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Most of my friends, or at least the portion of friends that I have discussed periods with, use pads. They're uncomfortable with putting things "up there," and it's their body, so I respect that. At the same time, I get a twinge of sadness because I realize that I used to be like them, too.

Using tampons (the ones with applicators) was a small step into self-education, but in using them, there was an unshakable notion of conditioned aversion that had been sprouted from the cultural negativity and shame of vaginas. Sure, applicators make things far more convenient in situations such as camping or hiking, but as to everyday use, why? Why are we scared to put our fingers near our vaginas, so much that we use a plastic tube so that our fingers won't come into contact with them?

When I got a DivaCup, I forced myself to get over it. I poked around my vagina with my finger and felt my cervix and gradually became more comfortable with my body. I'd like to chalk it up to half perseverance, half bravery; with these came small milestones and small victories, like being able to finally insert the cup. I feel like I learned so much more about my own body and I am now far more comfortable with myself. Looking back, the difference in attitude is indescribable.

I'm so glad that I discovered menstrual cups. To anyone who's starting out, don't give up, it's so worth it. To anyone who's been doing this for a while, let's celebrate the existence of cups!
 
brytewolfbrytewolf on January 27th, 2015 03:49 am (UTC)
I spent one horrible, traumatizing year using pads because my mom refused to teach me how to use a tampon. Even after I taught myself how (I couldn't survive any longer like that! Blood everywhere!), there was always the constant fear of having enough tampons on me and access to a bathroom to change it every two-four hours.

Now that I found my Miacup? Empty once at night, once in the morning. Don't THINK about my period at all, it's like it's not even happening (except the occasional cramp). This group is a godsend. These products are magic. I'm comfortable with myself in ways I wasn't before.

I also tell all my friends about mine, but like yours they usually use pads because they've been taught their vulvas are icky. Sometimes I wish I could hold them down and force them to see how wonderful cups are XD But I just let them know if they have any questions, I can answer them - as that's the best I can do!
titaniumtrinitytitaniumtrinity on January 27th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Sometimes I think the "do I have enough tampons with me" thing is the worst part. I'm using pads this month (because of IUD) and I was leaving for the weekend before my period had started. So had to pack the maximum amount that I *might* need, rather than just throwing my cup in the bag.
brytewolfbrytewolf on January 27th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
I would definitely agree with you there! I got so good at calculating how much I would need for how long, but there was always that terror in the back of my head that it would be an especially cranky period and I'd run out. Or that one day I'd forget to stock up before I left, and had to survive with 2 when I should have had 6 8|
Emma Burton on January 19th, 2018 01:05 am (UTC)
Do you use your cup with your IUD now? I have had an IUD for six years (Mirena for 5, have had Paragard for one now) and I really want to start using a cup. I have an appointment with my gyno next week and am worried she won't know what it is/will say what the nurse said which was "don't use one because it can cause bacteria to collect around the strings which could travel into your uterus." Calling BS on all that jazz as tampons are way worse on that front.
titaniumtrinitytitaniumtrinity on January 24th, 2018 05:51 pm (UTC)
Ok so I actually haven’t been using a cup for the last few years. I had a bad experience with recurring BV for a while after getting my IUD, and I never could figure out if the cup was at fault or not, but I stopped using it because it was really uncomfortable when the area was irritated. Since then, my Mirena has made my periods really light, so I haven’t bothered with the cup. So the short answer is that I haven’t been using it, but I’ve heard from lots of others that do, and when I talked to the doc who did the placement, she said it should be fine.
trejoytrejoy on January 27th, 2015 07:17 am (UTC)
I got a Miacup for Christmas. Super happy with it. It's sort of a tie for goldilocks between it and the Ruby right now. =)

Edited at 2015-01-27 07:18 am (UTC)
brytewolfbrytewolf on January 27th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC)
I love mine so much! I had no idea what I was doing when I was picking one out, so I went with the middle of everything XD I lucked out - I can always grab it for removal, I can never feel it. The only thing that irritates me is *sometimes* it's cranky about popping open. But I just take it out and pop it back in, and it's good!
titaniumtrinitytitaniumtrinity on January 27th, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
Sometimes it is still a little annoying to me that using a cup is so involved, and I'm like "eh I don't want to go mess around with my fingers in my vagina, I want to go to bed." Even though at this point I'm not ashamed or uncomfortable about my body. So I don't think preferring applicators or whatever necessarily means someone is ashamed or uncomfortable with their body, sometimes it's just utilitarian, people want less mess. It's complicated. I posted here about my feelings after finding my cervix for the first time. And the reason I say it's complicated, is that even though I felt so much better and more at ease having done it, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of promoting "connecting with your body" as some kind of touchy-feely feminist necessity. Especially because it can sometimes turn into "I'm so enlightened, unlike all those sheeple who are afraid of their bodies." I'm not saying you're doing this, but it's something I worry about falling into myself, and I think you recognized it in your first sentence.

But the other thing I figured out was that beyond the abstract stuff, there are real concrete benefits of being more "in touch with myself." I found that using applicator-less tampons (o.b. is the only brand I know of), and because I knew where my cervix was, I had much more control inserting them, and so was able to place them correctly, and they were much more comfortable and leaked less. I think the same could be said for using cups, I now have a much easier and (physically) comfortable way of handling my period, and that's a real concrete benefit! I guess what it comes down to is that I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything too close to "you should do this because that's the correct way to be a liberated woman* " and I prefer "hey if you try this you might get actual good stuff out of it."

