Menstrual Cups Are Having a Moment—Here’s What It’s Like to Wear One
Thinking about ditching the tampons and trying something new?
The menstrual cup is having a moment, so we decided to test this super-cheap, eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. Here’s how it feels to wear one!
What is it:
How it works:
WH tests it:
Editorial assistant Michelle October and senior copy and food ed Amy Rankin both tested the Mina Cup. Here’s what they thought:
I was fairly excited to try the Mina Cup, because I’d heard that it was eco-friendly and there was this idea in my head that it’s something the less privileged are given in rural areas, and if they could live with it, why couldn’t I? The Mina Cup is one of the cups given to underprivileged women and for good reason: you only need one for every period, ever, for a good five years. I was only worried about how round the cup was and that it wouldn’t fit!
Holding the cup in my hands when I actually had my period was a bit scary. But I felt the same kind of fear when I got my period for the first time; there’s a weird contraption you have to learn to use and you don’t know what to do. It’s just you and a toilet cubicle and you have to figure this thing out. So I read the instructions, folded the cup as instructed, and just… shoved it in there. The first few tries, I struggled. My fingers kept letting go of the folding too quickly and it would pop back into its round shape in my hands. After a while I got it right and the cup was in place. The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t feel anything. Unlike tampons and pads, which are based on the principle of absorption, the cup sort of disappears. It’s a great feeling, not having that reminder about what’s going on inside you every time you get up or walk or just move. For once, I could forget about my periods.
The first time I used the cup, it was before bed. While I do have a light flow, I’ve always struggled with bedtime. But when I woke up, I went to the bathroom and did a check. The amount of liquid was insanely small! It made me wonder if my troubles with tampons and pads weren’t actually all about the mechanism I was using and not my period at all? I rinsed out the cup and re-inserted it. I only bothered to check it the next morning and I was fine.
As far as logic goes, this is the most obvious tool. It’s eco-friendly, it’s not harmful for your skin, it lasts longer, it’s comfortable and it’s way, way cheaper. It’s so obvious I actually don’t know why this isn’t the preferred method of use. The only problem I really had was taking it out: the tag at the end was a little small and I probably inserted the cup too far up, but I had to do a bit of fiddling to get it out. But once you’re used to it, there really is no going back. I’m all in.
I was super-nervous about testing a menstrual cup. Gross was the first thought that came to mind. The second thought was related to heavy flow and leakage. Yes, gross again.
To be honest, I waited until day three of my period. Unlike Michelle, I have a heavy flow and was nervous about using the cup for the first time on my heaviest days. Insertion was no problem. I completed a yoga class in the early morning and a HIIT functional training class at Huba Fitness later that afternoon. No spillage, no leakage. And no discomfort. In fact, you can’t feel it at all. I usually have to use super tampons and liners, which are sometimes uncomfortable.
I had to remove/clean and reinsert the cup after seven hours (my cup was ful-lish) – no fuss, no pain. Each time I removed the cup, I rinsed and sanitised it in boiling water before reinserting it.
I’m totally going to use it again – this time starting from the first day of my period.
Did you know?
Over 6 million school girls are missing school because they don’t have access to sanitary ware!
But you can help: sponsor a cup for just R150! It’s produced by local non-profit Happy With A Purpose, has a life span of five years, is cheap, safe, environmentally-friendly and every girl needs just one. Be the difference in SA. Visit Minacup.org for more information and to sponsor a school girl.
Want to buy your own? You can get them online pretty easily from 28FourChange: pay R300 and one gets donated to schoolgirls in Malawi who need them, while you get one for yourself. That’s two cups for the price of one.
Looking for more info on the menstrual cup? Here are 7 facts that might convince you to try one.