BODY | anna vs menstrual cups
i’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with menstrual cups over and over again but i’ve never really fully shared my personal experience with them, have i? i mean, actual personal experience, stories and tips and jokes, right? well, here they are!
as i’ve addressed in this article, the first time i tried to introduce a menstrual cup to my clenched vagina suffering from vaginismus (= involuntary clenching of vaginal muscles which partially or fully disallows foreign objects to enter the vaginal canal, i.e. your vag makes it super difficult for anything to penetrate it) wasn’t much fun. truth be told, it cost me a lot of tears and even more trauma about my extremely tight vaginal muscles than i’d had before, so after a few unsuccessful, painful, and defeating tries, i decided to forget about the idea of ever using that stupid thing again. that questionable cup, which quickly became an instrument of torture in my eyes, was from a Czech brand Yuuki, the smallest size, yet still too big and unyielding for me.
even though i put the idea of being an active cup user on hold for quite a while, the fact that i was using tampons instead was still very upsetting to me. knowing i could not afford to switch to natural alternatives, i felt bad for putting nasty chemicals into my own sacred body as well as polluting the planet with oh-so-much plastic waste. to be honest, it haunted me. so much that i kept on thinking about the cup over and over. so much that i even tried to use it once again, but all those tries were yet again unsuccessful.
but then i started eyeing a different brand of cups sold at a local drugstore, and after checking the displayed sizes out for a while (all three sizes were unpacked so you could compare them and feel the material yourself – that helped me so much!), i decided to give the holy cup a second chance and purchased the smallest one available. it took a bit of practice, but hey, i finally managed to put it after a few tries! as vaginismus is mostly a psychosomatic condition, it took me a while to get used to having this strange object in my vag: even though the cup was small and extremely soft and supple, i was clenching my muscles so much i could always feel it in. and that made me freak out. it actually made me feel physically dizzy and nauseous, just like the idea of getting blood tests done does, and sometimes i had to take it out and instead put a tampon in.
few months in, i’m all good. i’ve mastered a fold that works for me the best (because you gotta fold the cup when inserting it to make sure it slides in and fits smoothly) and i no longer panic because of the idea that there’s “something” (bigger than a tampon) in me. sure, i still have problems with leaking, taking it out takes ages and sometimes, when i’m at home and don’t really have to do anything and my flow’s not very heavy, i prefer to freebleed because i just cannot be bothered to go through all that cup hassle, but i’d say, otherwise, i’m a happy a cup user.
but as i’ve mentioned in so many articles before, cups are definitely not a universal solution for everyone – they might not be your thing, or your body just works better with some other menstrual product, and that’s ok.
and since many people have asked me about tips & tricks about cups, here are few of them based on my very own experience:
– the cup i’m using now is from a brand called MeLuna, which you can get in pretty much all German dm stores. they come in three different sizes, with three different ends (stem, handle and a little ball), and they also make short cups for those with low cervix (thinking of getting that one too actually!), all in a vast variety of colors. i’m really happy with the cup as it’s really soft, small and easy to fold, and, based on my research, MeLunas should be the cheapest ones on the market. however, i got the one with the handle (like a little O letter at the end) and i’d prefer to have the one with a ball as the handle is sometimes really difficult to grasp with fingers.
– i’d always pick colored cups over the clear ones as those get discolored super fast (period blood makes them go yellow, meh)
– if you’re buying your first cup, i’d strongly suggest going to a physical store where you can check it out irl instead of ordering it online. it’s really difficult to imagine the sizes and materials, so it helps a lot to see and feel the cup before buying it. as i’ve said, the German dm stores all have MeLuna cups now with samples on display (Czech ones also carry cups, but a different brand), most (good) sex shops have them now too, as well as health stores and pharmacies.
– it might happen that your first cup won’t fit. or that any other cup won’t fit. that’s ok.
– so many people fuss about how difficult it is to clean the cup – just get some sterilizing tablets, hun! they’re supercheap and get your cup clean in 15 mins. works like magic!
– don’t push it too far – if your cup gets beyond your cervix (meaning cervix is not in the cup), you will just bleed outside of the cup. happens to me every single time, yay!
– just to make things clear: it cannot get “lost” in your vag. your vagina, unlike your butt, is not an endless void that sucks up anything. in fact, that little fella cervix is there to stop anything from going too far, so don’t worry, there’s no way you will get a cup stuck in you forever. on the other hand, sometimes it takes ages (and a lot of frustration, sweat, and swearing) to get it out, in which case squatting and kegels can help!
– i usually use the so-called Punchdown or Triangle/7 fold technique, the most commonly recommended C fold doesn’t work for me at all!
share your tips, experience or horror stories with me, please!