OK, I suppose I should preface this article with a disclaimer (or confession…) that I’ve never owned or used a menstrual cup before. So this was my first ‘go’ as it were. That’s right – menstrual cup virgin. I’ve heard all about them, read up on them, had their merits expounded upon by my eco-friendly, chemically conscious, yoni-loving and menstrual celebrating friends, but never quite taken the plunge. So the time was ripe, menstrual cups and I were officially about to get hitched.
So first things first, got to go and buy myself one of those little suckers. So off to the chemists I go and after a fruitless wander around the aisles thought I’d better ask for some help. My request to the woman at the counter was greeted with bemusement, bordering on disgust and repulsion. “A what? A menstrual cup? She looked decidedly uncomfortable. I might as well have asked her for a silver chalice that I was going to collect my sacred drops in and drink in some bizarre, black magic ritual. Fearing that I was about to be ousted by an angry mob of villagers I made a hasty retreat. The health food store was also without said sanitary ware, so I returned home empty handed. Best go on the tinternet then and find some there I thought merrily to myself, trying desperately to feel I wasn’t being too out there. It’s not kinky? Is it? Pfftt…now why would I worry about my internet searches? So I threw caution to the wind and let fly.
“A what? A menstrual cup? She looked decidedly uncomfortable. I might as well have asked her for a silver chalice that I was going to collect my sacred drops in and drink in some bizarre, black magic ritual
Jesus, mother of God!!? You want how much?? I wasn’t planning on spending between $55 and $65, so off to Ebay I go ( I know, I know, needs to be the real deal, how do you know it’s going to be sanitary? Is it TGA or FDA approved?…). So anyways I find myself the most gorgeous cup. The LadyCup (made in the EU under Swiss management. And anything that’s Swiss must be kosher hey?) Yep, also totally swayed by the adorable drawstring bag with cherries on and the ‘Limited Edition’ ‘Wild Cherry’ red of the cup itself. Me, shallow? Nahhhh. That’s the totally cool thing about these thingy-ma-jigs, menstrual cups come in an astonishing array of capacities, colours, materials, pliability, shapes, textures and sizes.
Ok…the size thing. I’d noticed that some menstrual cup brands refer to cups being suitable for light flow or medium/heavy flow. However, the LadyCup is either S(mall) or L(arge), with the S(mall) being “suitable for a women who has not given birth to a child” (since I checked we don’t give birth to too much else, other than placentas, but hey ho) or “women up to the age of 25”. So what’s with that? Yes, I’m a woman who is most definitely over 25 years old, yes I’ve given birth vaginally (to a child last time I checked), but do I really want the L(arge) size?? Shudder…fuck I realised, I have come to that stage in my life where I’m to be measured by the girth of my loins…the ‘Does she have a fanny like a bucket?’ stage. Or maybe I’m reading too much into that very large L…Not withstanding it was all a little too much to bear.
So I girded my loins and praised sweet Jesus that I hadn’t had to go to some store and have the store assistant bellow across the counter at me and to her boss in the adjacent aisle, “Do we have a menstrual cup for this lady here? What size was it dear? Oh yes, that’s right, the mahoosive, you’ll-never-touch-the-sides, its-like-throwing-a-sausage-down-an-alleyway-mate vagina size, the L(arge). Gulp. I clicked on and ordered the L(arge). So maybe a word to the manufacturers/marketers/whoever of LadyCup on the sizing – never, I repeat , never refer to anything that’s going up a va-jayjay as ‘Large’ (unless it’s an impressive dildo). LadyCup have a little rethink about your sizing categories. And no, before you do it, don’t relabel the L(arge) as ‘mature’ or something of that ilk. Right? Right.
So casting aside my little sensitivities, let’s get on with this review huh? The LadyCup comes in two sizes, in an array of colours (transparent, lavender, wild cherry, summer plum, sweet strawberry, turquoise, green, yellow, blue, pink, orange and lilac) and is made of medical silicone. This material is smooth and hygienic and I didn’t notice any harsh chemical smells or residues either, which I thought there might be with it being such a bright colour.
After washing my dirty mitts I sterilised the new cup by boiling it a while, which is kind of weird watching a pan of water with a menstrual cup bobbing away in there. But hygiene’s important right.
It’s super squishy too, so I could easily fold it into a kind of tampon shape for easy insertion and it popped into place beautifully around my cervix. Probably a little too easily for my liking, I was kind of expecting a re-run of my first tampon experience as an adolescent (shudders just a little bit). But I suppose with many menstrual flows under your belt you are going to be a little more adept at putting these things in huh? It went in even smoother when I did as suggested and wet it a little, but I don’t feel you’d necessarily need to go the whole hog and get the lube they also sell.
I found that YouTubing ‘How to Insert a Menstrual Cup’ was helpful too. This is the one I looked at:
I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable it was, I though t it might feel heavy or suction-y, but I actually couldn’t notice it all. Then it came to that part I was a little nervous about, getting the thing out. It states in the literature that you can safely leave the cup in for 12 hours of protection, but being a vigilant three hourly tampon changer, this just didn’t sit too comfy with me. This was where the instructions on the box hadn’t been too helpful (and could possibly do with a little editing LadyCup). It read “When removing LadyCup for the first time, it is and after the pressure is relieved, pull important to remain calm and maintain the inner relaxation of your body”. I guessed the general jist was to chill out and break the suction. So I did that and, hey presto, out it come. I did the first ‘getting it out’ in the shower, as I worried that I would send showers of menses all up the wall like some horrifying horror flick. But I didn’t and it was OK!! Hooray. Loved seeing that little pool of ecologically collected menses and was pleasantly surprised that there was no offensive smell. Just smelt kind of like breast milk (which is weird, but cool at the same time).
I worried that I would send showers of menses all up the wall like some horrifying horror flick. But I didn’t and it was OK!! Hooray.
Were there any drawbacks in my LadyCup menstrual adventure? Only the one. There were a few leaks on the first couple of days when flow was a little heavier, but I’m going to give the LadyCup another go, give her the benefit of the doubt as it was my first trial run too. She’s now snugly in her little cherry print bed, happily boiled in her sterilised best, waiting for our next sorjourn. And yes, I am referring to her with a pronoun, we are intimate after all.