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.
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.
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.)
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.