A lot of ladies reached out with some fundamental questions around the logistics of wearing a menstrual cup at work, so let’s address some of those issues…
First of all, you are going to have to get used to #murderhands. Yes, you will be going knuckle deep to insert and remove your menstrual cup so you will have bloody fingers, cuticles and nails. This is fine at home because you can undertake this process in the comfort of your own bathroom with all of the necessary accouterments (i.e. soap and water). I know this may be a hard transition for some of you (it was for me in the beginning too), but at the end of the day it is just period blood. I think the more we embrace the things that make us intrinsically female the less shame we will feel about them.
With that being said, here is what I found to be the best “schedule” for changing my cup:
Wakeup time: 6:00 am – change cup
Home from work: 5:00 pm – change cup
* If you have a heavy flow this is where you will appreciate the quarterbacking capabilities of the Think underwear.
Bedtime: 9:00 pm (don’t judge me) – change cup
Rinse and repeat.
This schedule has worked for me (with the addition of the Think underwear), especially during the first two days of my period.
I have had a few instances where I have had to change my cup at work and although it is not ideal it is also not the end of the world. It all can be done in the stall with copious amounts of toilet paper to clean yourself and your cup up in order to finish out the day.
This post is for all my vaginas out there. If you don’t have a vagina personally, but have one in your life that is near and dear to you, I invite you to read on. If you don’t have a vagina and vaginas aren’t your thing or if you have a vagina but your period is a thing of the past, you may want to skip this post.
So let’s get into it, because #feminism.
Monthly bill. Red tide. Rag. Shark week. Bloody hell. Fucking period.
I am going to take a wild guess and say I am one of many (many) women who grew up thinking and feeling that my period was an inconvenience; something that was not to be talked about (really) and certainly not something that was represented modern culture in any real kind of way. I mean, does anyone remember how ridiculous tampon print ads were?
Not to mention the underlying societal messages around hygiene and hysteria that are ingrained from a young age.
So you can imagine my surprise at the advent of menstrual cups and period underwear advertising in social media feeds everywhere.
My twelve year old self was initially horrified thinking: “Periods? Are they talking about periods? IN PUBLIC????”
Thankfully the Naomi Wolf part of my brain self-corrected and I dug in a little deeper.
As a connosieur of pads and tampons for the span of my menstruating life up until this point I was intrigued by the idea of a menstrual cup.
I had tried one years ago when I was 21, but was unfamiliar (read: uncomfortable) with my vagina so couldn’t reconcile getting all up in my own business to put it in and take it out. In fact, the first (and last) time I took it out I was in the shower, in a state of panic, for a good thirty minutes thinking it would be lodged up there indefinitely. Finally, with brute force and a lot of ignorance I managed to get it out, but it was like the shower scene from Carrie mixed with an episode of Dexter. Plug it up! Plug it up!. Not a great first foray into menstrual cups.
Cut to fifteen years and two kids later and I was willing to give it another shot. If you don’t get the significance of that sentence I will break it down for you: everyone and their dog has been all up in my business so why shouldn’t I?
First of all it is WAY cheaper than pads or tampons at $39 for the Diva Cup, second it is so much better for the environment and third, you can keep it in for up to twelve hours without any risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Win, win, WIN!
I purchased the Diva Cup and it has two sizes: Model 1: Recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean and Model 2: Recommended for women aged 30 and over or for women who have delivered vaginally or by caesarean.
Basically is your shit tight or a little stretched out? There are cups for all 🙂
When I brought my cup home initially I read the instructions many time. Like probably ten times to make sure I was comfortable with putting the cup in and taking it out. I highly recommend this as it is somewhat counterintuitive for a former tampon user.
Once I was comfortable putting the cup in and taking it out, it was like a whole new world. Seriously. The freedom from tampons and pads cannot be minimized as it was significant.
To clean your cup you can purchase a proprietary soap blend but I just use mild hand soap and warm water.
Another positive to note about using a menstrual cup is that when you are removing it and dumping it’s contents it provides an opportunity to examine your flow and be aware of any changes that should be communicated to your doctor.
This was my experience.
After a year of using the Diva Cup I noticed that my flow became significantly heavier, to the point where my cup runneth over. Literally.
It was a bit of a wait to get into my doctor and in that time I came across another social media campaign for period underwear (oh Facebook ads!).
Period underwear? Up until this point that was a phrase us gals used to describe old, worn out, stained, full back granny panties that got us through those heavier flow days. What was this new and exciting iteration?
I decided to order a pair of Thinx Hiphugger Underwear.
As it turns out I have an endometrial polyp so my period became sort of an all the time thing, which meant I was thrilled at the thought of some underwear quarterbacking for my Diva Cup.
Undies arrived and my mind was BLOWN.
These undies are SO comfortable and really do hold up to two tampons worth of blood without wetness, odour or leaking. I know what you are thinking: Are you for serious, Ad? I’m serious as cancer when I say rythem is a dancer.
I cannot even fathom ever going back to tampons or pads after transitioning to a menstrual cup and period undies and from my vagina to yours, I hope you have a tampon and pad free period after reading this post.