To cup or not to cup, is that a serious question?

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Indeed, it is.

Now, before I get down to business, I need to let you know that this blog entry will totally be about my personal experience with the menstrual cup (and that I have used red paint in some pictures) Panic? Don’t fret my friends, I will give you two options:

No.1: continue reading! (highly recommended)
No.2: back out slowly as you cover your blushing cheeks in utter horror

For all of you, who decided to stay- Thank you!!

I do understand that some of you lovely Men amongst us, might consider this to be more of a “Woman’s thing”-whatever that means.
I am, however,convinced that the wisdom (yeah right) I am going to share will be beneficial to all members of society.
The more you know the better, Spread the news!

Please note that this “review” will be based on my personal research and experience only.
I am no doctor, gynecologist nor am I an expert. So before trying anything out, I urge you to carry out your own research and consult someone higher up in the wisdom Chain.

Why am I doing this?
Well I have to say that it is the love for mother earth and as my teacher once said:

“Back in the old ‘Bismarck- Zuckerbrot und Peitsche-days’, German kids were taught to cry whenever a tree was cut down”.

I can confirm that these teachings were still trickling through to my generation and showed us how to love nature and be as resourceful as possible. My school (Nachbarschaftsschule) was an  “experimental” school  at the time and was mockingly named “ TREE SCHOOL”, by some.
I rather enjoyed being a tree hugging Hippie, who had the freedom to go to school barefoot and doing cartwheels on meadows in the afternoon.
What a privilege to be encouraged by your teachers, to be creative and mindful.

How about that cup now?
I don’t know if it was over pub lunch or a stroll over the Covent Garden market, when my ever-resourceful unicorn mentioned the Menstrual cup to me. As I understood it, the cup was made out of silicon and was used to collect blood instead of absorbing it like a Tampon or Sanitary towel, which might sound a little weird- yes I agree, but as a convinced Tampon user, I started picturing that little piece of cotton, stuck in my body soaking up with bodily fluids and suddenly the cup wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

 


According to various accounts, it can also be re-used for something like 10 years, when looked after properly.
Then there was the “Chemical/Plastic- where the heck does all that stuff go?”- issue.
Have you ever read the little “package insert” thoroughly whenever you bought a pack of Tampons/Sanitary towels? -I can’t say I had-

It turned out that the Tampons I had been using for years on end were made from Viscose with a polyester/polyethylene cover (The stuff that some plastic bags are made of…REALLY?) and a cotton or Polyester cotton cord. Blimey.

When I found out that it can take  centuries for a regular Tampon to decompose and realised that I had been feeding our ever-growing landfills, I switched over to 100% organic cotton Tampons immediately, which apparently, took only up to 5 years to turn their back on earth.


 


Overreacting?
“Come on now-How many Tampons do Women in this world really use in their lifetime?” The answer is: More than you think!
Opinions vary but last time I checked the number was somewhere between billions and “Are you kidding me?” So I felt it was definitely time to get with the programme.

How to choose the right cup?
After some light research I knew that picking the right cup was a little bit like finding the right bra size, which had already taken me about 15 years. My initial thought was therefore: Not this again!
As Women come in all different sizes and shapes – (yes, I mean internally) there are differently designed cups to accommodate this. Big, small, long, short, wide, narrow, you name it. Now how in the world am I supposed to know how long or wide my cervix is?
Measure tape anyone? -Let’s just leave it up to trial and error, shall we?

 

So it begins
A few days later my Athena cup arrived and I could not wait to try it out.
I will spare you the details of how I finally got it to sit in the right position but just so you get a little bit of an understanding, it somewhat reminded me of the invasion let by William the Conqueror in 1066 and definitely felt like that too. But on a serious note…

How do you get this blimming thing in?
It is not as simple as it seems at first, but once I figured out a technique that worked for me, it got easier every time I used it. If you are planning to give it a go, just remember: Nobody is watching (ideally), so if you have to fold your legs over your right shoulder- whilst doing a little belly dance routine- go for it.

1.Fold it into a “U-shape”, insert and push it into place, so it sits comfortably in your cervix, but not too deep as this will cause leakage

2. Once you feel like its secure- let it go and wait for the little victory pop, if you don’t hear it, don’t fret, you can still dance a victory Macarena (remember no one is watching).

