Bleeding Love 🍷

It’s 2018 and you’re still not being kind to your vaginé? Sis…let’s talk.

A lot of people who menstruate probably have similar experiences with regards to the resources we use to absorb our monthly visitor that wasn’t invited. My first period came when I was on holiday in Europe, my mum must have had some motherly premonition as she had packaged me enough pads to absorb the Pacific Ocean. This was all well and good, but pads and white water rafting don’t mix well and the soggy, bloody mess that I had to deal with emotionally scarred me months. I didn’t know any better and continued to use them, I endured the chaffing and sleeping with what felt like a nappy and after raiding my sisters drawer for an alternative, I started dabbling with tampons. I tried ones with applicators, ones without, non scented, scented (WHY DID I WANT MY BLEEDING VAGINA TO BE SCENTED?!) and finally settled for a reliable brand with pastel coloured packaging. I kept with that brand for years, and as much as I dreaded my PMS, I also dreaded having to insert tiny cotton bullets into myself.

I’m against tampons for many reasons, they’re made of shitty materials that are no good for your vag, they’re terrible for the environment, they’re expensive and my god they are DRY. The sandpapery drag against your walls when you’d remove it would send shivers down my spine. The disturbance in my pH making it sore and itchy, my period became a demon in my mind and it made me miserable. Many years ago, when I stopped eating meat and dairy, I also started looking into how to be more eco-friendly in general. I’d buy recycled toilet paper and non toxic washing up liquid, spending hours online researching on the impact humans are having on the environment due to waste. I came across an article discussing menstrual waste specifically I was gob smacked when I realised how detrimental to the environment our waste is. Those who menstruate go through on average 11,000 tampons in their lifetime, leaving behind waste that will outlive them. One of the largest contributors of landfill waste is the use of LDPE (Low density poly-ethylene), which is what tampon applicators and the strips in pads. They also contribute massively to global warming due to the processing of the material as it requires a lot of fossil fuel generated energy.

The article recommended plastic free tampons, menstrual cups and reusable pads to use in replacement of tampons and disposable pads. I don’t find periods yucky or gross by any means, but I couldn’t face reusable pads at the time and I’d had my fair share of tampons; I opted to try the menstrual cup. The first one I tried was the Mooncup; it was the one on the top of the list and at the time the most reviewed cup. I was at an age where I was still a little bit afraid to buy menstrual waste products in person so I ordered it online, and waited for my next period. I don’t want to go in to graphic detail regarding my first time trying to put it in but it didn’t go well. Don’t let that put you off though; I watched a YouTube tutorial and the next go it sat well. The weirdest part about wearing a menstrual cup is that you can’t really feel it in you. It’s actually unnerving knowing you’re bleeding but feeling like nothing will catch it. I definitely loved the freedom it gave me, I felt less conscious swimming on holidays and riding bikes and doing other activities. It also reduced my cramps a lot, I don’t know how but it did and it is a comment I see a lot regarding using menstrual cups. I have nothing against the Mooncup brand, I will hold it close to my heart for the pure fact it introduced me to a happier, less stressful period. However, as I got a bit more familiar with my vagina, I realised that maybe the Mooncup wasn’t best suited for me; the lip of the cup was very harsh and sometimes painful on removal, and as I was already dealing with some vaginal issues, I wanted something softer but equally as durable.

I read a few blog posts and Amazon reviews and settled on the Dutchess Cup; it was amazing value, I got two cups for around £15.99. As with most cups, they will come in varying sizes – for those that have experienced natural childbirth and those who have not. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting even though it had rave reviews. I have amazon prime and so luckily it came the next day, ready for when I was about to finish my pill packet. On an aesthetic note; they’re so cute! Maybe a pink cup isn’t your thing, but as period blood will inevitably stain the cup (my Mooncup became a beautiful murky beigey yellowey colour – yum!), having it a certain colour to disguise it can actually be very useful! These cups are definitely worth taking a chance on, there’s no pain inserting or removing, they’re sturdy enough that I’ve never feared or experienced it leaking (which occasionally happened with my Mooncup at night). I rarely have to change mine throughout the day, maybe on my heaviest day but otherwise it’s happy to chill in there till I get home. I’m so confident with this cup that I’ve worn white and light blue jeans without batting an eyelid. The cups also clean easily and the holes don’t get blocked with…clots unlike the Mooncup, basically it’s better in every way. possible The fact that there’s two means you can be sure to have a back up when the first needs replacing (many years from now!) or maybe give one to a family member or friend to try out. You can clean them with boiling water after each period and rinse them when changing or at the end of the day. They also come with their own little bags, which is very useful for travel or if you want to be discreet on a bathroom visit. I know these won’t work for everybody for various reasons, but if you’re curious and able to, you should definitely try, I’m 100% sure you won’t regret it!

I apologise for my long break in posts, I’ve been feeling dead for the past few weeks but hopefully I’ll start being regular again soon!

Until next time,

Demi – Colleen x