easy. So far, it’s done well. I don’t imagine I would ever change/empty it in a public restroom (unless it was single use with a sink handy), but with an up to 12 hour use, I also don’t imagine I would ever have to.
All in all, aside from the out of stock issue on their buy one get one deal, I am really liking the product. You also get follow up emails from the company/owner, which was kind of nice.
For any ladies out there on the fence, take the plunge, tell your friends, teach your daughters. My daughter is only 1, but when her time comes, we’ll be talking about all her options and I’ll be sure to recommend the cup when she feels ready!
The advertisements and such state you can workout and go running, maintain your regular daily activities. I haven’t tried running or working out due to my foot issue, but chasing after Embry all day and I haven’t once thought about the cup while tending to her.