3.To ensure that nothing will go passed the cup, get in there and work yourself around it. There shouldn’t be any dramatic dents and you shouldn’t feel a thing.

It’s all in the wrist baby.

 

Can you still do your normal toilet duties wearing it?
Was literally the first thing I goggled as I was sitting on the toilet and the answer is ABSOLUTELY! This cup does not limit me to anything. Some even say that you can have Sex wearing one. How? I do not know! but then again, I was never great at physics.Whenever I felt any discomfort whilst going to the toilet (probably because I hadn’t mastered my wrist technique yet), I just took it out for a few minutes and Boom!

Can you exercise with it?
Was another of my concerns, especially when you have a crazy Zumba teacher like Hayley, who makes sure you tumble around whilst doing an almost handstand and booty-shake simultaneously. I can honestly say that this cup always stayed in place and that I couldn’t feel a thing!Try it! (and by that I mean the ZUMBA)

How do you know the cup is full?
Knowing if your cup had enough, is not much different to finding out if your Tampon needs changing.When it starts leaking you know that it is time to empty that bad boy.
The more you use it, the easier it gets to determine how often you should change it, without letting the uncomfortable mayhem commence in your underpants.As some Women have heavier periods than others it is hard to say how long you can leave the cup in for. (this also depends on what size cup you get)
My personal “record”,is currently just over 10 hours on a heavier day, some even leave it in over 24 hours… and they still live to tell the tale.

How to get this thing out of ya?
You know how they say, “it is always easier to break in, not so easy to break out”.
When I first tried to take it out, the cup seemed to have disappeared into the darkness of infinity and trying to stay calm was almost impossible. I could feel the end of the cup but could not grab it and was also worried that if I pulled too hard it would rip and be lost forever. When I had puzzled together a plausible story for the A&E department, I suddenly remembered that I did have muscles I could use (Strong by Zumba,I kid you not!)and immediately got into a squat- birthing position.

IT WORKED!

I managed to grab each sides of the cup (as you should)and pull it out smoothly. Phew!
I am happy to tell you that I never lost it again and have now developed a technique that doesn’t involve the emergency department. Victory is MINE!

Not for the faint hearted
Now I will say this, if you are easily repulsed by your own bodily fluids, to the point of physical sickness, this cup is not for you.I was reminded of horror scenes which involved the sacrifice of a small pig when I first emptied it, luckily I was in the bathtub, so the evidence was easily flushed away.
When I felt confident enough to wear the cup outside the comfort of my home I was faced with the challenge of having to empty it in public.The prospect of having someone come up next to me whilst I am casually cleaning my cup, wasn’t really something I wanted to experience, even though this would have been quite a conversation starter.
So how else can you do it?
Just empty it into the toilet and wipe it clean with toilet paper and back it goes.Another option would be to carry a small bottle of water with you, so you can rinse it whilst you are in your little cubicle.- not that difficult after all ay?
They do sell Menstrual cup cleansers, which I have never tried to be honest but a thorough rinse with soap and warm water always did the trick for me.
Some also boil it in hot water, mainly after their cycle has come to and end.
10 minutes should be enough to disinfect it and prepare it for next time.Just make sure you keep an eye on it. There are stories of cups going up in flames in the kitchen- oh yes!
Think of the story you will have to come up for the fire-brigade! The horror!

So what do we think?
Apart from a few little escapades at the beginning, I can honestly say that I LOVE IT.
The discovery of the Menstrual cup made me get in touch with my body on a whole different level (No shit!) and helped me to get one step closer in my pursuit of living a more sustainable and environmentally conscious life. Apart from saving heaps of money or no longer being in the position of running out of Tampons, I feel more comfortable and safer wearing it opposed to Tampons.
Listening to your body is always a good idea so if you want to stick to Tampons and sanitary towels out of personal preference or because you have already tried this cup and it didn’t work- you go for it girl.
I would urge you to  consider going for a more environmentally friendlier version,if you haven’t done so already.  There are  100% organic cotton options or  even re-usable Sanitary towels. The alternatives, to help this planet,  are there, so why not make an effort to at least look into it?

As our teachers sang to us on our first day of school:

“Many little people, in many little places, who take many little steps, can change the face of the world”

And if you can make a  difference with a silicon Menstrual cup, why not?

 

 

 

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