I was definitely that teenage girl who cried and threw a hissy fit over having to learn to use a tampon for the first time. I can vividly remember my mom telling me that “if I wanted to swim I was just going to have to learn to do it.”Ok- so I can’t vividly remember the EXACT words she used but it was something along the lines of “suck it up buttercup… and get to it.” Not that she meant that with any less than the utmost concern. 😉
I’m certain I asked my mom how to do it. You know. How to insert the tampon. Like literally. I can remember attempting to do it while laying down. That approach didn’t work so well. My next course of action? I consulted the instructions. I’m big on instructions – unless I just absolutely trust that someone can tell me how to do it. Tampon instructions. That’s where I learned the squat and lean forward method. I figured it out and had been successfully wearing tampons, with zero regrets, until September of last year.
What happened in September? Well, it was just a culmination of a lot of things including some personal lady issues and hearing Rhonda rave about her Diva Cup. I knew at that point that I no longer wanted to use tampons. I didn’t want that toxic material, inside me. And really. Have you worn a tampon recently? It doesn’t always feel great. Especially the coming out. Tampons just block and stop everything from flowing correctly. I was at a point that I needed to see the amount of blood exiting my body. You can’t do that with tampons. And speaking of that blood. It’s not just a smooth flowing spring like you’ve seen exiting from other parts of your body. This blood is ooey, gooey, and full of giant clots. I mean really. Just think of the logistics of a compact piece of material properly absorbing that mess. So maybe you’re thinking, Ashley, seriously…what exactly is so bad about a tampon beyond your own personal experience? I mean..to name a few things:
- Ingredients in tampons are not nearly regulated as they should be.
- Your vagina is super absorbent. Therefore, the pesticides and chlorine that are present in the cotton used to make a tampon are being absorbed into your vagina. That’s cool right?
- Speaking of….there are pesticides on your tampon! And chlorine. Have you even considered the possible long term effects of repeatedly exposing your body to those??
- They create the perfect environment for infection. A tampon holds blood in contact with the vagina, the stagnant blood changes vaginal pH, and prevents the vagina from flushing out the harmful bacteria. Hello infection!
- Need more reasons? Just Google it man. There are a plethora.
I didn’t go straight to using a cup. I actually didn’t jump and make that decision until I was once again confronted with the issue of wanting to swim while being on my period. I was also over the messiness of using pads. And pads are not even that great for your vaginal health either. It was just definitely time to take the plunge. So I hopped on Amazon and within a few clicks my Pixie Cup was being prepared to ship to my house. Why didn’t I go with the Diva? Well, I read all the reviews on Amazon. Most people said the Pixie was much more flexible/soft than the Diva – and the Pixie had a better price point. I think I may get a Diva Cup at some point just to compare.
Now, there are a lot of articles out there detailing how to use a menstrual cup. I’m not here to give you some generic set of instructions. I’m here to give my specific thoughts and experience.
- I chose the size 2 because I’m over 30 and have had two children vaginally. Insertion was not a problem. I just folded it and popped it in. Using the whole squat and lean forward method.
- Even though I knew logically it wasn’t possible – I had the fear that my cup would be sucked up deep inside me and I’d have to rush to the ER to have it removed. Have you guys seen that episode of Sex and The City where Samantha had to retrieve Carrie’s diaphragm from inside her? Because Carrie couldn’t seem to reach it herself? Yeah. Root of my fear there.
- In the beginning, it’s messy AF when removing the cup to empty. Also, don’t be white girl wasted while trying to navigate the first time use of your cup. You will probably make a bloody mess…in your best friend’s bathroom. And have no idea that you did. But yeah. That whole process gets easier with practice. I’m pretty savvy now.
- I ended up having to turn my cup inside out. This was a tip from Rhonda when I complained that I could still feel it. I tried just trimming the stem first – that didn’t work. So, I flipped the whole thing inside out. I just use my muscles to push it out and pinch the end while pulling the cup the rest of the way out when I’m ready to empty.
- The thought occurred to me that it’s kind of sad that I realized how unfamiliar I am with my vagina. There never really was an instance where I was repeatedly all up in her biznass before. Tampons allow you to have basically no contact, thanks to that toxic plastic applicator. And well recreationally? I mean. I have a vibrator which makes hand to vagina contact: not necessary. I think it just falls under that umbrella of in so many subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways women are brainwashed to hate their bodies. So, you dare not explore it…especially your precious flower of a vagina. That’s taboo. Anyway, she and I have definitely become better acquainted. 🙂
- At first…I pinched myself a shit ton. A nail pinch. Yeah. OOOOWWW. I am happy to say that those instances are few and far in between now..usually only happens if I’m in a rush or something. Why would I be in a rush? Oh I don’t know. .. Maybe those times when my children are pounding at the bathroom door because they all of a sudden NEED me.
- Getting my cup to open up once it’s inserted is what takes me the longest. How do I do that? I do a combination/series of things. I’ll use my muscles to push it out a little and lightly grab the bottom of the cup between my fingers and spin it. I then run my pointer finger around the bottom outside to ensure that it has completely opened. Once I know it’s open, I contract my muscles and use my finger to push it a little further up inside me.
- The whole experience has been liberating and freeing..and well life changing. I know I’ll never introduce Sophie to tampons.
And there you have it. My unsolicited. Frank. Pretty rambly. And Honest – thoughts on using a menstrual cup. I know this is no comprehensive guide. I could say a ton more. You guys know my tendency to ramble. I’ll leave it here though. And listen, don’t stop your research with this blog post. Google. Read on. Form your own opinion…but I’m pretty sure you will be converted to the dark side. The dark side where we aren’t ashamed to face the natural functions of our body. The dark side where we respect our bodies and stop putting dangerous stuff inside them.