I’ve never been a huge fan of tampons, especially after reading this article on a woman finding mold in her tampon, not to mention the other chemicals that are in them. But since I am a hot yoga instructor, it is necessary for me to use them while I am teaching because I do not want to want to be demonstrating Compass Pose or Headstand with a bulky pad in a hot and sweaty room.
I started to run into problem with tampons, though, when I got to the super-absorbency and I was still soaking through them and leaking all over the place (most embarrassing was when this happened in class–hopefully no one noticed).
So I started to look into alternatives, and that’s when I began to research the menstrual cup. Basically, it is a bell-shaped device made of latex or silicone that you insert into your vagina and it catches the blood. When it is full, you pull it out and empty it into the toilet, and then you wash it and reinsert. I thought this was a new invention , but it has been around since the 1930’s.
After much research, I decided to go with the Sckoon Cup. I went with that brand because it seemed soft and easy to use. I got the large size because I have had two children. (There are two sizes–the small one for pre-childbirth and the large one for post-childbirth.)
Initially it was tricky to figure out how to get it in. I tried different folds, but the C fold ended up working best for me. Not gonna lie, it was painful the first few times and I wasn’t sure if it popped open so there was a lot of swirling and “exploring” going on. And after I got it up past the pelvic bone, I did feel it, even though people said it was very comfortable. It definitely was more comfortable than a tampon for me, but I could still sense that something was there.
I left it in, and I did have leakage a few times, but that was because the cup did not pop all the way open. After I reinserted and got it to open correctly, it worked like a charm. No leakage because the cup creates a kind of seal that prevents the blood from seeping out.
You know it’s time to empty the cup when you begin to spot. Basically the cup has reached its capacity and the blood begins to spill out of the holes at the top.
Pulling out the cup the first couple of times was actually really painful for me. Part of the reason was the suction, and part of it was that the cup was now open and therefore a larger diameter. I found that the key was to break the suction with your finger so that you do not suction out your insides as you’re pulling it out (I think I literally heard a “popping” sound the first time and saw stars). Another tip is to pull it out at an angle so that it is a smaller diameter.
Pulling it out is a bit of a messy process, but it is fine if you are at home and near a sink. The tricky part is when you are in a public restroom. I try to minimize the emptying in public restrooms, but when I do, I wipe up everything and then go outside to the sink to discreetly rinse off the cup and my hands. Some people bring in a wet paper towel with them, but I personally like to completely wash the cup when possible.
I have used the menstrual cup for 3 cycles now, in each subsequent cycle it’s been easier to use the cup. It has gotten much less painful to insert and remove, and I truly do not feel the cup at all when it is inside now. The best thing is that the cup holds much more fluid than a tampon and I have had very few leaks, even during my heaviest days. I am able to make it through a yoga class on my heaviest days without any issues.
Plus, I don’t have to worry about chemicals, mold, and Toxic Shock Syndrome because bacteria does not grow on silicone or rubber and you can leave it in until it is time to empty, sometimes up to 12 hours.
I’m super happy that I’ve “discovered” this invention that’s been around for this long. I’m never going back to the tampon again. Try the menstrual cup–it’s better for your body, and better for the environment.