So, I tried the period cup and here's what happened
I’ve always been one to try new things. But when it comes to my period, I have had the exact same routine for years. Ever since I first started using tampons, I bought them religiously every month, because I didn’t really think there were any other options for me.
But then, I heard about menstrual cups.
Menstrual cups intimidated me at first. For years, I entertained the idea of them in my mind, only to talk myself out of it. What if it spills? How could I possibly change it at work, or any public bathroom? Could something like that really work?
But as the years went on, more and more of my friends made the switch to the cup, and I thought to myself: They’re comfortable (according to my cup-wearing friends), convenient, easy on the wallet, good for the environment, AND have my friends’ endorsements — no drawback, right?
After years of feeling guilty for the environmental impact all my tampons have been having on the earth, and after doing a little shopping around on Amazon, I picked the perfect one: a light blue little cup that came in a cute flowery case. It’s chic, too, I thought to myself proudly.
The next time I got my period, I was on a trip in Europe, and to my dismay, I had totally forgotten to pack my cup in my suitcase. But when the time o’ the month came again in October, I was ready. I had just went on a cross-country trip and moved into my first all-by-myself apartment. And now I was about to use my super-smart purchase. I felt like a freakin’ rock star.
I had some initial trouble getting it in, because apparently you’re supposed to fold it in some origami-like shape or else it springs back, but I did it! And although I walked funny for the first few minutes, after a while it felt like there wasn’t anything in there. I laid back in my armchair and watched Netflix for a couple hours — How To Get Away With Murder, in case you were wondering (if you don’t watch it, GET ON THAT) — feeling like I had earned some legit chill time. Then I went back in the bathroom to check on it. You know, just to make sure it’s doing the thing it’s supposed to do.
So I sat down and reached up. And to my horror, I discovered an issue.
Somehow, my little friend had gone WAY up there. Like, so far up that I could barely even find the stem (which is STUPIDLY short, IMHO). And when I could, I couldn’t grab onto it, because it’s like my body had decided that it *really* liked the cup and was now going to make it a permanent fixture INSIDE OF ME OH MY GOD.
I took a deep breath and tried really hard not to freak out. It’s probably normal the first time, I told myself, but you’ve gotta relax if you want to get it out. Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s quite difficult to relax when you have a foreign object stuck inside of your body. Didn’t think that would be a lesson I’d ever have to learn the hard way, but hey, life, ya know.
So after about half an hour of trying, I had somehow migrated from the toilet to a horizontal position on the cold bathroom floor. I got up, put my pants back on, paced around my apartment, and SCREAMED to my boyfriend: I’m never using a menstrual cup again, why is everything designed for women so evil, I just want my period to be easy but noooooo that would be TOO MUCH TO ASK WOULDN’T IT, etc, etc. He nodded understandingly throughout, being the excellent boyfriend he is, before offering to take me to the hospital.
And then, I envisioned waiting in the ER for who knows how long, feeling uncomfortable, awkward, ashamed, only to have a doctor pluck it out with no problem. And a wave of determination washed over me. “No,” I said, my newfound willpower making me grin maniacally. “I’m gonna try again.”
So back into the bathroom I went. Another twenty minutes passed. I managed to grab ahold of the stem, but it felt like it was suction-cupped to my body. I left the bathroom. The cup was still inside of me, and I was crying now. Willpower did not make that sucker budge, nor did sobbing very real human tears.
I drank a glass of wine and paced some more.
Eventually, after much awkward squatting, followed by wiggling and writhing on the ground, I managed to get it out. I sat there in shock, trying to fight off a brief almost-fainting spell, then breathed the biggest sigh of relief in my life. That sucker went directly in the trash.
I still don’t know if I did something wrong — after all, I know plenty of women who happily use the cup and swear by it. But for now, I’m still on the quest to find the perfect alternative to tampons. Every woman is comfortable with something different, and no one product works on (er, in?) everyone, but perhaps one day, I’ll try the cup again.
(Image via Shutterstock.)