WORDS || VANESSA CAPITO
My adorable (surprisingly cute), little pink menstrual cup. I like you, but I’m not sure how long this relationship will last.
It’s not you, it’s me.
I was familiar with the menstrual cup before I took on this challenge, with a few friends already taking the plunge and switching from traditional tampons and pads, to their newfound colourful little counterparts. Personally, I hadn’t made the switch yet because, to be honest, shoving anything that wide inside my vagina that wasn’t a vibrator or the anatomy of a male counterpart was well out of the question, and quite frankly, scared the shit out of me. But, due to the fact that menstrual cups are a far cleaner and chemically free alternative, the idea wasn’t completely out in the dumps.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with menstrual cups, let me just quickly get you up to speed. Made from a medical grade silicone, they’re essentially a flexible tube cup with a small tail at the bottom. Incredibly beneficial to the environment since they’re reusable, menstrual cups don’t produce a whole bunch of waste – as you would get with regular tampons or pads that go straight into landfills and pollute waterways. Plus, they’re healthier for you.
Menstrual cups are hypoallergenic so they’re great for women who have sensitive skin or perhaps latex allergies, and they don’t contain any absorption agents which can usually cause vaginal dryness. This is a huge bonus because I tend to use pads at the beginning and end of my period when it isn’t as heavy, but with the menstrual cup, you can use it the whole way through. You can also wear them overnight, and up to 2-3 times longer than a tampon or pad (although I never left mine for more than four hours during the day, or used it at night).
There is also no association of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with menstrual cups which is a big deal. Although extremely serious, TSS also happens (thankfully) to be extremely rare, with only about one case per 100 000 women per year. However, in October of 2012, twenty-four-year-old model, Lauren Wasser fell ill on her period, and within a few days she learned she was going to lose her right leg to TSS. So knowing that a menstrual cup (hopefully) won’t ever do that, was a pretty damn good reason to give it a go.
Okay. Menstrual cups are weird. They look like measuring utensils from my kitchen or something which seems nice. But then I remember I have to somehow shove this thing inside me. I bought the size B of the Lunette (the Lunette is one type of menstrual cup available). I will also be referring to my menstrual cup as Lunette from here on in. I might even refer to it as ‘her’ or ‘she’ because I feel I’m going to get real sick of saying menstrual cup over and over again. Anyway, Size A is recommended for women who have had children, size B is for the rest of us. I ordered mine online, although you can buy them from some select pharmacies, I was surprised to find that there aren’t more available.
I’m still not ready to try and put it in me. Tampons are nice and slim and small and don’t require any weird folding. I’m just going to YouTube some ‘How To’s’ for a while and then maybe come back to it. I’ll also try and stop myself from being such a little bitch about it, but that’s hard. And did I mention it feels funny?
Wonderful. So it’s in. It feels weird. And this little tail thing it has feels funny and uncomfortable. And you’re meant to trim it but I’m scared if I trim it it’ll be too short and I won’t be able to pull it out.
Alright, so it has been about two hours and I thought I should probably empty this bad boy out, although I would’ve been much happier to talk about it than to actually do it. Firstly, I must say that I’m goddamn happy it’s a Saturday and I’m not at uni today because I don’t know how well it would’ve gone down had I been trying to do this in a cubicle, not to mention that I have to somehow rinse and clean this thing in a public bathroom. I’m already enough of a germaphobe as it is.
Pulling it out wasn’t so bad, I’ll be honest, it was more the fact that you couldn’t just throw it out, you had to physically rinse, wash and wipe it. And it wasn’t even half full. I’m sure people get used to this, and I’m sure I’m just being a fucking princess about it but surely there are other ways I can benefit the environment and myself and still use tampons right? I’ve already cut most of the meat out of my diet. Sustainability people!
Vanessa! Stop fucking around. Okay, sorry. I do digress.
Woohoo, we made it! Sort of. I cheated and didn’t use it overnight because I was scared that I’d sleep in a weird position and it’d leak everywhere. Baby steps, people. But it’s in again now. I did trim the tail a tiny bit and it feels way better so I wish I’d just done that from the get go. My only worry for today is that I’m supposed to go to breakfast and I can’t do anything if it leaks (I’m about ninety-three per cent sure it won’t – but that other seven per cent can’t help but get the better of me). Please wish me luck.
I went to breakfast at 10.30am and now I’m back home and it’s 1.45pm. I boiled some water and put the water in a bowl with Lunette to clean her. I’ve got a tampon in for the meantime. I’ve got to say it’s getting way more comfortable and unless I’m actively thinking about it, I tend to forget about her even being up in there. It’s just the whole ‘getting-her-out’ and cleaning her that remains a struggle.
It’s Tuesday and I’m at uni today. I’m nervous because I’m here from 10.00am to 3.00pm and there’s no chance I can take Lunette out, although I have thought about locking myself in a disabled bathroom. But since you can leave her in for up to twelve hours I figured I’d be fine. Although leakage fears are still high, I have to admit that I suffer from ‘fear of leakage’ when I have a tampon in too.
Success! I was fine all day, no spills – because I didn’t take it out. When I did get home to clean her out it was a bit messy (TMI? Soz), mainly because she was a little full (TMI again?) I was getting cocky and should’ve been more careful when I took her out. I’ll just say period blood on your hands, much like normal blood on your hands, ain’t glamourous.
School’s out! Not really, but it’s basically the last day of my period and therefore this challenge, which basically evokes the same feelings of joy.
As we reached the end of today, I’ve got to say Lunette really wasn’t all bad, the only cons were having to try and empty her and clean her when you weren’t at home, which really sucked and isn’t a challenge I want to face – even if it’s only one a month. As much as I love the pros of my pink Lunette and what she does for the environment and my own little pocket, I’m still not entirely sure it’s a commitment I can make. I’ll definitely hang on to her, because she did cost $60, and she was my first love. But we’re definitely just mates, and probably won’t be entering any intimate relationships again anytime soon.
You can read more about Lunette and other Lunettes here.