Lena Cup Review: Four Months Later

The Lena Cup Challenge

Four months ago I decided to try the Lena Cup, a highly rated and well-reviewed menstrual cup.

Now that it’s been a little while I wanted to jump back in and give some secondary thoughts and feelings on using a menstrual cup over tampons. If you want to read my initial reasons for giving a menstrual cup a try (see: I thought they were gross!) read my original post.

Lena Cup

It’s basically like not even having a period at all

One of the biggest inconveniences I experienced before using a menstrual cup was specifically related to blood itself. Going to the bathroom multiple times per day to deal with tampons.

For those who don’t use tampons (or those who don’t have menstrual cycles) tampons come in a variety of sizes. The sizes generally relate to blood flow. If you’re in a heavy-bleed month or if you’re in a heavy-bleed day, you’re going to need a bigger tampon. It’s going to absorb more blood which means you’re not going to quickly soak through it. There are also medium absorbancy tampons, light tampons, regular tampons, extra lite tampons, and all other varieties depending on the brand you choose to go with.

Riveting stuff.

If you know yourself pretty well, and your body is pretty predictable, you may be able to select the right absorbency pretty easily. Sometimes that isn’t the case.

Sometimes you choose a heavy absorbency tampon and then your uterus says just kidding and you have to pull a barely-absorbed cotton swab down and out of your vaginal canal. At other times, what was once a light bleeder, suddenly turns into a heavy bleeder, and your lite tampon suddenly soaks all the way through, down to your jeans, out through your chair.

Of course this is a logistical problem as well. You’re going to want to have a selection of tampons with you at all times so you can have what you need. It costs a lot of money and creates a lot of trash and is generally pretty unpleasant. Some women acknowledge this problem in advance and use liners of some kind (thin absorbant sheets that stick to your underwear) to absorb any likely spotting.

Note that I didn’t actually think tampons were unpleasant until I started using a menstrual cup. I used to be all about tampons! That’s because I was thinking about my options in terms of pads vs. tampons. Broadening my view to pads vs. tampons vs. cups changed things.

Long-Lasting and Flexible

The Lena Cup, like other menstrual cups, can be inserted up to 12 hours. If I wake up at insert it at 6am that means that I don’t have to take it out until 6pm. That means no fuss during my workday. When I get home I can dump it out, put it back in, and not have to think about it again until the morning.

Since the blood just all goes into one central cup, you never have to think about how much you’re bleeding. If it’s important to you to know how much you’re bleeding, you can begin evalutating how much collects over a 12 hour span, or less, if you prefer to dump it more frequently.

Some color fading was disappointing

Some color staining and fading happened to the Lena Cup in the first four months, which was disappointing. Even with proper cleaning, care, and storage, the it’s not the bright perky color it was when I got it. I’ve seen other menstrual cups make an all black version which I thought was funny but now kind of makes sense.

Lena currently only sells a variety of springy colors like pink and turquoise, and white, which must be a hot mess after three months. (But it doesn’t really matter.)

Lena Cup

Continuing to carry tampons with you, anyways

If your cycle isn’t super predictable and you don’t want to always have the cup on you, you may want to carry around tampons or pads as a backup system.

I always keep a few tampons of different sizes in my bag just in case someone asks me for one in the bathroom. It would suck to have to say no to someone who is coming to you in a desperate situation!

Four Month Conclusion

It’s a little mind boggling that there isn’t more widespread use of menstrual cups. I think a lot of people share the same stigmas that I had against them. That’s the primary reason I decided to try them in the first place, and it revolutionized pretty much everything.

Have you given the cup a try? What do you or don’t you like about it? I’m curious if using a cup has impacted your life in any significant way. Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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Lena Cup Review

People who talk about menstrual cups fall into one of two camps. They are so absolutely obsessed with them that it’s a little creepy and you want them to stop talking, or they’ve never tried them before. I found a third category. People who are obsessed with menstrual cups but are turned off by the first group of people – the very vocal– so they keep their obsessions to themselves. A good chunk of my friends have flicked their tampons to the curb and gone full silicone. Now I know.

