So periods. They’re inconvenient, awkward, painful and annoying. But there are many different methods of making this awkward annoying painful inconvenience less of an inconvenience. I’m talking period products. Today, I’m talking about one period product in particular - the menstrual cup.
For anyone who doesn’t know what periods are, if you’re young and haven’t had one yet or you just haven’t had them explained to you, periods are when a woman or any person with a uterus bleeds from their vagina for 3-7 days, once a month. The uterus is where a baby grows and the lining of the uterus thickens in order to prepare for a fertilised egg to implant and grow into a baby. If an egg hasn’t been fertilised then the uterus lining will begin to ‘shed’ and you will start to bleed.
A menstrual cup is pretty much what it says in the name. It is a cup which a period-having person places inside the vagina to catch the blood and neatly contain it. It can hold the blood for up to 12 hours, depending on your cycle and flow, and then you simply take it out, rinse it clean and re-insert. It is totally different to a pad which sits in your underwear to soak up the blood but it is very similar to a tampon, as you also insert a tampon, but the tampon sits higher than a menstrual cup and you have to replace tampons every 4 hours, just like a pad. So all in all, a menstrual cup seems much more convenient.
The only thing is I had a disastrous experience with using a menstrual cup. Now when I say disastrous, I’m not exaggerating - in fact, even then I’m probably undermining my experience. For the first 12 hours of wearing it, I thought it was God’s gift to women. It was comfortable, there was no mess, no worries about it leaking. So it was a bit difficult to get in at first but once I’d got the knack, it slid in no problem. I was convinced that I was a menstrual cup convert. No more buying pads or tampons ever again. That was until I came to take it out. 12 hours later, off I pop to the toilet to take it out. 20 minutes later, I am still in the toilet. It becomes an hour later, then an hour and a half. It turns out, these cups aren’t that easy to get out. In fact, for me it was that difficult that the following afternoon I ended up in A&E.
It's safe to say that, due to my experience, I will never be using a menstrual cup ever again. That's not to say that they are all bad though. Plenty of people have used them with no issues at all. So here are some of the advantages of using a menstrual cup.
But then there are of course still some disadvantages.
So there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to using a cup. Personally I would not recommend trying a menstrual cup as the fear of it not coming out is way too great and I can't guarantee that it won't happen to someone else. Plus, they are a relatively new product for periods so how can you guarantee their safety?
However, ultimately the decision is yours. It's your body and you need to do what is right for you and your period.