When I was a little girl, I had the coolest friend. Let’s call her Barbra. I thank my lucky stars that we are still very best friends, and she would absolutely love that I just called her Barbra. As an eleven year old, Barbra was much like an adult in a tiny body; she read books for adults and took frequent trips to New York City, bringing back stories of what she found in the Village.
While flipping through a pile of Seventeen magazines and listening to Jill Sobule in our matching Gap Kids overalls, she would tell me about this other world know as the Village, what people wore and what women used for their periods instead of pads and tampons -- rags and keepers. My tiny mind was blown… and disgusted and then we moved on because under no circumstances did I ever want to talk about periods.
Fast forward twenty years and change, and I am using a keeper, or cup as we call it now. In fact, I really love. They're so much better for us than chemical-soaked tampons. Not to mention the fact that the average woman will go through approximately 11,000 tampons in her lifetime. That's A LOT of waste when you factor in applicators and packaging.
Good thing I have zero issues talking about my period, contrary to my pre-teen self, and haven’t for a while. Not enough women feel comfortable talking about their bodies, in my opinion, and doing so only makes us feel better about what is going on.
So, yeah, if you’re not down, get out of town because things are about to get totally personal.
If you want to know more about this now-buzzy option that is great for the environment and better for your bodies, I have home tips and secrets to share from my experiences. Everyone’s got advice on the two different sizes and relaxing while inserting, but these aren’t tip you’ve seen before. Tips and secrets from the depths of my vaginal walls and the Internet.
1/ You’re going to feel the cleanest you have ever felt on your period
“Is it gross?” they ask. Yeah, cleaning out your cup twice a day and getting up close and personal with your menstrual blood is definitely something you have to get used to, but not any grosser than changing a tampon four times a day.
What’s even more not-gross is the fact that you will feel so much fresher with a cup. Nothing makes me feel grosser than walking around with that smell, as if having my period wasn’t enough to deal with. Of course, you have to be emptying it regularly, but as long as you are, you might even forget you have your period.
2/ The cup is going to kill your cramps
There used to be this myth that tampons cured cramps, and it kind of made sense. Put something in between muscles that are cramping and they won’t have room to do that anymore.
Who knows if it’s true, but if it is, then a menstrual cup is going to do that even better. Not only is it larger than a tampon, it’s harder. And frankly, I haven’t had a single cramp in the last two years so I’m not going to chalk that up to coincidence.
3/ Watch out if you have a yeast infection
Silicon is easy to clean and highly resistant to bacteria. It can be washed with a mild, unscented cleanser after your period, or vinegar and baking soda, but I prefer the boiling method to make sure
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same strength over yeast, and boiling isn’t going to kill it. So for months I was giving myself the same yeast infection. Needless to say, I purchased a new cup and haven’t had a problem since.
4/ Not all cups are created equal
After this incident I switched from a Diva Cup to a Blossom Cup, which was a couple dollars cheaper and came in some wild colors. Upon first inspection, it looked exactly like my old cup but ended up being so much easier to use!
For me, the hardest part about using a cup is removing it. I just couldn’t get a grip on the tiny plug at the bottom of the cup that I was supposed to grab with the thumb and pointer fingers. I once tried to push, like I imagine someone would while in labor, and gave myself a hemorrhoid. It wasn’t sexy.
The Blossom Cup’s plug is probably about a centimeter longer than the Diva’s and has ridges that are so much easier to grab. It’s been smooth sailing ever since I switched and I have had zero issues (or hemorrhoids). So here's my plug... if you want to give the Blossom Cup a try, you can get 15% off with promo code 15OFFNOW (or 10% off on Amazon with CUPSHARE.)
5/ Pee on your hands to clean them for removal
Ok, this one is my fave. When I figured it out, I thought I unlocked some kind of secret from Mother Earth.
I started re-washing with the world’s most natural and abundant antiseptic, my own urine.
I first wash my hands when I get into the bathroom, but I’m inevitably going to touch something before getting my fingers up there -- the most delicate and volatile ecosystem there is. Us ladies are told to pee after sex to get rid of any bacteria from the interaction.
This method is null-and-void if you have a UTI, so pee more to make sure that doesn’t happen, because peeing on my hands has made everything so much easier. Not only am I confident that my fingers are super clean, but they are wet and I’m relaxed which makes removal so much easier.
Clearly, this is a very open forum. Let me know if you have more questions about my cup and methods.