Sorry for long rambling comment. I'm so glad you feel more comfortable with yourself! And save for a few details, I had the same experience :)

[*not everyone with this type of body is a woman, and for those people, the gender-related issues with "getting in touch with your body" are a whole other can of worms, which I'm not qualified to say much about]
trejoytrejoy on January 27th, 2015 07:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, I used Natracare digital tampons before discovering menstrual cups. Bought them at natural food stores because they contain no bleaches or chemicals. I hated applicators with a passion.
arylisa on January 27th, 2015 03:17 pm (UTC)
Very well said. Thanks for writing this!
Karomomentaufnahme on January 27th, 2015 10:30 am (UTC)
It's always weird for me to read about tampons with applicators cause the majority of tampons sold in Germany doesn't have them.. there are some brands that have them but I've never actually seen somebody buy them and all my friends that still use tampons also use the ones without applicators

For me it's weird that - through facebook posts and livejournal post - I have more friends that use menstrual cups than I thought! And they never really talked about it cause the topic of menstruation is sth people don't talk about (enough)
..::bella vita::..por_que_no on January 27th, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC)
You're seriously the coolest and smartest 13 year old I've ever met. Maybe in high school (particularly when your friends have had a chance to grow a bit and more of them will have started their periods) the topic will start to come up more often and you can show them how awesome cups are. I wish I'd found them at 13! I didn't start wearing tampons until 16 and cups until 27 (in preparation for a job working abroad). Unfortunately my mom hit menopause right about when I started using cups so I didn't get to share them with her either. Oh well!
arylisa on January 28th, 2015 05:49 am (UTC)
Thanks! As to recommending cups to my family, I don't think my sister would be very interested in trying it — she is a fan of tampons. My mom would definitely not like the idea, seeing how she doesn't even let me use tampons and doesn't know that I'm using a cup.

Edited at 2015-01-28 05:49 am (UTC)
titaniumtrinitytitaniumtrinity on January 28th, 2015 02:38 pm (UTC)
I only started using a cup because my sister wanted one and she offered to buy me one too, but neither of us had good luck with them. I pulled mine out two years later when I found this site and now I love it. I tried to nudge her into trying hers again but she wasn't really interested.
Yuncloud_and_smoke on January 28th, 2015 06:33 am (UTC)
This is my first cycle using a menstrual cup (I just bought one a couple of weeks ago) and I am just so happy to not need a bulky pad!

I've used tampons in the past, they were all right when they were inside but removal was AWFUL. Every time I pulled on the string it felt like the swollen tampon was going to suck my insides out with it!

I don't have this issue with cup. :)
mshanai on January 28th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
I started off with OB tampons, no applicator, and stuck with them for a long time because they produce less waste than Tampax and friends. Between the cardboard/plastic tube and the little wrapper, you are leaving quite a trail of period byproducts behind you. Pads, the disposable ones are even worse. People put them in the toilet despite all the appeals to the contrary, so they clog sewer lines and create an even bigger mess. The expense is another thing, and I always ran out of one of the sizes before the others so there was the constant realigning of the stash. And, OB tampons can be like sandpapering your insides in the middle of your period because they just suck everything dry on the way in. Horrible.

Cups are the best. Plus I want to pitch their other awesome use: they help with stress urinary incontinence during active sports, especially weight lifting/power lifting and running, jumping and so on.
icanbmeicanbme on January 28th, 2015 11:44 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of something I saw on a con list of using a cup: Falling in love with it then not being able to tell everyone you see about it.

It's funny, when I was using pads I felt like the only one not using tampons. Now that I'm telling my friends about cups I'm discovering that the majority of them only use pads.
arylisa on January 29th, 2015 02:36 am (UTC)
Same here! When I was using pads, I was like "How could anyone possibly put up with this... I bet everyone else uses tampons." and then when I actually talk to my friends about it, most of them are pad users and that surprised me, considering how inconvenient I think pads are.
yell14 on January 29th, 2015 04:56 am (UTC)

As alot of you have said here, changing from pads/tampons to cups has changed the whole period experience, I feel the same way and I also wish I found them earlier.
One thing I struggle with is that my friends who all complain about issues with pads/tampons, cramps, dryness, etc, are not willing to try cups (money is not an issue). One of them did say that blood puts her off,  but with pads you see and smell it everytime you go to the bathroom, which is more often then with the cup.
I don't see myself as an adventerous person, maybe experimental, but if there is something out there that has a potential to improve your lifestyle, like period, wouldn't it be worth trying? I'd say yes.
I just wish it was easier to convince people to try new things.
I am so glad that i bit the bullet and tried cups, i actually enjoy my periods instead of dreading them.

arylisa on January 29th, 2015 05:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree, though I wouldn't go so far as to say that I enjoy my periods. They're still a little annoying to me.
yayforcupsyayforcups on February 5th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
Lol I love this post! I put up with pads and tampons for 13 years because I never knew any different. I used pads that made me itch like my pubic area had been attacked by mosquitos, that I would prefer to put in my bag rolled up than go anywhere near a public toilet waste bin! Plus in the bin they all unravel with their stench!!! I've flooded many a heavy pad. I couldnt even get a non applicator tampon in it dried me out, was scratchy and not a pleasant experience, so I had many applicator tampons, which were ok but because of potential TSS and dryness on light day removals they made think twice before using them.

Sometime last year I thought 'if only there was something that could stop the flooding like a cork' and a few months later my sister told me about her great sckoon experience!! We are the only two in the family who have accepted cups wholeheartedly and its brought us alot closer together!

Yay for cups!!!