Thicker than Water (a menstrual cup post)

22 September 2010

This post is not for the faint of heart. It is about a blood bank for your cervix. Consider yourself warned. I have crossed over into the world of menstrual cup, a land unknown to many. It is a silicone cup that you insert during your period to collect blood, in lieu of a tampon or pad. This month was my first round with it, so I am still learning.

Here’s how it works: you order it online (unless you have a great hippie pediatrician), sanitize it in boiling water, figure out which insertion technique works best, and leave it in up to 12 hours (officially, or longer, unofficially). Then remove, rinse, and replace. You can sleep, work all day, and be physically active without removing it. Don’t go camping; bears smell blood. Is it messy? A little. You have to pour out your blood/lining/unused eggs into the toilet, which I find interesting but many find gross. You also get blood on your fingers when inserting, but that happens sometimes anyway. It’s not like now I have to wash my hands, which I never did before. There are different brands and after much research, I went with Fleurcup. Bottom line: I want something French inside me. Or; it’s French, that’s how you know it’s good. I haven’t tried any others but this one is working for me.  There are many brands and the popular American brand is Diva Cup. People also like the Lunette but it is a little smaller than I wanted. There are typically two different sizes and they are simply based on your age and whether or not you have given birth. Pretty simple. See below for resources.

Think this is gross? I really don’t care. I think everything period-related is equally gross. It’s your body, it’s natural, deal with it.

Benefits:

-Save money. A menstrual cup costs about $20-$30 and can last up to 20 years. I spend about $10 a month on disposable products, so in two months I have recouped the investment. In ten years, I have saved over $1000.

-It loves the environment. I am not throwing out dirty paper products that have been bleached with chemicals and scented with fragrance.

-More productivity (maybe your boss will foot the bill). You don’t have to go to the bathroom every hour on heavy days (is that just me? I fear I have shared too much).

-No dry scraping if you remove it too early. It is not absorbing everything.

-No string hanging out. Which also means you can wear it with lingerie, but why sexy nightwear when 1994 made such awesome sweat pants?

-You don’t feel anything.

-They have not been associated with TSS.

-You get to pick your own color. I don’t know why that matters, but it does.

-They have been around since the 1930s and are popular in Europe. They are more advanced than we are in a hygiene area?

Awkward:

-You see your blood and lining.

-Your fingers get messy.

-There is a 2-3 cycle learning curve and it can be tricky figuring out how to insert/remove.

Tips:

-Squirt bottle. If you have given birth, they give you these free squirt bottles that probably have a medical name. They are a great help for rinsing out fluids.

-You should not feel the cup. If you do, trim the stem. I trimmed the stem completely off.

-Don’t put it in and out too often. Just trust that it’s in there, doing its job.

-If you do need to empty it when you’re out, just keep some toilet wipes or a water bottle with you. Or use the handicap stall.

Next up: reusable pads?

Resources:

A blog dedicated to menstrual cups

Size comparison chart, by brand

Overall comparison chart, based on one person’s experience

Another comparison chart

Fleurcup Review

Menstrual Cups on Amazon

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10 Responses to “Thicker than Water (a menstrual cup post)”

  1. RaeAnn Says:

    I have started to put a few comments and then back out. So chickn. I will leave the t.m.i. to you. I like the openness though.

  2. holisticfolk Says:

    haha, i love how you posted about this. I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a while. I’ve been using seventh generation and natrCare products but I definitely wanna give this a try!

  3. Carolina Says:

    What about leakage? I’ve wondered about these for a while… If I wear one for my kickboxing class, will bears attack me?
    I have not given birth, why do you need a squirt bottle? I feel like I want one too… Just saying

  4. therobynnest Says:

    I want to show Andy how funny you are but I’m afraid he would not see the humor for the trees.

    Did you have to buy the xl for your big vag?

  5. Callee Says:

    Hey B,
    We’ll have to talk after your 2-3 cycle learning curve. I am interested. Thanks for the info.

  6. brooke rains Says:

    @Carolina-You are much more likely to have a shark attack in a kickboxing class, so watch out for them. When you give birth, you have to spray yourself down every 10 minutes because it is a body fluid train wreck.

    @Robyn-I had to order the “Kitchen Size Tall” cup.

  7. Katie Says:

    I thought about going this route after having Trey 3 years ago, but I was afraid of the “messiness” and got an IUD instead. My IUD stopped my period almost altogether. I’ll have to remember to check back with you after I have it removed (it’s only good for 5 yrs) because the cost for this particular IUD was roughly $575. Your route is MUCH more cost friendly!

  8. B-dog Says:

    I love mine. Once you figure out what works best for you, it’s easy. I love not worrying about over-flowing a tampon or being dry because the one I used was too absorbent or about a string dangling. I just change it in the shower. I only had a leak once and it was my fault for not making sure the seal was right. Luckily, I wear cloth pads just in case. I love those too!

  9. Shana Says:

    So informative! I’m ordering one as we speak!

  10. JOe Says:

    thanks..fleurcup is one of my first choice (I’m terribly undecided between fleurcup,meluna and mooncup) it’s nice to have one more review. (and I really love the way you wrote and handed everything).
    p.s. in Europe we aren’t more advanced at all….at least not in Italy…where even most of the doctors and gynaecologist don’t have an idea about what a menstrual cup is….


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