5 women ask whatever they want about menstrual cups
Yes, we know that everyone everywhere has been talking about these damn cups and yet none of us seems to have truly understood how this mysterious little object actually works and how it stays inside us (most of the times...) and how it resolves (or ruins) the life of many women.
Myself included. Since I was still very doubtful about how to use one and its objective efficiency, I decided to find a group of women just as confused as me to finally ask all the questions they've ever had in this regard and still needed answers to.
A., who has been happily using a menstrual cup for years, has (very honestly) clarified many of the doubts that we have been carrying with us for a long time now.
So yeah, women, after reading this you're all going to want to buy one.
V: Doesn't it bother you to have a cup in your vagina?
A: Absolutely not. Actually, the only thing that bothered me was the stem and I cut that out with some scissors. First at one point, then at two and in the end I took it all out.
F: And isn't hard to take it out like that?
A: No! It's really easy to take out. It's like a suction cup you need to take the air out by running your fingers along the edges. Unlike what people think, it's completely clean on the outside.
I: But how deep do you need to put it in?
A: Not that deep, actually. Those who have never used it think it's like a Tampax that has to go all the way up there, but it's not like that. It should be inserted up to the edge of the labia minora and if you have a cup with a longer stem, it often will come out of the 'hole', so as you're walking or moving around a lot you may feel it a little bit on your labia minora (that's why a lot of women end up cutting the stem).
Other cups with a shorter stem simply border on the opening but don't come out. This is why they're really easy to put on and take off.
B: Isn't it gross emptying it out and rinsing it?
A: Girls, no, actually it's much more hygienic than a tampon - that's always grossed me out. It's gross seeing it, grabbing it, taking it out of our underwear... same thing for the tampon. Menstrual cups are much cleaner. You take it, empty it out in the toilet and then you rinse it out in the bidet. It feels much cleaner and you don't end up with all that horrible oxygenated blood instead, it's more normal.
B: So you don't find any brown blood by the end of the day…
A: No, and it's a fantastic feeling!
N: But how often do you need to change it?
A: Theoretically every 12 hours but I have a pretty heavy flow so I try to change it as often as possible. In quarantine I'd end up changing it even every 2 hours if that's how I was feeling, you know.
Instead, for women with a lighter flow, it's really child's play: it's not like a tampon that after a certain amount of hours you need to change because it becomes toxic. The only risk you run into with menstrual cups is that they will fill up before you realize, but before they can fill up it takes a lot!
F: But, sorry, in a situation of discomfort like when you're at university and you leave in the morning and come back at night, how do you manage?
A: Well exactly, you can keep it in for 12 hours. Otherwise you can just empty it out in the toilet and bring a bottle of water with you to rinse it out and then you put it back in. If you don't have a heavy flow you really can last an entire day with it.
B: And no little lumps remain?
A: No, everything goes away! Even if you were in an extremely uncomfortable situation and you can't wash it, just empty it out in the toilet and put it back in. Then you wash your hands and you're done. Surely it's not any less hygienic that pulling up your underwear with the same pad you were wearing before and using it again. There you'll really find lumps and what else.
I: So how do you understand when it's full?
A: No, that you really don't understand unfortunately. You just have to remember about it every once in a while.
I: And doesn't it all come out when it becomes too full?
A: Honestly, the first times I tried one I would use pads as well, just to be sure. And in reality, the first days I still do use them because I have a heavy flow. Anyway, it's never happened to me that it's overflowed.
More than anything, the problem is when you put it in poorly but that you get used to eventually just like tampons.
F: I have a friend that's had one for a while and she still has difficulties and often it overflows. So how do you manage, especially without the stem, to put it in and take it out so easily without making a mess?
A: The point is that it really shouldn't be taken out from the stem because it really hurts and it's vacuumed sealed in there, so it's like pulling a suction cup that was attached on the inside of your vagina. For some women, the first times can be really difficult, like tampons, I repeat, but don't discourage yourselves and try to find your own method to put it in and take it out properly.
Either way, the cup adapts to you and if you take two steps or you move a bit, she adjusts herself. Every vagina is different and not everyone is going to insert it straight, maybe for some of you it's better if it's a little oblique.
N: Okay, I know that it's not disposable, but at some point you must have to change it! After how long?
A: There's people that have even waited 10 years before changing it... Being made of surgical silicon it sterilizes in boiling water so it's really simple to keep clean and not ruin for a long period of time.
[they laugh, saying that environmentalists might start making a pasta out of it. Or tea.]
A: No, but anyway you wash it as well as you can before you boil it in the pan.
[they laugh again, now they want to do a collection of blood from the cups for splatter films.]
V: But if you're out with a guy and you start to... do some things. Does he feel it? And you? Do you need to tell him?
A: What would you do if you had a tampon?
V: I don't know, just play it off until we don't get to that actual point..
A: Yep, you do exactly the same.
F: Have you ever tried to have sex with the menstrual cup?
A: Absolutely not, you're not supposed to. Don't do it.
B: So after a while, does it get stained?
A: Absolutely not, surgical silicon doesn't stain.
V: Last question, how much does it cost?
A: I bought the best one that won the awards for no allergens, the OrganiCup and it costs 19,90 euros (on Amazon it costs a little more) but you can find a lot of promotions on their website. Otherwise there are some other excellent menstrual cups on Amazon for around 12 euros.
I: To conclude, any advice for those who are still reluctant?
A: I'm telling you it's 10/10 choice, it's environmentally friendly and costs so so little. Once you learn how to use it, it will change your life. At worst, you can watch some video tutorials, they really exist.