[Menstruation Matters] Saying Goodbye to Tampons

When I first started my periods I was 13, and for the first year of menstruating, maybe closer to two years I mostly used sanitary towels as my method of absorption and honestly that was a miserable experience. I had leakages, a general feeling of discomfort when wearing them, they always made me feel a bit grubby and really nothing about them made me periods any easier. Which means a switch to tampons did bring me a fair amount of relief. 

I’ve used tampons exclusively since I made the switch, which was probably about 18 years ago now. I did very briefly try a Mooncup about 8 years ago when I was trying to make my periods as natural as possible in terms of using no birth control after having my son and reducing my use of disposable sanitary products seemed wise too. I used it for maybe three cycles and just decided it wasn’t for me. 

I’m just coming to the end of my current menstrual cycle and I have returned to a menstrual cup again. During my last cycle, so the one before this one, I had an experience with a tampon that made me determined to find a menstrual cup I could use happily. 

When my flow is light, and I’m just pottering around the house I quite often don’t use any sanitary wear at all. Which means sometimes I go to remove a tampon and remember I didn’t actually put one in. This happened to me in my last cycle and I thought nothing of it, I put another tampon in because I decided it was necessary and went about my business. The next day I had a day off and decided, in a somewhat unusual turn of events to have a mid-period wank.

Another new thing for me is needing some sort of internal stimulation to climax during masturbation, I always used to just Doxy my clit and wahey, happy orgasm to me. Recently though a single finger inside my cunt really helps things feel a lot more satisfying! This particular day as my finger was doing its thing, I felt something definitely not normal! After a moment of panic that it was a part of my body, I realised something, it was a tampon! 

After all those years of tampon use, one had lost its string, which had made its presence inside me less obvious when I went looking for it, and then when I’d used another tampon I’d clearly pushed it further inside myself. Thankfully with nice long fingers and some pelvic floor clenching I got a hold of that pesky tampon and removed it. I won’t lie it was not a very pleasant looking tampon but I am very lucky that it didn’t stay put inside me any longer. 

The very moment this all happened though I decided I needed to make the move from tampons. While there are lots of options for menstrual cups, and browsing online would have afforded me the most choice, the next time I was in Boots I grabbed a Mooncup. I knew if I waited too long I’d forget and would end up using tampons again. What I should have remembered to do was to then keep the Mooncup in my bag. 

When my period started this cycle, my Mooncup was at home and I was at work. Not only did this totally throw my plans for a night of hardcore fuckery out of the window, it also gave me a decision to make, roll with the tampons for a day or grab another menstrual cup while I was out. I went for the second option and popped to Boots and got the other product they offer the KIND menstrual cup. They look very similar, but I will use both, Mooncup can be for my next cycle and if there are any differences worth mentioning I can let you all know, especially as I know some folk are still searching for a cup that works for them. 

My current experience of the menstrual cup is far better than my last. When I first put it in I was convinced I was leaking everywhere, a trip to the loo revealed this was definitely not the case. All seemed well. It was comfortable to insert and was so far doing its job, I felt like I was off to a good start. 

While I didn’t get to engage in the fuckery I was hoping for, there was definitely some hot and sexy action. There was a lot of rolling around, lots of wriggling and I definitely didn’t hold nack on any of that to give the cup a better chance of doing its job. When the sexy times ended, they did so when I got a face covered in jizz and only then could I go to the bathroom and see how the cup had done. There was a small amount of spotting. I wouldn’t say it had leaked though. I suspect the tiniest of blood escaped the cup and combined with my arousal it looked like more than it was. It really wasn’t anything to write home about and I absolutely think the cup did a great job under pressure. 

After that, the cup just got to do its thing in far more relaxed circumstances and its truly been fab. Insertion is something I found quite simple, folding the cup as instructed gets it in nicely. My first few times getting it out were perhaps not as graceful. Both hands were used, there was a lot of fumbling and a bit of mess. Eventually, I realised that I had a great tool to make removal easier and I just wasn’t using it … pelvic floor muscles. 

Engaging my pelvic floor muscles when I want to remove the cup pushes it further down to point I can grab the little stem and bingo, removal became ten times easier. The advice given to decrease the suction by placing a finger up the side of the cup is also good. I suspect the pelvic floor advice is given somewhere too, but somehow I think I missed that, so I feel like a genius for noticing it myself. 

One thing I’ve noticed using the cup is that my flow isn’t that heavy at all. The first few times I emptied the cup there was barely anything to empty, this gave me a good indicator of how often I personally needed to empty the cup. I also read, and this makes total sense, that a lighter flow will mean the cup sits higher up, which means getting the pelvic floor muscles on the go was a must for me. 

