You might be astonished to know (I know I was) that menstrual cups have been around since the 1930s. Surprisingly, it was only around 2012 when I first heard of them. But even then I didn’t really consider using them because of my own prejudices and limited knowledge.
In 2021, when I made the big decision to move to Canada alone, I had a lot to keep track of and keeping track of my menstrual cycle and remembering to stock up on pads just seemed like an added responsibility I wish I could get rid of.
So, finally, I decided I needed to find a solution for the issue. I researched a bit about menstrual cups and found out that you can use the same cup for months, anywhere from 6 months to 10 years in fact, as long as you sterilize it with proper care. The cups still scared me, but I figured it was time that I took it upon myself to test them and find out if they were the solution I had been searching for.
So, I got a menstrual cup from Aisle.
Here’s how it went.
For the first time in forever, I was genuinely happy when my period arrived. The excitement of trying something out for the first time was intriguing.
The day started with me watching some youtube videos to understand how a menstrual cup worked and how to use it properly. Luckily for me, when I opened the box, Aisle already included a user manual for a first-time user and even provided a cute pouch to store the cup in.
The first day was already chaotic with the mood swings and early cramps, but that didn’t deter me. I tried my best to follow the instructions outlined in the user manual.
To no surprise, it didn’t really work. It was too painful. Clearly, I wasn’t doing something right and I was just too tired to probe further. So, I gave up and figured I could try again the next day.
Even though day 1 didn’t go as planned, I was still determined to make it work, so this time I decided to prepare myself mentally.
I tried to calm my body with the help of Headspace. And it did help me relax a bit and surprisingly in the next try, I could insert it! There are a couple different folds you can try for insertion of the cup, but the fold that worked for me was the C fold.
I got it in, but that was only the first obstacle. Then came the more daunting step, opening the cup when it’s inside. To do this, you have to pinch the cup a certain way and it took me almost 20 minutes to get it right.
I wasn’t used to the intrusion and the constant pressure on my pelvic region which made me want to use the bathroom quite a bit. I only used the cup for an hour as I just wanted my body to get used to the new feelings.
Day 3 was relatively easy, except the pinching was still a headache and probably the most stressful part of the entire process.
On this day I was able to use the cup for four hours.
For the next couple of days I kept switching between sanitary pads and the cup. And that’s how my first experience panned out.
All in all, I used the menstrual cup for 7 days. Here are my final thoughts.
Would I switch from a pad to a cup forever?
At this moment, no. Though for some it might be an effortless switch, it wasn’t for me. I still have to get used to it, so for now I would prefer using it for just a few hours.
Is the pain unbearable?
It isn’t. It’s just a little uncomfortable. Once the cup is in, you don’t really feel anything at all. The only time it hurts is during the insertion process.
Does it have a chance of getting lost inside you?
It literally can’t get lost inside you. Cups have a tail for you to grip onto incase it gets in too deep, but there’s no way they can get lost inside your body. Your anatomy won’t let it. However, if you get too conscious of it and end up not being able to remove it, there’s are a few easy removal instructions to follow.
Tips for people who might want to give menstrual cups a try:
- There’s no right time to start using a menstrual cup. You just have to take it upon yourself and give it a try.
- The first time you insert it may be a bit painful, but it’s normal and you’ll get used to it.
- Try using it on days you aren’t traveling. You don’t want it to leak as you might not be a pro at getting it right the first time.
- Make sure you sterilize it and clean it properly.
- I would suggest watching a few YouTube videos to see different folds and figure out what works best for you.
- Don’t pressure yourself. Take it slow. Your body needs to be calm during the process. If you’re too stressed out there’s a chance it might be more painful. If it doesn’t work out, rest for a few hours and then try again.
- If you don’t get it right for this period, you can always again next month.
Menstrual cups can help you save hundreds on sanitary pads and tampons, but as a student, we know buying one may also be a little heavy on your wallets. That’s why we partnered with Aisle so you can receive a $50 voucher to spend on menstrual products!
We constantly work towards helping you find all the right products. However, if you’re still unsure about menstrual cups, we’ve got you covered too. Thanks to IGNITE’s advocacy, free menstrual products are now available in washrooms across all three campuses.
Have a happy period!
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