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 mu first cup off Amazon. (I use Amazon for everything in India, it’s 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.
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. I read 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 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 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 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 am 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!