Morning times on my period usually involve a mad dash to the loo, there’s pretty much always a big morning gush on one or two of my cycle days and that’s never a great start to my day. This cycle though? The cup totally had me covered. I suspect there was a gush, but it stayed inside me and my knickers were saved. This feels like such a massive achievement. 

I’d love to know how other folks keep their cups fresh smelling and clean. I did notice that the cup does retain an odour. I saw a tip mentioning a solution of vinegar and water used each time you empty it should prevent that happening. I don’t know that I manage it every time I empty it, but it certainly does seem to work the times I have done it. I’ve also seen the advice to boil it at the end of your cycle, carefully of course and following the procedure to do so safely, so I will give that a go in the next couple of days once my cycle is done. 

Overall I am definitely a convert. My experience this first cycle has been good enough that I know going forward it can only get better. In terms of comfort and fit, the KIND cup feels great to me. The stem isn’t as long as on the Mooncup, which I know is a factor mentioned by some folk in regards to cups. I know you can and should trim the stems to a length that suits you, but on the KIND cup, I don’t actually think you’d need to, or potentially even be able to do that. 

One of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome in terms of getting used to using the cup is how I feel inside when changing the cup. Everything feels puffy and spongey and I’m not massively into that sensation. It is something I suspect I’ll get used to though and before I know it I won’t even remember why I felt squicky about it. 

I feel good about making the switch to a menstrual cup and I don’t see me ever going back to tampons, I’d definitely recommend trying a menstrual cup to anyone who’s curious. From everything I’ve read, it seems that sometimes you might need to try more than one product, which can be tricky as they’re not that cheap. When you consider what we do spend money on though then perhaps investing in more than one menstrual cup isn’t the worst thing to do when money allows of course. 

I’m linking this up to Bee’s Menstruation Matters and will take this opportunity to remind you that you can share any thoughts you have on menstruation there, I absolutely think we don’t talk about periods enough and I’d love to read more posts on them, especially other folks experiences of menstrual cups. 

5 thoughts on “[Menstruation Matters] Saying Goodbye to Tampons

  1. I LOVE my menstrual cup! It has changed my outlook on my period. I no longer dread all of the things that go along with bleeding every month, leaks, tampons, the wet string in my panties… I only empty mine twice a day and I found that doing it in the shower makes it so much easier. I found that the best way to remove it is to pinch the bottom of the cup instead of pulling the stem. This releases the suction and is less painful. One of my partners recently got one and we found that we can pretty much enjoy almost all sexual activities while wearing them, including oral and g-spot stimulation with a finger or two, without making any kind of a mess. After a thorough rinse, I put mine in the dishwasher after each cycle to clean it. Some may find this gross, but I don’t care and neither does my husband. I have only had one leak in more than a year of using mine and that’s because it is so comfortable, I forgot I was on my period and didn’t empty it! So glad you’re having success with yours!

  2. Thanks for this. I’ve only tried the Lunette which I found was really uncomfortable. I know cutting the stem will reduce the cuts but it felt so bulky as I moved around with it in so I’ve reverted to tampons because they’re so comfy and aren’t a palaver to change when I’m out of the house.

    I need to try some others but I just haven’t known where to start. Maybe I should go for a Kind and see how I go with that one!

  3. This was an utterly fascinating post – thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I’m really glad you’ve found a menstrual cup that works well for you. As someone with vaginismus, I am a *long* way from using tampons, let along menstrual cups, but I definitely hope to get to that point one day.

  4. Oh my god, I would totally freak and panic finding out a tampon got lost inside of me. I’m glad you managed to get it out and I totally understand why you wanted to switch to something else after that. You gave a very insightful account of your experience with menstrual cups. I have heard about and seen them of course, but they always seemed a bit scary to me. Like, how could this little cup possible hold and catch all of the bleeding? And doesn’t it hurt to insert? The latter part probably is true for me. I can’t even insert a tampon without pain and the one time I tried it again it hurt so much to walk, let alone sit with it so I removed it again within the hour. I’m glad the menstrual cup is working for you!

  5. I haven’t had a period in nearly 10 years (thanks to my IUD) but I never tried tampons even before then — I always used pads even though I hated them. If/when I get a period again, I don’t know what I’ll use. It’s so strange (in a good way) how much choice we have and how many options that are now available for people with periods. I’m mostly hoping to not have my period ever again, lol. Then I don’t have to think about it.

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