Warning: I’ve been asked to put a disclaimer saying this post is ‘gross’, even though it’s about something we as women all go through – the most natural thing in the world. But if you’re easily freaked, BYE!
You may have seen recently the advert and hype around Bodyform ditching the ‘blue liquid’ which is often used in tampon and pad adverts, in favour of using red liquid. You know. Like blood. Like the blood women menstruate. I mean, what’s the big deal, man?
I’m a pretty open person (okay, VERY open) and have no qualms talking about bodies and functions and sex and subjects people can be prudish about or find gross. It doesn’t make me any better than them, I just think I give less of a shit. Who cares? I’m a human not an android.
I thought it was pretty shocking, the reaction this advert got. A lot of women praised it and were so happy to see the fake blue stuff replaced for something more realistic. However, it was more the abject disgust from women, mainly on Twitter, who get the gift of Aunt Flow every month that I found so odd. It’s 2016 – why are we shaming ourselves about this? It’s a great thing! Hey look at you – FERTILE. Your BODY WORKS. Let’s not go over the top and get on the hype with free bleeding (a little TOO much, even for me, thanks) – but what’s the biggie, really?
Anyway, I started baiting my female friends and family with casual questions about periods and I was quite surprised to discover almost all of them were totally grossed out.
It gets better. You should have seen their faces when I said I was going to be starting to use a menstrual cup that month.
A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to ‘catch’ the blood.
It’s reusable. That means no more £5+ on sanitary items each month, as well as the icky dryness that some women can get when using tampons. It’s clean, it’s good for the environment and it WORKS.
There’s SO much stuff on the internet about this, as more and more women realise the benefits of using a cup. I’ll let you do your own research if you’re interested. I had known about this beforehand, but the girl that really got me into doing this and feeling comfortable with it is Bree. She’s a young entrepreneur who runs her own business selling cloth pads and menstrual cups. She is an advocate for being comfortable with our bodies and talking about things like this, rather than being embarrassed or grossed out. Check out her YouTube videos. A few of them and I was hooked on the idea. Thanks Bree!
So, here’s something one of my friend’s said when I mentioned I’d started using a cup (name withheld to protect the squeamish):
“I’ve never thought about using a cup before. I’d always assumed it’d be really dirty and messy. It’s probably the fear of the unknown. How big is it? How do you get it up there? How do you know when do take it out? Can it get stuck? Too many questions need answering before I trust it over a good old fashioned tampon!”
How big is it?
I can hear the “ewwwwws” already! Don’t worry – brand new and never used! The little thing on the end can be trimmed to your requirements. I’ve never had to trim one but it’s just what you are comfortable with! This is a Femmecup – but there are SO many to choose from, depending on your age, whether you’ve had a child or not. It can be a little overwhelming but just do some research and look at a few review videos online. You’ll be golden.
How do you get it in?
Make sure it, and your hands, are clean, firstly. Then simply do a ‘c-fold’, which is folding the cup in half and and then in half again. Then just…put it in like you would a tampon (you can use a bit of lube if you want), but without letting go of the c-fold. Once you’re happy – let go – and the cup should ‘pop’ open, creating a seal to prevent any accidents. You’ve still got a little wiggle room so just make sure it’s comfortable and that you can’t feel it. There are other folds you can do too (check out this video) – it’s just a case of doing some research and doing what feels comfortable to you.
How do you know when to take it out?
This is the benefit of a cup. You can wear it for up to 12 hours which is awesome. This is due to the cup ‘collecting’ rather than ‘absorbing’ and getting full. It’s great for all day at work, and fine for overnight too. GOODBYE sneaky tampon-up-the-sleeve in the office, and BYE massive night pads.
Won’t it leak?
Not if you have inserted it correctly and the rim has ‘popped’. You can check this by inserting a finger and running it all the way round the cup to check it’s open – you’ll be able to tell if it’s not. Use a panty-liner for a couple of days if you feel unsure, but honestly – should be fine.
How do you get it out? Can it get lost or stuck?
No. Just like a tampon, it can’t get ‘lost’. It sits lower than a tampon, but you still can’t feel it. You get it out by bearing down, gripping the bottom of the cup and squeezing to release the seal. It should then be easy to remove. It takes a little bit of practise (see below), but stick with it. Seriously. If you can’t ‘find’ it, or get a grip on it, try some deep breathing and go in with a little lubricant if needed. Once you’re relaxed, you should be fine. It’s probably best not to start using a menstrual cup when you’re in a hurry. Practise makes perfect!
Isn’t it gross?
TMI: The first time I removed it, I couldn’t get a good grip on it and after about five minutes started panicking as I was going to be late for work. When I finally got a grip, I just yanked it as I didn’t have time to faff about any more. Bad move. Flung it everywhere. Hammer House of Horrors. No one needs that in their lives. I ended up being late, as well. ANYWAY, just whilst you try to get that image out of your head, after a little practise, you’ll get it – promise. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll realise what sort of, ahem, force you need to get it out. In terms of general grossness – meh. I mean, it’s a little more graphic than a tampon but it’s not like you’re going to inspect it, right? Just tip it away, rinse with warm water and a little soap if you want, and you’re good to go again.
What do you think? Intriguing or still totally gross? Thinking of investing in a cup or sticking to what you know? Any more questions – let me know!