My first period
It’s 2012 and 13-year-old me is suffering from the weirdest lower abdominal cramps. I go to the bathroom and there it is, the bloodstain that meant I’d officially entered puberty. I called out to my mother in excitement and she came to the bathroom, while I sat on the toilet helplessly, she offered me my very first pad.
My relationship with pads had always been a bad one. It irritated my skin and made me feel very uncomfortable. I was a dancer through most of my teens and wearing pads under my leotard wasn’t a cute look.
Tampons … and then, the menstrual cup
I graduated to tampons in my late teens and back then I thought it was the best thing I’d ever done. I could literally jump into a pool without the fears of bleeding into the pool. Tampons would not only absorb the blood, but also any other moisture that was down there. That, coupled with the pill, dryness was a symptom I didn’t want to deal with. Tampons are also bleached and manufactured in a way that isn’t kind to woman’s parts. I wasn’t a fan anymore.
So having tried the conventional methods of hygiene I started researching the menstrual cup. There’s a load on information on Youtube with tips and how-tos. The cup is surgical grade silicon, which is folded then inserted into the vaginal canal and positioned at the cervix. It can remain inside the body for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow, without the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. It can then be removed, with clean hands, then emptied and reinserted.
Tips and tricks
Many women have cringed when I’ve explained the method to them. It’s as though they are too afraid to journey into knowing themselves that way. I must admit that my first few times trying to insert it was a bit of a joke, but I continued trying and I’m a menstrual cup ninja now. Seeing the blood in the cup doesn’t gross me out as much now as it would in the beginning and that the menstrual cup was the best decision ever.
I thought I’d slip in a few tips to make your cup insertion a little easier.
- Before the first usage, leave the cup in boiling water and intimate cleanser.
- Use lubrication! My flow has always been on the medium to light flow. KY Gel is an inexpensive product that made to help women with an easier insertion of tampons and menstrual cups.
- Wear a pantyliner. If the cup is positioned incorrectly it will leak. Wear a panty liner to avoid damaging your delicates.
- Wash your hands before and after.
- Before insertion, fold the cup and bend in half vertically, with the bent side facing downwards. Then get into a squat position and relax, slide the cup up towards your back, as you would a tampon. The cup should pop open. You’ll know it’s inserted properly because there won’t be any folds.
- To remove the cup, you should use two fingers and pull at an angle so there aren’t any spills. Empty and rinse and reinsert if necessary.