Saturday, March 22, 2014

Menstrual Cups: My Journey to Goldilocks

I've been thinking about doing this post for a long time. It's a post with TMI, but a post that might help someone, somewhere.

A couple of years ago I started having trouble finding o.b. ultra tampons. I don't know how many stores I drove to. Nothing else seemed to be able to handle the deluge that was the second day of my period. I drove to so many stores it was ridiculous. I had my parents in on the search. I still regret the day I found a box but didn't have the patience to wait in line to pay for it. Ross searched on the internet and discovered that o.b. stopped making ultra tampons. Boxes were selling on ebay for 75$ apiece! Now what was I going to do?

I had a brief encounter with the Instead Softcup. Not for me--and that's a whole other story.

I came across menstrual cups and did some research on a Menstrual Cup website, which was super helpful. I bought the Diva Cup because they sell it on Amazon and I had some Amazon money. I talked to a coworker about it and she ordered one too. I was excited to try something new. Turns out that the Diva was perfect for her, but not so much for me.

The Diva Cup worked okay, but it didn't have the capacity I so desperately needed. I hastily bought a Yuuki Cup on ebay. While the Yuuki worked better for me than the Diva, I still had issues with leakage and the holes seemed to get clogged easily. I read online about enlarging the holes. First I tried with a tiny drill bit, then I went so far as to buy a punch and I punched the holes larger.

I found that I also had two other problems: 1: my cervix points to the left and 2: I have a dangly cervix. Dealing with the first problem was easy--I just had to make sure my cervix was in the cup when I inserted it. I just sweep/stir around the cup and if I can feel my cervix I know I missed and I reposition the cup. Although the Diva and Yuuki weren't perfect I was transformed by my experience and wasn't willing to go back to tampons. I forged on in search of my goldilocks cup--I bought a Lunette.

The holes on the Lunette are larger than on the other cups I owned, and seemed to solve that problem. And I had learned how to deal with my left-tilting cervix so that wasn't a problem anymore. My problem was capacity--I was still having a deluge one day a month.  It seems my cervix is long and it dangles and takes up room in the menstrual cup. A bell-shaped, rather than a pointy-bottomed cup is supposed to help with this. I bought yet another cup, the Fleurcup. Queque the sounds of angels: I found my goldilocks cup.

On deluge day I still have to empty the cup every 2 hours--but not for 24 hours. Menstrual cups have made my life easier. People like to write these horror-story posts about how they "lost the cup up there" or "wrestled with their vagina" to get a cup in/out. I don't have that kind of story. I had some problems with leakage and capacity, but if I had actually done a little more research/not gone crazy buying cups I would have found my perfect cup sooner.

So here is my advice if you want to buy a cup:

  1. Figure out/measure the height of your cervix while you are on your period.
  2. Visit menstrualcups.org to find out all about cups and look at size and capacity charts to determine what will work best for you. Go by actual dimensions and capacity need, not what works for most people or what is most easily available. Disregard size recommendations based on age, virginity, or whether you have had children.
  3. Ignore what the directions say that come with the cup. A menstrual cup doesn't sit below the cervix, it settles around the cervix. There is no need to spin a menstrual cup. Insert and remove the cup however works best for you.
  4. If the first cup you buy doesn't work immediately, don't give up. Get through the learning curve--there definitely is one--and then really think about what you'd like in your next cup before you give up or buy another cup.
There are some advantages to using cups:
  1. You don't necessarily need different sizes/capacities for different days of your period.
  2. No string hanging out.
  3. You only have to pack one thing when you travel, not a whole box.
  4. You can wear the cup before your period starts to avoid a surprise.
  5. You can swim, do yoga, trapeze, whatever you want with a cup.
  6. No waste.
  7. No more running out of supplies--so no more trips to buy more.
  8. Some cups have measuring lines so you can actually measure how much blood you are losing.
  9. No risk of toxic shock syndrome.
  10. They don't dry you out like tampons do.
  11. They don't stink like tampons.
If you are skeeved out by the whole idea or it isn't for you I understand. I'm skeeved out by reusable pads and they definitely aren't for me, my deluge, and my love of travel.

Fleurcup: my goldilocks cup.
Today I came across this indigogo campaign and I'm going to donate. Please consider donating so that a girl  in Kenya can have a cup and go to school. Thanks.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or email me. I'm finally done with this long post.

1 comment:

Jenn Menstrual said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!