I got my period for the first time when I was in 5th grade. I stuck to pads for the first few months, but when I found myself in the overwhelming Texas heat the following summer, I really needed to jump in the pool and wasn’t going to let a little blood stop me.
My mom picked up some tampons from the convenience store, and I sat in the bathroom for about a half hour trying to muster up the courage to put it in. From there on out, I’ve had a pretty neutral relationship with tampons—they can be uncomfortable and leaky, but they do the job without requiring me to feel like I’m wearing a diaper for a week out of every month.
I’ve been hearing more and more about menstrual cups via conversation and general internet browsing, so I’ve decided to try it out for the first time and share what I’m hoping will be an awesome new experience!
Day 1: I started bleeding a little at work and put in a tampon despite learning the actual cause of Toxic Shock Syndrome: if your tampon has a higher absorbency than your flow, small pieces of cotton can make little cuts on your vagina walls which then get infected. It made me much more excited to try another method.
Anyway, I used my homeward commute as an opportunity to stop at Whole Foods and pick up a Diva Cup. I asked a woman working in the hygiene/beauty department if she could direct me toward them and her eyes grew wide with excitement. Yes, they’re right over here! I’ve been using one for a while; you’re going to love it. Off to a good start.
Once I got home, I made dinner and examined the contents of the packaging with my roommate. Everything seemed simple enough, so I headed into the bathroom to give it a go.
It took a few tries, but I got the cup in without much discomfort at all. It felt kind of like I had a bubble floating around in my belly so I took it out and put it back in to be sure that I’d done it right and that I was capable of getting the thing out of my body.
Once it was back in, I wiggled around a bit and decided that I was probably just a little gassy (as I often am during my menses). I went to bed pretty much feeling like I had gotten my period minus the blood.
Day 2: I woke up this morning with no leaks and gave thanks to the universe. I don’t think that has ever happened before. Taking the cup out to empty and clean it is definitely more difficult and grody than switching out a tampon, but if that’s the only thing I’ll really have to adjust to, I’ll be ecstatic.
Day 3: I accidentally dropped the cup into the (luckily fresh) toilet bowl this morning when I took it out so I had to clean it extra thoroughly before I could put it back in. I also noticed that I think it’s pushing on my bladder a little bit, but I don’t think it’s much more than tampons usually do. I’m probably at peak flow right now and my underpants have stayed dry, so I’m still a happy girl.
Day 4: I told my mom about my experiment. She thinks I’m being disgusting, but I bet after I make her read this, she’ll be more inclined to consider it. Everybody else I’ve told about it has been really interested to see what I think. I’m still very surprised by the difference in noticeability. I used to think that I couldn’t really feel my tampon when it was in, but I had no idea.
Day 5: Not much to report today, but I would like to convey how completely oblivious I was to the actual amount of gunk that my uterus gets rid of every month. Every time I’ve emptied the cup, I’ve been astounded. It’s pretty gross, but I feel like I’m reaching a level of intimacy with my lady parts that wouldn’t be possible using a pad or tampon.
Takeaway: I think menstrual cups are definitely worth trying. I have seen a few scary reviews online, but in most cases, the problems seem to have arisen from misuse or just forgetting to take them out. I have found mine to be more comfortable than any other type of feminine product I’ve used and love that I’ll be saving money and reducing waste as I continue to use it. I think it’s worth trying if only to see the stuff that comes out of your body, honestly. My reproductive system is magic, as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve decided that menstrual cups are worthy of helping maintain it.