Today I hit the jackpot. I found a treasure trove of menstrual cups in Prague. I know, not really what you were expecting to hear but I’ve been looking for a shop that sells them for several months.
Why is this discovery exciting? Because I’ve seen the light. I’ve realized there is a better way to deal with my period. One that is better for the planet, better for bunnies…yes bunnies, cheaper, and much convenient, especially when I’m traveling.
Why I Initially Decided to Try Menstrual Cups
For the past four years I’ve traveled to over 20 different countries. One of the biggest surprises is that tampons are not readily available in most places in the world, and when they are, they usually come without applicators.
I was talking to a friend about my never ending global search for tampons when she recommended I give menstrual cups a try.
I was, to put it mildly, hesitant. I’ve been a loyal tampon user since I was sixteen years old. If you happen to know my age then you know that’s a long time. I’ve also read a few articles/horror stories from women who tried them and had some pretty embarrassing experiences. Plus, I had a lot of questions like: How does it fit in there? How do I get it in? Dear god, how do I get it out? and How do you keep those things clean?
Anyway, one of the things Amelia pointed out that really made me consider them, was that tampons and pads are incredibly bad for the environment. In fact, the average woman throws away 250-300 pounds of menstruation products, including as many as 16,800 tampons, in her lifetime. It didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t want anything to do with creating so much unnecessary waste, and I wanted to give menstrual cups a try.
My Menstrual Cup Fail
It turns out that finding menstrual cups in Prague, where I’m based, isn’t easy. After visiting several natural health stores, it seemed like they simply didn’t exist here. Eventually I found a Czech site that sold menstrual cups and promptly ordered the one suggested for my age.
For the first time in my life I looked forward to having my period so I could test out the menstrual cup. The day arrived and after a bit of wrangling I got the thing in place. Then I waited.
I thought I was in heaven. Aside from having a bit of difficulty inserting and removing it, the cup worked perfectly. It was even better than using tampons because I could leave it in for longer eh…periods of time, there was no waste, or uncomfortable string hanging outside my body. All of my hesitations about using menstrual cups seemed to have been totally unnecessary.
Of course, that didn’t last long. On day two, when my flow was stronger, the cup leaked.
I turned to the internet to try and figure what I had done wrong. There were so many reasons why it could be leaking I felt a little overwhelmed. It may not be inserted far enough in, it may be inserted too far in, it might not be open all the way, or perhaps it didn’t create a seal. Maybe my cervix were sitting inside the cup, or under the cup, or on top of it. Christ, who knew the cervix could move around so much!?!
Eventually I came to the conclusion that the cup I had was too big. I needed a smaller one. I headed to the store and, not wanting to fork over another $25.00 I opted for a box of tampons and a bar of chocolate instead.
I almost decided to give up on the idea of replacing tampons with a menstrual cup, but I discovered something shocking. Tampons aren’t vegan!
Tampons Aren’t Vegan and They’re Toxic?
One night I came across a video titled “Are Tampons Vegan? Are they Safe?” by Bite Sized Vegan.
The video explains exactly why tampons aren’t vegan, and as a bonus also explains that tampons actually contain toxic ingredients. Disclaimer: the things they do to bunnies to “test” tampons is totally fucked up. Have a look if you want to be horrified every time you think about inserting those things inside your body.
After watching the video I realized that I had to give menstrual cups another shot.
How I Won My Menstrual Cup Fight
During my original two day experiment with my menstrual cup, I learned a few things. One – my cervix can be a real jerk and likes to move around, get in the way, or hide from me. Two – the cup I had was too big (or that’s what I thought anyway).
I decided to buy a smaller cup. In fact I bought the smallest one on the market. It’s made by LadyCup and comes in a bunch of pretty colors. It was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
I’ve been using menstrual cups now for two years and I’ve learned a lot. For example, “bigger isn’t always better”. At least for me…sometimes. Some days I need the bigger one and some days I need the smaller one. It all depends on my flow, and where my cervix has decided to hangout on that particular day.
I also learned that it’s important to make sure my menstrual cup is completely open and has formed a seal. It’s also a really good idea to cut off the stem if you don’t want it to poke you when you’re going about your day (trust me that is not a pleasant feeling). I even know that some people find that cups work better if they’re turned inside out before inserting them. I tried it once and it’s a good trick if yours is leaking because you can’t get it to form a seal.
I’ve also learned so much about my body, specifically my vagina and what comes out of it. For example, I now know what my cervix feels like, that I really don’t lose that much blood during my period, and that the texture, color, and consistency of said blood changes from day to day. I think it’s all quite interesting but I’m sure there are many women that aren’t as keen to make these discoveries as I was. However, I really don’t think there is any reason why we should’t be knowledgable about our bodies and our cycle. Especially, when we have to deal with having our period every single month during our reproductive years.
Finally, the biggest thing I learned is that there is a much better way to deal with your period. One that is better for the environment, kinder to animals, and cheaper, more convenient, and more healthy for me. I’m really happy I stuck with it, and hope you’ll give menstrual cups a try (or two) too.
Where to Get a Menstrual Cup
You can find a wide variety of menstrual cups on Amazon, in natural health and bios shops, or in some drug stores.
Have you tried menstrual cups? Do you have a question about them? Leave a comment below.
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