The Tesla of Feminine Hygiene Products
I’m sure, like me, you have read a lot on the Menstrual Cup. It’s the first major, revolutionary product in Feminine hygiene products in about 100 years.
Men – I assume a lot of you are reading this and definitely didn’t scream girlishly when you saw the word ‘MENSTRUAL’ and throw away your internet device just in case it came through the screen like the girl off the ring. This will be a period chat. Do what you will with that.
Men, or those of you that are new to the female web – the Menstrual Cup is a little cup made of medical grade silicone, BPA free (whatever the fuck BPA is), that sits inside a vagina and essentially catches all the blood that is attempting to be menstruated.
I won’t go into the whole religious and cultural beliefs about periods – but take my word that it has been, and still is, an uphill battle – with very little progress being made on the design front.
Tampons really only hit consumer shelves in the 20’s. By the 40’s, only 25% of the population used them. In the 60’s they thought of putting a string on them. In the 80’s they realised they were giving women TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), with 800 reported cases, and 38 of which that were fatal. In the 2000’s, 80% of women use them. The average woman will use about 16,000 in her lifetime.
I don’t know if that little scope of data has clarified the flaws, but essentially – they are slow to evolve, not great on the environment and that small risk of actual death.
Mostly, having a period is fucking annoying.
Then along came the Menstrual cup. And boy did it sounds like a dream come true.
You can re-use a cup for several years
Yay for the planet, yay for not spending money on such luxury goods, yay for not having to worry about stocking up tampons in the place of canned goods in a zombie apocalypse
No connection to TSS
Not dying is also great.
It holds a lot and it doesn’t leak.
You can leave it in all day, you can leave it in when you sleep. You don’t have to do the ‘Pant Check’ when you brunch with the girls. YES WE ALL DO IT. Sister solidarity.
So many of my friends have been wanting to try it, so I took the plunge (pun intended) and did it for us.
I read the little instructions that came with the cup. Read it three times out of fear that I would misunderstand. Read it in a Scottish accent for fun. BF catches me and says
“What are you doing.” I respond by putting on my most noble of faces and raising my fist in the air. (Still in Scottish accent that started to turn Irish at the end.)
“Taking one giant step forth for women-kind. For I, will sacrifice my bod-“
“Yep – period stuff, got it.”
So I go into the bathroom to try out this bad boy. I squat down on the floor, fold the little cup and insert. The directions say you can pretty much fold it anyway, but I fold it in half. It magically sorts itself into position inside me. Like one of those pop-up tents.
I read a lot of people say that it’s uncomfortable and takes a while to get used to – but I actually think it’s more comfortable than a tampon. I can’t feel anything. I do some practice lunges, star jumps and coughs to make sure nothing is moving. Can you imagine that falling out?
It’s all good. I do a victory lap around the bedroom. BF is definitely impressed but trying not to show it.
“You know what,” I say, “I should probably make sure I can get it out before I do another victory dance.”
I go back into the bathroom. Assume squat position (deep squat, all the way on the floor) and I can’t get the fucker out.
The instructions say to pinch the bottom with your forefinger and thumb to break the seal at the base (it sort of works like a suction cup) but this does sweet FA. I try wriggling it, I try pulling on the tiny little toggle at the end, I try getting my finger all the way up to scoop it out. But suddenly my fingers are short and stumpy – and also sharp AF because I just had my nails done.
I was panicking, but saying out loud – “just don’t panic.” I panicked some more.
I walked out of the bathroom to survey BF who is watching a movie.
“How did you go sweetie”, he asks.
“Not excellent, I might just give it another hour and try again. Or you know… Outsource.”
He stares at me blankly.
I stare at him until he realises I mean him. Then we laugh and laugh.
I lock the door.
No-no, I’m kidding, we aren’t there yet. That’s like a 6-month relationship step. But I tried another three times that night. The last time I try he actually says;
“Okay, what do I need to do.” He looks a little pale.
The thing is, breaking the seal just didn’t work for me, it was too far up to hook my finger around, and there is just no gripping. The more I tried to pinch the end, the more it would slide further in. Then I’d have to calm down and push it to closer to the exit again. You know what I mean push it out? Pelvic floor. I read so many things on the internet of how the others did it and none of it would work!
I decided it was more of a future-Amy problem and I should just sleep on it. Which I could totally do because you can sleep with it in – no leaking. I really wanted to love this product.
I get up an extra half an hour early for work for this expedition. I jump in the shower. Squat. Take a deep fucking breath and try to be Zen. I’ve actually managed to strain one of my fingers the day before trying to get the mofo out so I decided to use my left hand.
It took about ten minutes. I scooped it out sideways, sliding it along the left-hand side of the walls. Jackson-Pollocking the shower walls as I did so. It holds a lot of blood.
I was ridiculously proud and had the grandest sense of achievement I’ve ever felt in my life. Still riding on this high, I washed it out and put it straight back in. I was determined to master this process.
I didn’t take it out once that day, which for me is just….so great. I work in an all-male office, so I can be a bit self-conscious that I spend double the amount of time in the bathroom as them. But damn this cup, it was amazing. I left it in there all day, I didn’t check on it, I let it be. And it was fine. I have actually never felt so care-free about it in my life.
Then I get home and do the struggle again. It takes another three 15 minute expeditions. Again, the only thing that works for me, hot shower, deep squat, left hand, slide it out sideways, paint the roses red. And by roses I mean, paint, wall-to-wall, the most horrific mural seen outside of a horror movie.
The rest of the week:
I did it for seven days. I couldn’t seem to change my success method, but I did stop painting the walls. It was a menace to get out every time. I kept thinking I was getting to accidentally come across an easier way to get it out. Alas, not this month.
Though for all the panic, the annoyance, the strained fingers, the sheer artistry and new flexibility – it was totally worth it. Put it like this, I had to struggle twice a day. In the safety of my own shower. It saved me so much hassle during the day and while I slept. I figure I’ll get better next month.
TLTR Version: Hard to get out. Don’t panic. Sassy comments. Totally worth it.
Here is the one I used – well not the actual one, that would be weird. But here’s the brand