Menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular, and I’ve seen more and more people share online about how much they love them. On paper, they sound like the ideal period accessory: good for the environment, money-saving, and (supposedly) incredibly easy to use. It took me a while to finally invest in one myself (most menstrual cups are in the $30 range), but I finally took the plunge six months ago. My experience using it has been, honestly, entirely different than I expected. From what I had heard from other menstrual cup users, switching over to the cup for their entire period was a breeze. I thought that I, too, would easily make the switch. However, after struggling through a couple of tries, I realized that menstrual cup use wasn’t as easy as I thought! In case you’re thinking of trying one out yourself (and I’m guessing you might be if you found this post!), here are a few things to consider before you make your purchase!
I Go Through Fewer Tampons
This part is exciting to me, as it is the main reason I wanted to switch over in the first place. It’s wonderful not having to make nearly as many tampon purchases! I love being able to dump my cup, wash it, and continue on my merry way. No disposal required! I’m able to save money and cut down on waste, which makes me happy!
No Tampon String Getting in My Way
I know that the string is an integral part of tampons, because we do need to get them out after all! But darn it, that string does get a little annoying. Always having to keep it out of the way and make sure I’m not peeing all over it gets old quickly. With my menstrual cup, I don’t have to worry about any of that! Going to the bathroom with it feels much easier and cleaner than it does with tampons.
Leakage Can Happen, Especially in the Learning Phase
From what I’d read from other people’s experiences, menstrual cups seemed fairly foolproof. Nobody mentioned leakage happening to them, so I had the false impression that it was a rare occurrence with cups.
Unfortunately, the level of trust I’ve established thus far with my cup is quite low. My cup has betrayed me and leaked when I needed it most, which set us off on a bad foot. (I was at work without a tampon and ended up having to stuff my underwear with toilet paper all day. NOT COOL.) Over time I’ve grown to be able to recognize when my cup isn’t placed/suctioned properly, but even then that’s not a guarantee. (Though to be fair to cups, tampons leak too.) And who knows, maybe over time I will become a menstrual cup whisperer and fully be able to prevent all leaks from happening.
For example, I’ve found that yoga and a menstrual cup don’t mix. I unthinkingly went into a brief shoulder stand with my cup in, and I immediately felt the pop of it coming unsuctioned. Next thing you know, I had a major blood leak happening. Was it my smartest moment? No. Could I have thought that through a little more? Probably. But now I know at least!
Menstrual Cups Don’t Always Suction Properly
This positively drives me up the wall when it happens! It’s insanely annoying to be fishing around up in your vagina trying to get your cup to properly pop out and suction as it should. I’ve seriously broken a sweat after trying, again and again, to make that thing fit correctly. The frustration has been real!
After a significant amount of trial and error, I’ve found the seven fold shape to be the most effective for me and my type of cup. (I have a Saalt cup in size small.) I’ve found out the hard way that it’d always important to check that it has unfolded all the way inside you! It may feel like it has expanded, but it’s possible that it is still flattened. Always double-check!
Choosing the Right Cup is Difficult
I think it’s hard to know what is right for you until you’ve actually tried a cup. There are online quizzes that you can take to help you make the choice, like this one from Put a Cup In It. Even so, some of the questions apply to people that have already tried a cup, so you get a better-customized answer if you’ve already had that experience.
When I take the quiz, it recommends that I get the Saalt Soft, which makes sense to me. Considering the issues that I’d had with leaking, the cup not opening, and occasionally feeling pressure on my bladder, I had wondered if maybe I needed a softer cup. I’m not sure yet if I will spring for a second cup, but I will be sure to update this post with my experience if I do!
Overall, despite the unexpected learning curve that came with the cup, I’m happy with the experience I’ve had. It’s comfortable when I get it in the right place, and I can forget that it’s even there. (Unlike tampons and the aforementioned string issues.) If you’re considering getting one, I’d recommend doing your research beforehand to figure out which shape, brand, and size will work best for you. Like most changes, it can be a little intimidating at first. But being able to cut down on waste and save money in the long run makes it worth it!