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Should You Make the Switch? My Experience With A Menstrual Cup

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SAU chapter.

Ah, yes, let’s talk about periods and the often dreadful experience of maintaining proper hygiene during the menstrual cycle. 

Shortly after the onset of my first period, I started using tampons after I learned that I despise the feeling of pads. This continued for years until I was about 19-years old. I started noticing just how uncomfortable I was every time I would use a tampon. I had never struggled to insert them or suffered any pain from them, but suddenly I was experiencing both of these hurdles. It took me a few months to figure out that my tampons were becoming a problem. During that time, I also began to realize that I was experiencing a lot of pain and tearing during intercourse due to insufficient lubrication. This was also a fairly new problem. Obviously, something was going on, and I thought that targeting my choice of period care would be the best place to start. I knew no matter what that I would not go back to pads! So, after doing some research, I decided it was time to give a menstrual cup a chance. Here is how it went. 

I am not going to sugarcoat this at all. The process of inserting a menstrual cup was a challenge at first. I opted to go with the Diva Cup because that is what my local Walmart had at the time. It came with a manual on how to use the cup, which included diagrams of two different ways to insert it. Luckily, I figured out pretty quickly which method worked best for me. Now, while insertion was difficult, removing the cup was a borderline nightmare at first. The cup essentially creates a vacuum seal once it is inserted properly (I did not insert mine far enough at first, either). To remove the cup, this seal has to be broken. I cannot even estimate how long I stood in the bathroom all sweaty trying to get this cup out. Eventually, I was able to successfully remove it and clean it up for another use. At this point, I was very apprehensive to use the cup again, but I am so happy that I stuck with it. 

The cup requires a learning curve, but once you are able to figure out your best methods of insertion and removal, it is life-changing! Menstrual cups are also super easy to clean-you just use soap and water! It is important at this point for me to note that I live with a rare disease called Lichen sclerosus which affects the genital tissues, which I have written about before. Due to this, the first way in which my menstrual cup improved my life is very important to me. I began to notice after two to three months of use that my vaginal moisture was normal and I was no longer experiencing the discomfort I was before. With my disease, this prevents unnecessary tearing and inflammation, however, all of us could benefit from this. If you are someone who experiences dryness that leads to discomfort and painful intercourse, I recommend trying a menstrual cup to see if it helps!

The second pro of using a menstrual cup is that it is very comfortable to wear, and it can be worn for longer periods of time with less risk of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). While I do not suggest that you go an excessively long amount of time without cleaning your cup, you can comfortably wear it overnight or while out and about without counting down the number of hours you have had it in. So if you are in a situation where you cannot clean out your cup, don’t worry! You will be fine until you are able to make it to a place where you can. Along with this bonus, you also do not have to be concerned about leaking or overflowing in any way. The cup creates a seal, like I mentioned before, and it allows plenty of holding space. 

Another aspect of using a menstrual cup that I love is not having to deal with the smell of menstrual fluids and disposing of it in specific trashcans. I grew up with dogs, and it was always a hassle when I was on my period to dispose of my tampons because the dogs would get into trashcans if they smelled them. Gross, I know. While this concern is eliminated, the smell aspect is also completely eliminated. While you have to be comfortable viewing your own menstrual fluid, it gets disposed of directly in the toilet and does not sit around in the trash. 

The environmental/financial impact of menstrual cups is a huge added bonus, as well! Menstrual cups may seem a bit pricey when you first buy them, but they will pay off very quickly after you consider the cost of pads and tampons over a year. The financial incentive is impressive, but menstrual cups also have a large advantage over cotton products when it comes to sustainability. The waste associated with disposable products is nonexistent with a cup, but I noticed that my toilet paper use also decreased significantly. Since the cleaning process is so simple, there is no additional waste that you would not already be creating during this step.

While these are my main pros of using a cup, there are plenty of others. A cup is easy to store, throw in your purse if you’re expecting your period to arrive, and you no longer have an emergency situation where you run out of pads or tampons. The decision on what to use for your cycle is very personal, but it is my hope that sharing my initial experience and long-term benefits will help you make your decision if you have been considering switching up your routine. A cup can be intimidating and frustrating at first, but like anything else, you will learn and master it!

Here is the link to the Diva Cup website: https://shopdiva.com/?count=0&lang=en-us

Don’t forget that many brands carry menstrual cups, so be sure to do your own research!

Hello! I am a Forensic Psychology Major with Minors in Criminal Justice and Sociology. I am the secretary for Sexual Assault Awareness Team and am involved in STEP and Psychology Club at St. Ambrose University. In my free time I enjoy painting and embroidering, being a dog mom, and spending time with my friends!