I have just finished my first cycle using a menstrual cup and boy was it an experience! I have known about menstrual cups for a long time, however wasn’t really game enough to try them. To me, periods have always been something that I would rather not focus my attention on and just count down the days until its gone.
I had spoken to a few friends about it that I had met on my travels and gathered as much information as I could before I purchased my first cup off Amazon. Amazon is a great way to not get ripped off by the locals! I ordered a size medium as generally a small is for teenagers and a large is for women that are over 30 or have had a child. When it arrived my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe how big it was and was sure that it wasn’t going to fit. Before I could think about it too much and chicken out, I ordered a small size.
I kept speaking with friends about it and how to insert it and started to think I had a good understanding before I used it for the first time. I did all my preparation work about a week before my cycle came. Soaking it in hot water for a while and cleaning it with a disinfectant. It was ready to go!
Eventually, the day of my period rolled around and I was a little nervous. I used the “C” shape method to insert it because I just didn’t get the other method, and I still don’t. You are supposed to run a finger around the bottom of the cup once it has been inserted to make sure it has suctioned properly and there will be no leaks. I managed this in the most awkward of ways in my classic style and decided it was done right.
I felt a little uncomfortable walking out of the bathroom and sitting. But I think that was mostly just me overthinking it. I didn’t think that I had inserted it properly as there was still the plastic tab hanging out a little. But by the end of my cycle I came to get used to this. I don’t think I can get it up any higher.
The first time I removed the cup I was more nervous than I was putting it in. I was expecting a full cup of blood that clumsy me was going to drop on the floor or something. I very awkwardly using two hands managed to get it out. It was a bit uncomfortable because you don’t make it smaller when it’s coming out like you do when you’re inserting it. But perhaps I was doing it wrong.
When I first got my period I was using tampons for years and in the past 2 years I had moved to pads. I have no idea why I did either of those things, it’s just what I felt comfortable with at the time. From the blood I would see on them, I think I had a vague idea of what to expect. But I was so wrong!
It was a little confronting to see the cup when I first pulled it out. It had brown discharge around it. Which is not something that I was expecting and started to get worried that something was wrong with me. There was blood in there as well, which I tipped down the sink. It wasn’t the kind of blood I was expecting. It was kind of just like a clump of blood and not runny as I assumed it would be.
In the first 2 days of my period, I was changing my menstrual cup every 8 hours. And after that, I moved down to every 12 hours. The cup had ml measurement lines in it for both 7.5ml and 15ml. During the first 3 days of my period I was sitting around the 7.5ml mark each time I changed it. And for the last 2-3 days, I wasn’t getting anywhere close to the 7.5ml line.
The menstrual cup got easier to insert and remove throughout my period. And I was sure to look up the brown discharge that I was getting. There were ample articles on Dr Google about what it meant. And of course, some said that it was cause for concern and others said it wasn’t. I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for. Most were about brown discharge before or after your period not during it.
I decided after reading many articles that the most likely reason was old blood that was yet to come out from previous periods. I’m no longer concerned about this, but it was certainly a shock when I saw it for the first time!
Overall, after my first cycle using my menstrual cup I am feeling pretty good about it. I am learning more about periods in general and am glad to be using a zero-waste method to hygienically deal with my period when it rolls around each month. I know it can be a daunting thought, but I do recommend giving it a crack!