Recently, after lots of researching, I decided to buy a Femmecup menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups are reusable silicon cups that are a more environmentally friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary pads and last up to 15 years. Say a box of tampons is £3, and you use a box every month, every year for 40 years, that's £960 spent on tampons alone (plus extra if you pair them with pads like I do). That means that, as this cup was only £9.99, it would only cost you, on average, £30 for your entire life.  They are also made out of medical grade silicon which means there's no risk of TSS as it collects blood instead of absorbing it.  I ordered it from eBay, which means it is cheaper than some on the market, but I wanted to try out one at a cheaper price (but still safe and reliable) before I plunge into buying a 'higher end cup' like the Lilly cup or the Diva Cup. Like all cups, it came with a little pouch and an instructions leaflet which is translated into various different languages. It is very informative so I would definitely suggest you take your time to read it first before doing anything. These cups generally come in 2 sizes: Small or large (or model A and B in some cases). The small one is supposedly for people who haven't had a baby and the larger one is for people have. However, some people may benefit from having the larger cup if they have a heavy flow so you do what you think is right. I have also ordered a larger one to see if I benefit from having the larger size as I have a really heavy flow.

When choosing what cup to get, you should always check the height of your cervix. First, insert your index finger into your vagina. You should be feeling for what feels like a marble with a dent in and it feels different to the rest of your vagina. For me, I have a really high cervix and I can't actually feel it so I don't really know how else to describe it. If you can get only down 1 knuckle, you have a low cervix. If you get down to around your second knuckle, you have a normal, medium cervix. If you can only just feel your cervix with all of your finger in or can't feel it at all, you have a high cervix. I would recommend checking while you're on your period as your cervix can tilt further back when on your period and easier to find as it becomes firmer. If you're confused as to what brand of cup would work for you, I really recommend checking out 'Precious Star Pads'. I really love Bree's videos and find them so informative and find her so inspiring. Her channel is linked here and I think it is a great way to learn more about menstrual cups, reusable cloth pads, and even sea sponge tampons!

When inserting a menstrual cup, the fold is really up to you. There are lots of different folds for you to experiment with to try and find what is best for you. Personally, I used the 'punch- down' fold as I feel like that is the one that folds into the smallest width. I'll link a video here that demonstrates the different folds. Some people insert it differently just like tampons. Some squat, some rest their leg up on something and some just simply insert it from a seated position on the toilet. For my first go, I rested my leg up on the side of the bath to make it easier for me. As the cervix is normally tilted towards your spine when menstruating, I found that this position would be easiest for me until I got the hang of it.

First, go:

As soon as I got it, I was so excited to try it out and see if I get the same 'free' feeling like I do when I use tampons. You MUST sterilize it before using it whether it's your first time or 20th. Between cycles, sterilizing it by either boiling it for a few minutes in a pan of hot water or using sterilizing tablets will really help your cup to last longer and also get rid of any bacteria. Between days, it says you can either wash it with some feminine soap (like Femfresh) or simply wash it with water to keep it clean. When in a public bathroom with no access to a sink in a stall, you can wipe it with either a feminine wipe or just some toilet paper and reinsert. It also says in the leaflet that it is best inserted when it is wet so I got a cup of clean water to re-wet it if I needed. It took me around 7 attempts to finally get it into what I felt was right. As the stem on this cup is small, I was a little hesitant to fully push it up inside of me as I felt like it could get lost. But don't worry, your vagina isn't a black hole and the cup won't get lost. After practicing pushing with my muscles , which helps the push the cup down to the opening of your vagina, I was finally able to let myself push it all the way in. After I felt like it was sat up far enough, I pushed my index finger up against the cup and ran my finger around the rim to make sure it wasn't still folded. After doing so, I still wasn't convinced that it was open right so I put a pad on to catch any leaks that might occur. My first experience was a little 'too good' so I'm doubting my skills at the moment but I'm sure that after a few cycles, it will all become clear. It's something that takes practice. I'm going to wear it all night tonight and all day tomorrow at school and keep you updated if my experience changes. So far, I can't see myself switching back due to tampons as I feel like I can forget about the cup for 12 hours and not have to worry about TSS!

In the morning, I found no leaks whatsoever and it wasn't uncomfortable at all which meant that I was able to sleep just like I would when I wasn't menstruating. This cup, in particular, has quite a thick rim and doesn't easily fold when you press the bottom which could be uncomfortable for some. For example, if you have a very sensitive bladder, it might push against it so you may need to skip on this cup and find a softer rimmed alternative. I found that I didn't need to fold it back up to remove it, I could just pull it out by pulling gently on the stem to tease it out a little until I could pinch the bottom and then pulling like I would a tampon worked the best. However, on some cups, this could cause the rim to hit your urethra which is really painful so maybe try folding it a little before removing. If you're squeamish about blood, maybe skip on menstrual cups as when you take it out, you can see all of the blood that has collected. For me weirdly enough, I enjoyed this part as I could see that I don't bleed as much as I thought it did. Also, the cup doesn't absorb your vagina's natural lubricant which doesn't give you the problem of dryness and it also doesn't mean your tampon gets fuller quicker which means you have to change it more and look like you're bleeding super heavily. After I removed it, I just dumped the contents down the toilet, rinsed it out in the sink as it is right next to me and reinserted for a day at school.

9 hours later, I removed it as I was scared that it was going to get too full, but to my surprise, it hadn't even gotten up to where the cup curves. It shocked me to see so little as I would've had to change my tampon 3 times by now. Like I did this morning, I removed it, rinsed it out and reinserted. I thought it would take me a few go's but I got it from the get-go. I find it so easy to insert and take out that I don't think I will be going back to tampons anytime soon!

Overall, this little cup has really changed how i view my period. I can literally forget about it for the day and go about my normal business. You can't feel the cup, there's no worrying that you're going to disturb the positioning of the tampon when you wipe, there're no leaks(!!!) and you save so much money in the long run. The cup starts paying for its self after the first couple of cycles. I normally have to pair a tampon with a pad in fear of leaks but with this, I'm confident enough to go out without any protection at all and just use the femmecup. I'm happy that I've made the switch as it means no harmful chemicals from the cotton in tampons are being exposed to my body, it's more environmentally friendly, there's no risk of TSS and it means that I can do activities that I would be too scared to do with a tampon on (eg, swimming and running). In my opinion, I think everyone should try a menstrual cup once in their life because it has seriously changed my life. I'm glad I found this method at such a young age as it means I can have my period for the 25-30 years that I have left and know that it's no longer going to cause me any inconvenience!

Thank you for reading!

If you liked it, make sure to give it a like and follow me as it means a lot. If you would like to read Part 1 and 2 of this series from my personal blog, I'll link them here: 

Part one: Period Chats | What are they? What products are right for me?

Part two:  Period Chat| Tips And Tricks

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Published by Aimee Louise Smith