The other day, I posted on Instagram about walking to our workspace bathroom with my tampon in my hand, instead of hidden in my sock. And I instantly got hundreds of comments saying…
…Why are you not using a menstrual cup???
Women were coming out of the woodwork to recommend the flexible menstrual cups over tampons or pads. Basically, you insert one into the vaginal canal, and the blood just drips into the cup. Then you empty it, wash and reuse. “The best lady hack of all time!” wrote Maclean. “What a game changer!” wrote Kristen. “100% yes,” wrote Morgan.
Here’s what a menstrual cup looks like.
Curious, I walked to the store after work and chose a Diva Cup. (Other popular brands are Lunette and Lena.) On the shelf were two sizes: one for women under 30 who have never given birth; the second model is for women age 30 or over and/or women who have delivered vaginally or by c-section. That distinction felt slightly crushing, haha, but I went ahead and bought the larger one.
The next morning, I washed the cup with soap and warm water. It looked surprisingly big to me — so much bigger than a tampon! — but I was able to fold it and insert it into the vaginal canal. Inside, the cup gently springs open and rests against the walls of the vagina. That way, it can catch the blood and prevents leaks.
At first, it felt a little bit like I needed to pee — since I guess it was putting a little pressure on the bladder? But I adjusted the position and that went away. Then I felt nothing.
For the rest of the day, honestly, I forgot about it. You can leave the cup in for 12 hours, and I couldn’t believe the freedom! With tampons, there are so many daytime logistics. But with the cup, I put it in at 8 a.m. and emptied it at 8 p.m. SO EASY. No leaks at work, no ruined underwear, no asking strangers if I can borrow a tampon. I essentially felt like I didn’t have my period. I wore a white dress on a bike ride with the boys and didn’t think anything of it.
That night, when I emptied it, I figured I might have this giant flask of blood to deal with. I pinched the bottom of the cup to release the seal. I was surprised to see that there wasn’t that much blood anyway. (The whole process was very neat and tidy: There was no blood on the outside of the cup; just inside, kind of like a wine glass!) Then I emptied it, washed the cup with soap and water, and replaced it. Done and done.
Overall, I went from being nervous about the cup to totally excited about it.
Other major bonuses: Menstrual cups are more environmentally friendly; the average woman uses more than 9,000 tampons in her lifetime, while one menstrual cup can last between 1 and 10 years! Menstrual cups don’t absorb your vagina’s natural lubrication, like tampons can. The other perk is that you learn more about your anatomy and even notice your blood changing throughout the week. It’s cool to know about your body, don’t you think?
Have you tried a menstrual cup? Or do you prefer tampons or pads? And here are some menstrual cup FAQs, if you’re curious.
P.S. Do you know female anatomy? (Be honest.)
(This post isn’t sponsored; I just wanted to share my experience and thank everyone for the recommendation:)