Like other humans, I sometimes get a little judgmental about things I don’t know much about. That was the primary reason I decided to try a menstrual cup. When I see this trait in myself, it must be squashed with experience. I hadn’t ever tried one before but for some reason I had an irrational hatred of them.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a cup for menstruation. You slide it into your vagina and it catches and holds blood. After up to 12 hours you pull the cup out, empty it, wash it, and either re-insert it or place it in the storage bag. Menstrual cups can be washed and reused every month. A cup can last years with proper care.

Don’t you get blood everywhere?

I was pleasantly surprised at how using the LENA Cup allowed me to actually acknowledge my body. Tampons and pads actively minimize the amount of contact you have with your body and with your period. That’s the point, right? This adds to the narrative that periods are dirty and gross and you shouldn’t talk about them.

The LENA Cup wasn’t the mess I’d imagined.

When the cup is inserted, it seems to take the fluids with it as it slides up. In my use, this prevented any mess. It seemed to be a cleaner process than a tampon because I didn’t have to fiddle with any kind of trash. If you’ve ever had a period, you know that any kind of period trash can be pretty yuck. Especially in public bathrooms. No wrapping tampons in toilet paper or having to toss applicators in the trash.

You have to empty the cup at some point, though!

I had never seen how much I was actually bleeding so I had no idea what to expect. If you are uncomfortable with the sight of blood, you can remove the cup while sitting and knock it back into the toilet without looking. How much blood is in the cup will depend on how heavy you bleed, where you’re at in your cycle, and how long you keep the cup in. Wash it off with a bit of gentle soap, and slip it back in.

It looks too big to insert, how does that work?

You will use a menstrual cup folding technique to get the cup in. This makes the cup insertion size about equal to that of a tampon. The cup slides up and it pops open, sealing to your vaginal walls. This process involves touching your labia and pressing up a bit into your vagina to make sure it’s securely in.

There may be a learning curve with insertion. I would recommend pairing with a liner until you become comfortable enough going solo. The removal process may also require a bit of patience the first couple of times. Having an understanding of how to flex your pelvic muscles to lower the cup downwards can assist in getting it out quickly.

The cup is made of a very smooth medical grade silicone that is super safe for your body and the environment. Because it’s so super smooth, and because it flexes to your body, you’re not likely to feel it. I had always been able to tell when I had a tampon in by flexing or simply feeling it sit there. The silicone is so thin and light that I very rarely notice that it’s there at all. The LENA Cup can stay in for up to 12 hours. The length of insertion time combined with the smooth material made my period exceptionally less aggravating.

What about the different sizes?

There are a lot of different menstrual cups out there. You may need to try more than one to find that one brand that suits you. Most menstrual cups also come in two sizes: Pre-Childbirth or Post-Childbirth. LENA Cup is cool because it bases the size recommendations on the flow you have, not whether or not you’ve had a child.

The LENA Cup costs $24.90. At an estimate, I was spending a couple of hundred dollars a year on tampons or liners.  It’s saving me money. And, to be honest, it’s just cool. (Note: I still keep tampons in my bag + bathroom for those not-too-rare solidarity moments.)

LENA did not send me this product for review or pay me to say these things. I’m happy to be proven wrong once again in the judgement department. Bleed on, little uterus.

Buy the LENA Cup.
Buy the Moon Cup.
Buy the GladRags XO Flo Cup.

Have a question about menstrual cups? Submit anonymously by going to Ask Suggestive and I’ll answer on my blog. Prefer email response? I try to respond as quickly as possible to one on one questions: ask at suggestivetongue dot com. Today, try to challenge your preconceived notions of something you feel judgmental about. You try that green juice. You wear leggings as pants. I live in Portland and make no excuses for these examples. Until next time. xox st.

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