Saturday, 15 November 2014

Diary of a Menstrual Cup User - Day Four (The day I learned about different folds)

I recommend that you read the first three parts of this series - Prologue, Day One and Day Two and Three - before starting on this.

This morning, I had no cramps, but I have no way of telling whether that’s because I had a good night’s sleep or because I wasn’t wearing the cup. I decided to be positive about it and resolved that I won’t read any more of the forum threads today – the last day of my periods – and would reserve further reading for after the menses. I’d request you to follow this advice – do not read up too much or overthink, because then you’ll be susceptible to psychosomatic experiences and be unsure of what you are using. This advice, of course, is relevant for any product, not just cups or personal care products.

The latter half of my third day and the fourth day are generally blood-free, with a little spotting at the most. So the fourth day is usually a chilled-out day. I reinserted the cup in the morning, and used a punchdown fold (see pics) instead of the standard C-fold that I was using the last three days. Now you must wonder how many folds is even possible with this tiny thing. You’d be surprised, because I was! I watched a Lunette folds video on YouTube, which showed around nine folds! Some are quite fancy, but I think the C-fold and punchdown work the best and are the easiest.


 


All the folds in the video may not be comfortable for everyone. Plus the fancy folds such as the diamond can be used only if you have a larger vaginal canal and a wide-mouthed cup. And to break the seal that the cup forms with the cervix, you have to make sure that you don’t pull the cup out in a straight motion, but instead, settle into your most comfortable position (squatting and leaning against the wall might be best), hold the stem of the menstrual cup firmly and gently move it from left to right till you can feel the cup moving outwards. And once you can feel parts of the cup other than its stem, press and pull gently. If you are removing the cup after more than 4-6 hours and the cup could be more than half-full, ensure that you don’t spill the blood during this pulling. The cleaning up will be messy and gross. Especially if you are in an office or public toilet. Also take care not to drop the cup while removing it – imagine if it falls into the public toilet?! Yuck.

Those of you who are cleanliness freaks might also want to carry around tissues and hand sanitizers (If you are a cleanliness freak you might already be carrying these in your vanity bag!) to clean the cup and the hands after each removal and re-insertion.

The reason I was looking up folding methods is because of the suction and seal business. As I mentioned earlier, the cup forms a seal with the cervix and stays in place because of vacuum suction. The size of the mouth of the cups sometimes makes it difficult to insert it into the vagina properly. Which is why it is important for you to know the size of your vaginal canal and the size of the cup you plan to buy, in order that you don’t end up wasting your money on something that doesn’t fit you at all. A variety of size charts are available here. I reiterate – I happened to be lucky at getting the right fit, but it may not be so for you.

The fourth day was the most comfortable of them all (naturally) and though I’ve got fairly accustomed to the cup, there’s still more to learn and get relaxed with. I’m better prepared to face more cycles with the product. The cup is by far the most intimate product I’ve used and is both awesome and scary at the same time, but I find it much more comforting and sensible than the sanitary napkins I’ve been using so far. In my next post, I will be talking generally about the advantages and disadvantages of using the cup, and its comparison with other menstrual products.

(This is a non-fictional diary entry designed to spread awareness about menstrual cups. The author promises to give a true and honest review, and narrate her experiences as decently as possible.)
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