Roam with R

This review is ultra-TMI… but can there even be TMI when it comes to this stuff? Let’s find out!


Menstrual cups have been around for a while.

At first, I was quick to decide I would never use them… a reusable period product? Eww!

As I travelled more I found myself packing period products even if it wasn’t due. We’ve all experienced the surprise visit of Aunt Flo and the frantic scramble that follows to sort oneself out before things get too messy. More often than not, I didn’t need them and this unnecessary space consumption and hassle was frustrating.

I purchased the Model 1 in Violet, my favourite colour, from Beautiful Because.

When it arrived, I still had three weeks before I could use it giving me ample time to prepare. I read reviews, familiarised myself with the instructions, and searched forums for the disadvantages experienced by others. An overwhelming majority vouched for this product declaring it had changed their lives and they would never look back.

As these things go, my period came the day before a trip to Bali. Typical. At least I had one day at home and if it proved difficult I’d try again next month.

I gave it a go.

Knowing the value of first-hand information when considering a new product, I wanted to provide my own. From the first challenges to becoming comfortable with the cup, here is my experience in the form of FAQs.

What is a Menstrual Cup?

It is a bell-shaped silicone cup which is inserted to collect fluid during your period. Made from natural, medical grade silicone which is BPA free and contains no chemicals, it resists bacterial growth.

First Impressions

How is it used?

I realised that nothing was more valuable than a blogger who mentioned an odd quirk or difficulty they experienced during their time using the cup, and what they did to overcome it. So, to help in your transition to a sustainable period product I have detailed my learning curve.

Folding Methods
Insertion

In the past, I’ve found it hard to insert a tampon directly after having taken another one out and I worried this would also be the case with a cup. Some women noted they applied lubricant to their cup for ease of insertion. However, lubricant is not advised as it degrades the quality of the silicone.

As the cup collects fluids (instead of soaking it up like a tampon) your natural lubrication is sufficient.

Many women cut the stem shorter or cut it off completely. For me it was no problem at all. In fact, if it was any shorter it would be harder to remove. The trick was to insert so the stem was no longer sticking out. This positioning allows you to go about your day without feeling anything.

Removal

Taking it out was tricky.

The first time I tried to remove it I gave the stem a little tug. The cup didn’t budge and an uncomfortable sensation followed. While I read about how best to remove I couldn’t get the hang of it.

It was only 5 hours into my first use so I decided to leave it for the time. Knowing that the cup stays in place by creating a seal against the walls it couldn’t be removed by pulling on the stem. The seal must be broken.

Finding the base of the cup and letting the stem guide me, I pinched the base of the cup where I felt ridges. Then the trick was to tilt it to one side and release the suction. You’ll hear the faintest suction sound… And you’re on the right track! After this, it came out easily.

This took a few days to get used to.

How is it cleaned?

Before

Place the cup in a medium to large pot of boiling water, making sure it doesn’t touch the sides or the bottom as it may burn. Remove it after 20 minutes and place on a paper towel until it dries. Pop it back in the satin pouch ready to use when it’s needed.

During

Out and About

I carry Lunette CupWipes in my handbag that allows me to clean out my cup but don’t have access to a sink.

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have the wipes or a sink handy, after tipping the contents into the toilet, give both the outside and inside a wipe down with toilet paper, pop it back in and you can do a better clean next time you’re back at home or your hotel room. Some women recommend having a water bottle when you know you may need to clean in a public toilet. While not ideal, it’s better than nothing.

Having said that, given that it can be left in for so long, I’ve never had to clean my cup while out and about.

After

Disinfect the cup by boiling in a pot of water for about 20 minutes. Leave it on a paper towel to dry and pop back into your satin pouch ready for next time.

How do you get over the Ick Factor?

We all get it, this stuff can be a bit gross, as are most bodily excretions. I’ve had my period since I was 12 and particularly around that time while I was getting used to this new reality I had many accidents - we’ve all been there, right ladies?

Numerous were the mishaps where underwear and bedsheets were ruined.

There’s no magic cure for it. Over time I came to accept this as a normal part of life and got used to it. It became less gross and more… normal!

What about leakage?

I’ve always had to supplement tampons with panty liners to manage any leakages, so this aspect was a concern.

On the first day of use, I was still getting the hang of it, and didn’t get the seal quite right resulting in a small amount of leakage. On the second day, there was none! Once I learned how to insert it properly and make sure the seal was created I didn’t have to worry about it at all.

Of course, this will depend on your body, flow and the process of learning to use this product.

Can I use it overnight?

YES! Unlike tampons, since it isn’t soaking up the fluids and changing your internal environment you can safely leave it on overnight.

After my first night with the cup I got a fright when I couldn’t feel the stem immediately. During the night, it tends to travel higher so be prepared. This was easily resolved. I gently pushed (like a bowel movement!) and found the stem.

Can I use the toilet normally?

YES! With no strings to pull out of the way it’s much easier.

Your cup my sift during a bowel movement (due to pushing and what not! 💩). After you’ve finished quickly check that everything is in place (and it usually is).

Practice good hand hygiene here!

Does it help with period pain?

I’ve read a few accounts of women claiming that they experienced less cramping while using a menstrual cup.

While this is exciting to hear, as someone living with endo I didn’t have high hopes. After having used it for a year it has made no difference to my symptoms. Oh well.

Pros & Cons

Final thoughts

I wish I could hop into a time machine and tell myself to get one sooner. For me it was immediate success and like most others, the challenge was in the removal, but by the third day I got the hang of it.

The only way to know is to give it a go.


I have not been paid or influenced to review this product. It was purchased with my own money and is an honest recount of my experience.