Menstrual cups are having a moment and we all love a bit of cup chat. But no two menstrual cup stories are the same. We spoke to four different TOTM cup users to hear what they’ve discovered since getting theirs…
If you’re just discovering menstrual cups, you probably have lots of questions. Some of the main reasons people choose to switch to menstrual cups are for environmental reasons and to save money. But, making the switch to something so different from what you are used to can be daunting. Remember you don’t HAVE to switch to a menstrual cup. Periods are personal so it’s about finding what works for YOU. But if you are intrigued and have lots of questions, then hearing stories from other people can help. Read on to hear some real experience stories.
Louise, primary school teacher
My cup has taught me so much about my body.
“Before I bought my cup, as I do with most things, I researched hard. I quickly learnt that it was worth getting to know my cervix. I read that understanding whether it’s high or low can help you position your cup best for your shape to reduce your chances of leaks. To check, I used my finger to measure and it turned out that mine’s about average in terms of height. It felt cool to learn something new about my body!
Also, since using my cup, I’ve found it really interesting (and strangely fascinating) to come face-to-face with my blood. With tampons, I never saw the consistency or realised the changes in colour that happen to your blood throughout your period. My blood can be goopy, hard to flush and can sometimes contain small clumps. And there wasn’t as much blood as I thought there’d be. It’s kind of satisfying to get to know what your body’s up to and work out what’s normal.
Adele, freelance journalist
Sterilizing your cup in a shared house…
“When I first got my cup, I obviously wanted to sterilize it before using it. I text a friend who was already using one, “Just stick it in a pan of boiling water for like 10 mins”. At the time, I was living in a shared house – with shared pans. I thought, no big deal, it’s new, unused. I popped my cup in any pan to sterilize. Within moments I heard my housemates key in the door. It was my male housemate, who came bounding into the kitchen to see what I was cooking. To my surprise, he wasn’t shocked, awkward or grossed out – he was actually pretty fascinated by this little cup bobbing around in hot water.”
Naomi, freelance photographer
Don’t rush. For some, persistence is key
“Thanks to irregular periods, I had a lengthy wait between the day I decided I wanted to try a cup and the day my period finally turned up. I’m not sure if it was this long wait or my general impatience with most things, but I rushed for my new cup and, after reading a lot of glowing reviews from cup converts, felt excited for it to instantly transform my life. Goodbye tampons, goodbye pads, hello planet-saving period freedom!
But, this was not the case. I rushed my cup in and, impatient as I am, within two hours was already keen to know if it was doing its thing. When I checked my cup, I realised it had not opened. It had acted as a barrier for my blood but not collected it. The scramble to remove my cup this time was messy and painful. I gave up and, feeling defeated, went back to a trusty organic pad. The next day, I tried again. I used a different fold to insert it and used my fingers to check if it was open fully. It wasn’t and despite trying to turn it, it just wouldn’t ‘pop’ open.
With all the positive press around cups, I felt deflated and disappointed. I felt like there was this big cup party going on and I was on the outside looking in. My period passed, but before giving up entirely I decided to go back to the drawing board. To try to solve the issue of it not opening fully, I bought a smaller cup size. I also read up on using a menstrual cup with a tilted uterus, something I had been told I have since my first smear test. I read that those with a tipped or tilted uterus may have to practice more to find a cup angle that suits them best and that this can take a few cycles to get used to. Immediately I felt less alone and more willing to persevere.
My last period has just finished and I had two slightly more successful attempts of using my cup. I’m currently still using pads and tampons when I’m in a hurry, but slowly building up trust in my cup when I’m at home and able to give it my time – and patience. I’m looking forward to using a cup becoming second nature to me, but have learnt to stop putting pressure on myself in the meantime.”
Emily, theatre producer
They’re not the only cups that are better for the environment…
“I was going away with work for a week but realised that I’d left my reusable coffee cup at home. I’ve been trying to get into a better habit of keeping it with me at all times, especially when I’m away from home. I knew that my boyfriend would be passing my work that day on his commute, so I text to ask him to bring my KeepCup to me.
When he turned up at my work later that day, he proudly handed me my menstrual cup. By the time I had stopped laughing, he realised his mix up. In his defence, my menstrual cup and my KeepCup are both pink! I am just happy to have a boyfriend who is comfortable enough with my cup that he’s happy to carry it through London and bring it to me if I ever need it.
Thanks to Louise, Adele, Naomi and Emily for sharing their cup stories with us. For more menstrual cup chat, read Meera’s experience here.