the female take over

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Just a fair warning, if you didn't already catch if from the very obvious caption, we're going to be discussing periods. Aka there will be words like blood, vagina, and flow being said. If you aren't into that, now is your time to escape. 


NOTE: IGNORE THE LINT ON THE CUPS, THEY WERE ROLLING AROUND AS I WAS ATTEMPTING TO TAKE THE PHOTOS AND EVERYTHING SEEMED TO WANT TO ADHERE TO THE MATERIAL.  IT WAS PROPERLY CLEANED BEFORE I STARTED TO USE IT.



Since starting my period at 13, I don't think I've ever been excited for my cycle to start. I've always dreaded it - you feel gross, it's a mess and it's just a complete nuisance overall. 

I can't believe this is being said, but that all changed this past week. At the start of the month, a girl I followed on Twitter actually suggested transitioning over from tampons to menstrual cups. I had heard of the cups before, but I had never done any research about it at all. With my curiosity being sparked, I went to Twitter and searched "menstrual cup" and doing the same on Google as well. The amount of hype, positivity and success stories surrounding this item was insane. It had been made out to be this magical, life changing product. And of course me being me, I HAD to try one out. 


I'm using the LENA Cup in small. LENA offers two different sizes - a small one and a big one. When I received them in the mail, I was so hype. You guys don't understand how much I had wanted to just use it then and there. Waiting for my cycle to arrive this month consisted of me on Google or youtube searching up the best folding methods, tips for first time users and just educating myself on it in general. In the videos and threads on websites I read, everyone made sure to point out that it'll take a couple cycles for you to learn to correctly insert it and things likes that. I won't lie, I was pretty confident going into because I felt with all the research I had done, I had prepared myself enough and learned from everyone else's mistakes. Boy, was I wrong. 


A day before my actual period came, I decided to do what is called a "dry run". Basically, just trying out the cup before your cycle started. The first couple attempts I made were horrifying. I was in so much pain and I had clearly underestimated how much you actually would have to practice to get it right. I kept trying different folds, sometimes it would pop open whilst I was attempting to insert it because I'd lie grip - I literally felt like I was giving birth (I've never given birth, I'm just being dramatic.). The pain that I felt nearly put me off of continuing to try and figure it out. After having out myself through enough trauma for the night, I had decided I'd wait until my period actually started to give it one more shot. 


When it finally started, I was pretty nervous and obviously that's tends to tighten your muscles up down there making it difficult to work with. Once I got myself to relax as best as I could, I put some water on the cup to lubricate it, folded it in half and held it in place until it was inserted. Surprisingly, this time around it went in with no problems at all. There was a bit of discomfort, but no where near what I had been feeling the previous day. The only thing I have to say about it is you can feel that it's there, but that's only because it's a foreign feeling and all you're thinking about is how you have this little silicone cup suctioned up inside your vagina. Overtime that'll go away, after about the 3rd insertion, it wasn't something that was bothering me anymore. 


The process of taking it out is definitely a lot more hard to get the hang of than it is inserting it. Basically what you do is tug on the stem lightly and bear down as if you were having a bowel movement so you're pushing the cup down enough to be able to feel the base. 


The base has ridges on it making it easier to keep a grip. Once you've got a good hold on the base, you're going to want to squeeze it to let some air in through the little holes at the top thus leading to it releasing the suction. 


This is where the tough part comes in, you're going to want to try your best to fold it in way that won't spill the blood, but also comfortable enough for you to remove it without tugging harshly against your walls. Unfortunately for me, it's taking some time to get that part down, but as time goes on and I get some more practice I'll be totally fine and the whole process will be done in the snap of a finger. To insert I use the C-fold, as shown below, to take it out I use the punch-down fold. Both these folds plus others can be found on the LENA cup website along with photos and instructions. 


Just a side note, the cup does come with a cute little pouch to store it in, in between your cycles! 





HOW EACH DAY WENT

DAY 1: After learning to finally insert it properly, it was smooth sailing. Though I was aware it was there, I felt like a new woman! No leaks at all. 

DAY 2: This day was a little rough. The thing with menstrual cups is, it's hard to gauge how heavy your flow is. With tampons, you're like okay I'll need x many for this day, but it's so much different with the cup. This day was filled with lots of leaks.

DAY 3: Still leaks. Finally realized it wasn't because I was inserting it wrong, the reasoning behind it was because I needed the bigger sized cup. I was too scared to use the larger cup because I was just finally getting use to the smaller one, so I decided to just empty it more frequently throughout the day. 

DAY 4: Flow was finally slowing down and didn't experience any leaks. I was faced with another problem though - usually on the last two days my flow will lighten up, be medium and then completely lighten up. During the light times, I was contemplating taking it out and just using my tampons because I had this irrational fear about it hurting me again as it did when I did the first dry run. Obviously, there's a lot less lubrication up there compared to the first 2 days so it's just something I'll have to get comfortable with doing. 

DAY 5: AKA this morning. When I woke up and took the cup out there was barley a drop in it so I decided I would take that out and just use the tampons I had left over so they wouldn't go to waste (or that's the lie I'm going with to feel less annoyed with myself). 

Overall, I love the LENA Cup and the idea of menstrual cups as a whole. It's definitely a big thing that'll take some time to get use to, especially if you aren't very familiar with your body. But that's also one of its perks, it helps you become educated and forces you to learn and explore parts of yourself you probably wouldn't normally. During my next cycle I will definitely be keeping it in all 5 days - with the knowledge and new found confidence with it, it'll get a lot easier. 

TIPS 

You will get frustrated, but whatever you do don't give up. If you're causing yourself discomfort, stop immediately and try again another day. 

Lubricate the cup. You don't need anything some ail, water will work just fine. Trust me - it'll help a lot! 

Once you've successfully inserted it 2 times, the  rest are a breeze! It becomes a habit. 

Get the right size. You don't want one that's too small for you, but you don't want one that's too big either. Don't go off of what I have or what your friend has, everyone is different. You can contact LENA directly and they can assist you in ordering the correct size. 

I would suggest wearing a liner for your first couple of cycles, just until you're sure you've fully got the hang of it.

There are tons of different folding techniques - all of which can be found on Google. I personally use the traditional C fold, but again like I've said, everyone is different and every fold won't be comfortable for everyone. 

Cutting the stem. This is completely up to you and want you are comfortable with. I personally am going to keep the stem as is just because I feel a lot safer knowing I have that sort of anchor there to help me with removing it. Some people cut completely off and some just cut a little, it's so let up to you. 


Do any of you use menstrual cups or ever thought of switching over to using one? 

periods & menstrual cups

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