HomeHealth ConditionsI Traded Tampons for Menstrual Cups for 3 Months, and I Am...

I Traded Tampons for Menstrual Cups for 3 Months, and I Am Sold—Here’s What They’re Actually Like To Use

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Although I’ve lengthy been sick of the interval tax (and the waste), I might by no means actually thought of an alternative choice to tossing tampon after tampon. However not too long ago, varied ladies in my life advised me they have been making an attempt menstrual cups and discs. Specifically, my pricey good friend and journey accomplice sung the cups’ praises: She used hers whereas biking, mountain climbing, and snowboarding throughout her interval.

In that case many individuals in my life have been making the swap, was I lacking out by being caught in my tampon rut? I made a decision it was time to check out just a few of the very best menstrual cups for myself.

Menstrual cups are reusable female hygiene merchandise. These versatile, bell-shaped cups—sometimes made from medical-grade silicone—are inserted into the vagina, and as an alternative of absorbing your interval blood like a pad or tampon does, they acquire the blood within the cup. After 12 hours, you take away the cup, pour out the blood, give the cup a cleansing, and put it again in. Some manufacturers say they’ll last as long as 10 years. (Although there are additionally some disposable menstrual cups obtainable.)

If this feels like a newfangled Gen Z invention, know this: The primary usable industrial cup was really delivered to market all the way in which again in 1937, however solely not too long ago has the thought change into extra mainstream.

In that case many individuals in my life have been making the swap, was I lacking out by being caught in my tampon rut?

I gained’t lie—beginning this chapter felt intimidating. I made a decision that I might strive three totally different manufacturers over the course of three cycles to offer menstrual cups a stable strive. To determine which manufacturers would make most sense for me, I meandered over to Amanda Hearn’s interval schooling platform Put A Cup In It—and really rapidly discovered it’s not all one-size-fits-all-vaginas. Luckily, Hearn has created the Menstrual Cup Quiz you may take to search out out which cups to strive. I’m 36 (hey, mid-thirties!), have vaginally delivered a child, and have a regular-to-light stream. Sure, these particulars matter when discovering the suitable cup for you.

The outcomes: The Saalt Comfortable and Ruby Cup have been my prime suggestions as the very best menstrual cups for me. I additionally tried the Honey Pot. Right here’s the way it went.

Studying how you can use a menstrual cup

As a result of I used to be a beginner, I practiced inserting the cup earlier than my interval really began so I wouldn’t be caught off guard making an attempt a brand new contraption once I was already bleeding. (I extremely advocate studying how you can insert a menstrual cup earlier than your stream begins.)

After sanitizing the cup (boil for 3 to 5 minutes after buy and to begin every cycle), I attempted my luck. The simplest methodology to get a interval cup into your vagina is the U-shaped fold. With clear palms and a sanitized cup, maintain the cup between your fingers and fold it within the form of a “U.” You possibly can then insert it rim-side first, virtually such as you would with a tampon with out an applicator. As soon as inside, the cup returns to its cylinder form and creates an hermetic seal.

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This was simpler stated than finished, and it took follow to get proper. I knew I did it unsuitable at first as a result of 1) I might really feel a uninteresting stress from the cup, and a pair of) the stem was protruding. That could not be proper.

I attempted once more, and after getting the kinks of consumer error out, the cup was absolutely inserted into my vagina and the stem was not seen—this left a way more comfy really feel that was as pure as a tampon, to my shock.

Month 1: Saalt Comfortable Cup

I began this cup journey with the Saalt Comfortable Cup, common dimension ($29). This dimension cup is really helpful for increased cervixes and post-childbirth. Celebrated for its comfy really feel, Saalt Comfortable is a professional first-timer’s cup. I used to be involved it will jab or I’d really feel stress inside, however as soon as I bought it in the suitable place, it match simply.

The cup has the capability of 4 tampons. However I used to be satisfied it will leak and felt nervous to go about each day life. I had a hike with associates deliberate on what would have been thought of a heavy stream day, so I additionally used a panty liner to be secure.

Spoiler: You actually can put on the cup and reside your life. It stayed in place the whole time and after two intentional pit stops to verify for leaks, I used to be pleasantly stunned to search out none.

Saalt Comfortable Cup — $29.00

Sizes: 2 (common and small)
Supplies: medical-grade silicone
as much as 10 years

  • Snug
  • Holds the capability of 4 tampons
  • Simple-to-follow instructions
  • Some reviewers report it may be tough to take away

After about eight hours (you may go for 12, however I used to be nervous and wished to ensure I didn’t push its limits), I attempted my luck at eradicating the cup with out leaving my lavatory wanting like a homicide scene. Interval cups aren’t meant to only be yanked out like a tampon. As an alternative, to take away a menstrual cup, with clear palms, you should attain inside and break the seal of the cup earlier than gently pulling it out. I learn horror tales about cups getting caught, so my nerves have been on edge. However, the mild squeeze to interrupt the seal labored for me, and the cup got here out. I emptied it, after which I used the Saalt Cup Wash ($13)—which claims to assist keep a wholesome pH—to scrub it earlier than giving it one other insert.

My take: This was a beautiful newbie cup to expertise my first month of nixing tampons. The web site’s instructions are useful and simple to observe. Familiarize your self with the method earlier than your interval and don’t get discouraged with it doesn’t really feel comfy the primary time you insert it.

