When I was given the chance to test out a menstrual cup for the Brightly Shop, I was hesitant. Sure, this was great for the planet—but could I really make the switch? After all, I have 25 years of plastic tampons behind me.
I know tampons… I’m comfortable with tampons. It goes beyond personal preference at this point. The cup left me with a lot of burning questions: How on earth is that comfortable? Won’t it leak? How do you get it out? Won’t it make a huge bloody mess?
I politely declined my first few chances to test some well-known menstrual cups. But after a colleague described her Flex Cup as “life-changing,” I had to see for myself. After all, my tampons would still be there waiting for me.
Making the Switch
There are obvious reasons to switch to a menstrual cup. I did some quick math on how many tampons I go through in a typical cycle (25) and in an average year (300), which means in my 25 years of getting my period, I’ve gone through a whopping 7,500 tampons! WHAT?! Switching to a cup, which with proper care can last about two years, is friendly on both the planet and my wallet.
On Day One of my next period, I read the instructions, watched a few videos, reread the instructions, and even phoned a friend. I finally took a few deep breaths and inserted my cup. Truth be told, there’s a bit of a learning curve and it took a few tries until it felt comfortable. Once it was in, however, the pull tab was neatly tucked away and it stayed that way throughout the remainder of my day. Just like a tampon, I couldn’t feel it at all.
Most menstrual cup fans swear they offer up to 12 hours of leak-free protection, which naturally had me pretty skeptical. As someone who suffers from endometriosis and super heavy periods, I figured I’d debunk that claim pretty easily, and sure enough—on Day One—I noticed a small leak in the afternoon.
I troubleshot on the Flex Cup website, and it looked like I still didn’t have the cup in all the way. After a few more deep breaths and setting aside any fears that this cup would be lost in me forever, I got it positioned correctly. After that, I was pleasantly surprised to find that in addition to being leakproof, the cup lasted all day long.
Perhaps my biggest hesitation in using the cup was taking it out. Thankfully, the Flex Cup’s unique pull tab worked just like the string of a tampon (minus the soggy, disgusting string!) and I had no issues removing the cup that evening.
I’m not going to lie: The sight of all the blood collected is not for the squeamish and it definitely was a bit messy the first time. But after a few days and learning to give a gentle tug instead of yanking it, the aftermath felt more tolerable.
I spent the next five days putting the Flex Cup to the test: running, skiing, and even a 14-hour day of travel. And, the Flex Cup delivered as promised.
Cleanup was easy, too: I just rinsed it with warm water twice a day, then sterilized it in boiling water once my period was over (although that’s not required).
I was so nervous about this swap, and yet after just one cycle using the Flex Cup, I’m ready to retire my tampons forever.
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