**Warning! This post is meant for those with female parts who experience a period as part of their cursed biological function. Proceed at your own risk.**
Welcome! For those of us who know the pain of a period coming approximately every 28 days, 13 times a year where sometimes no amount of yoga, chocolate or curling up in a ball around a heating pad can minimize the pain you feel on a regular basis… seriously, periods are the worst.
You know what’s even better? It turns out your cramps are supposed to lessen as you get older… not get increasingly worse. (Someone tell my body, please. I’m begging you)
Not to mention the toll this plays on our wallets as we shell out with the pink tax.
Or how we don’t know what exactly is in our tampons and what we’re putting into our body just so we don’t feel disgusting 24/7.
Or the toll on the environment as we have multiple single-use tampons and pads half the population throws away every month.
Plus think about homeless women and the challenge this poses for them on a regular basis.
And I haven’t even mentioned the septic system, the smell, and not getting a full night’s sleep for a quarter of my life simply because pads are the worst and toxic shock syndrome is a real thing.
What’s a girl to do?
Well, I made a small change that, honestly, took a lot of guts.
**Cue every womanly insecurity I’ve ever had… and here we go.**
Have you heard of a menstrual cup yet? Turns out they’ve been around longer than I knew (80 years!!!), though I only heard about them in 2017.
But I heard about them on the internet, not from a friend who had a cup, so I didn’t really know what to do.
I saw a video ad on Facebook talking about the toxins in our tampons, and the best solution was to use a menstrual cup instead . Later I saw an ad about a celebrity who tried a menstrual cup and loved it despite basically learning how to have a period again. Her insecurity in trying something new was probably the best thing I could have seen to make me change how I dealt with my period.
A few months later, after talking to my mom (who had heard of them but didn’t know much about them), Happy New Year to myself… I bought a menstrual cup.
There are a lot of brands out there though, so I started by taking a menstrual cup quiz. I took this one, but you can just Google “menstrual cup quiz” and take whichever one(s) you want.
The quiz told me to get a Lena Cup because of my activity level and size.
What eventually sold me on this one was its design specifically for menstrual cup beginners, the patented bell shape to help minimize leaks, and that they’re registered and regulated with the FDA.
So I bought one, read all the instructions and used it in January. First period of the year, only a few liners used (just in case).
Unfortunately, it turns out my beginner’s luck extends to periods too. For the next 4 months I was miserable… extreme cramps, leaking, buying more liners than was really necessary… Was month 1 a fluke, or were the next 5 periods because I don’t understand my body?
I am so glad that it was the latter. And even with the trouble I had, I spent way less money than usual and only had to use a package or two of liners, nothing else.
This isn’t sponsored by Lena Cup or anything, but I have to say… their customer support is by far the best I have ever received for anything.
In those miserable period weeks, not only did they help by answering questions and sending a different sized cup to try for free, but they sought to understand me through my insecure rambling. I got the canned answers (which were helpful) as well as personal experience help.
Finally, just in time for summer, everything clicked. I’ve now been through multiple periods without incident. Cramps were minimal, leakage is almost zero, and I used one liner for a couple hours just to be safe.
I feel better, I can sleep all night (no gross pads and you can wear a cup for a 12 full hours), and the bathroom trash isn’t taken out nearly as often.
This was a small change that made a difference both for myself and the environment, and I am so glad I did it.
Next on my list for menstrual cups is to find out if there are any programs specifically giving out menstrual cups to homeless women and teaching them how to use them. Managing periods is a huge pain, and I can’t imagine it without a personal bathroom to use.
Thinking about a menstrual cup? I am super happy to answer questions. Feel free to send me a message if you want to talk privately too!
After posting this on Facebook, I got numerous recommendations for the Diva Cup, which you can find here.
The Ruby Cup was also shared with me as a company that donates a cup to women and girls without hygienic resources when you purchase one. I love this kind of model in a business!