Secondary school was filled with frantically hidden cell phones, giggles in the school bathroom, mirror selfies and periods. Having your period in school was possibly one of the most uncomfortable feelings. Diaper-like pads had you sitting in sweat and blood for hours. Of course, there was the tampon, which changed everyone’s lives but that just meant, lectures from mothers and ‘OMG-does-that-mean-you-lost-your-virginity’ questions from your overly-eager friends. Once you started using tampons, you never thought your period could get easier. Well, you’re wrong.
Enter: The Cup
With a history of troublesome period-filled with days in bed, binges on chocolate, ‘red stain’ paranoia and scary mood swings, it was no surprise that on Christmas morning, I got a cup. I had heard about it before but, never thought to make the switch. In a world dominated by pad and tampon commercials, the mysterious, funny-looking cup hadn’t sparked my interest.
The cup quite frankly looked more like a contraceptive device. It was close to 2 inches in diameter and looked more like something that belonged in my gyno’s office. Needless to say, I was not the happiest to receive this. After all, who gifts menstrual equipment for Christmas? I begrudgingly accepted the gift with a fake smile and shoved it in the corner of my room until my cycle the following week. I unwillingly decided to try the cup mostly to see what in God’s name made this gift-worthy. I quickly realised however, that the cup and I would become best friends—so much so, that I named her Consuelo.
I want every woman to have a best friend for their lady bits as well so, here are some very frank answers to questions that I’m sure you have.
What is it? And how in the world do I get THAT in?
The menstrual cup is a flexible, silicone, funnel shaped cup that catches your blood every month. You squish it until it’s as tiny as can be, push it through your hole (you know which one) and let it snap into place. You will get extremely intimate with yourself and possibly have multiple fingers up there but, it all works out and soon, you’ll be a pro at its insertion.
How does it feel inside?
Admittedly, it’s pretty big and the insertion process can get a bit tricky but, once your cup is inside, it’s almost as if you’re wearing nothing. If you do touch down there you may feel the end of the cup sticking out a tiny bit but other than that, you’re none the wiser. Even when your flow is heavy, the only way you’d realise is if you either get that unmistakable sharp, strong cramp or leak—and yes, you do still leak if you have the cup but it’s highly unlikely. I did however feel like the cup was about to be pushed out when I tried to use the bathroom, but it didn’t and I chalked it up to my paranoia and overly hyped up mind.
It seems really sucked in, how do I take it out?
This is mostly a case of breaking the suction. (You know—that thing that keeps the cup levitated and pressed against your wall to prevent leaks.) Take your finger, insert it in your vagina and press against the cup to gently break the seal. Then, carefully pull the cup out. This is a weird feeling—I’ll warn you from now. It kind of feels as though the cup isn’t supposed to come out or, like you haven’t made love in a while. The sensativon is just a bit… weird. But, fear not, your downstairs parts will survive its first pull out—*pun not intended*. It’s extremely important that you first break the seal, otherwise it’ll just feel like you are birthing your first child.
What comes out in the cup?
Blood, mucus, secretions and endometrial tissue. Your period blood collects in the cup and, depending on the brand, shows you the amount that was collected. You’ll find yourself very intrigued at the contents and if you’re anything like me, will watch it slowly get poured into the toilet, marveling (or holding back puke) at its textures and components. It can be a bit messy at first but with practice it becomes less so. I advise only changing your cup in a sanitary bathroom you’re comfortable in because, rinsing the cup and using your hands to re-insert in a public bathroom is asking for a bloody disaster. The good thing is, you can keep the cup in for up to 12 hours—ideal for women who ride, run, camp, surf, hike and work long hours in offices with gross toilets! If and when it’s full, it won’t fall out. I promise; it’ll just shift down a bit.
Consuelo and I are sure to be in for a long, steady relationship. She has her own pouch and I boil her everytime I begin my cycle, just for sanitary purposes. I look forward to a life of happy, less worry-filled periods.