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Month 2: The Honey Pot

The Honey Pot Menstrual Cup ($24) is sturdy, simple to make use of, and feels tremendous substantial with out leaving you conscious you’re utilizing the cup. Feeling a bit extra assured on month two, I took different customers’ recommendation and trimmed down the stem, so it wasn’t as lengthy. This may be finished for any cup with a straight stem to make sure most consolation. Some cups, nevertheless, have a loop on the top for simple gripping. As soon as reduce, this meant the cup (I used to be making an attempt dimension 2) felt a bit increased inside my vagina. Observe that should you do really feel a poking sensation, you might need inserted it incorrectly.

Throughout this spherical, I used to be in peak summer time mode and examined my luck swimming. No leaks and no discomfort. I spotted my issues have been largely psychological. I used to be too conscious of the cup solely as a result of I used to be nervous about leaks poolside, however as soon as I grew to become extra assured in my cup-inserting expertise, I finished excited about it and relaxed.

Honey Pot Menstrual Cup — $24.00

Sizes: 2
Supplies: medical-grade silicone (freed from latex and phlalates)
Lasts: As much as one yr

  • Some reviewers report the rim feels tough when inserted

When it got here time to take away The Honey Pot, I used the squat methodology to calm down my pelvic ground muscle tissues. I gave it a squeeze and slight twist and felt the seal break.

My take: I favored the sturdy really feel of this cup. It gave me the arrogance to step out of my consolation zone and do extra whereas on my interval.

Month 3: The Ruby Cup

What pushed me to strive the Ruby Cup ($33) is the corporate’s mission. For each cup bought, they donate a cup to an individual with out entry to interval merchandise. So far, that’s greater than 140,000 cups, which has saved greater than 14 million kilograms of plastic in tampon utilization. Whereas the value tag is a bit increased than the opposite two, the donation made the additional cash spent greater than value it.

Past the mission, the Ruby Cup made me really feel like a seasoned professional. The scale medium inserted simply, and identical to the opposite two, the fabric was agency however comfy. What set this cup aside was the easy-grip stem: It has elevated pumps that make grabbing it with out wanting easy. I didn’t really feel the necessity to trim this one down in any respect, as a result of it was such a cinch to take away after use.

Ruby Cup — $33.00

Sizes: 2 (small and medium)
Supplies: medical-grade silicone
Lasts: as much as 10 years

  • A cup will get donated with each buy
  • The simple-grip stem makes removing simple
  • Can take a while to get the dangle of correct insertion

I had one heavier than regular day throughout this cycle and cleaned the Ruby Cup noon whereas on the workplace (I had my cleansing wash in my purse). I used to be a bit involved how this may go, whereas for the earlier two I used to be nice for 12 hours. Nevertheless it was a breeze. I eliminated, cleaned, and reinserted the cup in simply 5 minutes.

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My take: With an incredible mission, it is simply an added bonus that this cup is a cinch to take away.

Steadily requested questions

How have you learnt when your menstrual cup is full?

In response to Dame interval care, there are just a few tell-tale indicators that your cup is full. The cup would possibly begin to really feel heavy and your pelvic muscle tissues will tire a bit type holding it up. You would possibly begin to expertise some leakage. And you may also begin to really feel some discomfort because the cup shifts down in your vagina underneath the additional weight.

As Amandine Pranlas-Descours, former international model supervisor of female care firm Intimina, beforehand advised Nicely+Good about utilizing menstrual cups, when you begin utilizing a cup usually, you may start to intuit precisely when it is time to take it out.

Can you are feeling a menstrual cup once you stroll?

In the event you’ve inserted a menstrual cup appropriately, it ought to really feel no totally different than a tampon. That means, apart from possibly getting a uninteresting sensation when it is fuller, you actually should not really feel it—particularly not throughout day-to-day actions like strolling.

What are the disadvantages of menstrual cups?

Menstrual cups are clearly extra environmentally-friendly than disposable tampons or pads that refill your lavatory trash can. They’re additionally extra wallet-friendly, since one cup can final a number of years.

That stated, there’s a studying curve related to utilizing menstrual cups and discovering the suitable match. “Every model has a unique design, and each vagina and cervix is a unique form,” Jennifer Conti, MD, board-certified OB/GYN and co-author of The Vagina E-book: An Proprietor’s Guide for Taking Care of Your Down There, beforehand advised Nicely+Good. “If the cup is just too small, you’ll have leakage. If it’s too large, it is perhaps uncomfortable.” Specifically, there is a potential for mess once you empty it, which is why consultants advocate that you simply take it out whereas hovering over the bathroom and ideally at residence, so that you’ve quick access to a sink for laundry your palms and rinsing the cup.

And whilst you can put on a menstrual cup with an IUD, there’s a likelihood it might get caught on the IUD’s string, inflicting the gadget to dislodge. Discuss to your medical supplier should you plan on sporting each—they might reduce the IUD’s string quick to keep away from issues, in keeping with Nicole Alicia, MD, an OB/GYN and an envoy for The Hi there Cup.

My takeaway

One large realization for me was how a lot of my nerves surrounding menstrual cups have been simply based mostly on a societal stress to maintain durations a secret. The dreaded leak felt like a nightmare—I’m speaking flashbacks to center faculty fears of a stain in your denims. However durations are part of life. The cup, I discovered, really helped me normalize one thing that’s been in my life for 20 years. I hadn’t anticipated this methodology of interval administration to be so empowering.

After three months, a bit psychological work, and a brand new sense of interval empowerment, I can formally say I’m a cup convert.

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