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I apologize up front about this being a more TMI topic. But I thought I would share (not in full on graphic terms/detail or anything) my experience with the Lena menstrual cup.
Years ago, one of my roommates made the switch to the Diva Cup (another menstrual cup) and I remember her showing all of us what it looked like and explained a little about how it worked. All I remember thinking was, “That is disgusting.” And that was the end of that.
Or so I thought.
Flash forward to a couple months ago. I was thinking, shoot, I’m going to be on my period in Bolivia – a place that doesn’t have the BEST of restrooms, as well as a place that if we’re traveling, meeting people, seeing places, I do NOT want to have to be worrying about having to go to the bathroom every few hours.
A little background on myself. I usually experience a heavier flow my first few days of my cycle and then get lighter after that (ESPECIALLY after having a baby). So those first few days I have to make a trip to the restroom usually every few hours AND have to wake up in the middle of the night at least once. And I use the Super Plus tampons AND a pad those first few days, so it’s not like I’m not fully prepared or anything. And I’m the girl that gets to experience this wonderful occurence the full seven days! Thank you Mother Nature! I love you so!…
SO anyways, I was thinking, “Yeah, heck no do I want to be stuck in a Bolivian bathroom while on my period”. (I’m just so used to here in America! Haha!) So I began asking people I knew questions about whether or not they liked using a menstrual cup and if they stuck with it after trying it.
And every person I asked really liked their menstrual cup over tampons! They told me that you think you bleed more than you actually do, which I thought wasn’t possible. I mean, like I mentioned earlier, I had to visit a bathroom every few hours so I had no idea how I could go double or even TRIPLE the time with a menstrual cup. It didn’t even seem to make sense that you don’t bleed as much as you think you do.
They also told me that they didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night. Again, I’m thinking, “Whaaaa!?? Not possible, right?…”
So after talking with family and friends who had tried and used it, I thought I should probably give it a go. What’s the worst thing that could happen? So I bought the Lena double pack (a large size + small size for heavy and light flows) on Amazon and brought it with me to Bolivia because I thought that would be my best bet while I was there. (Don’t worry, I brought the traditional backups with me in the event the Lena went South on me).
Guys. It changed my whole period experience.
I think I’m in the majority when I say I DREAD the lovely time of the month. I don’t know a single person who looks forward to then (unless you’re looking forward to seeing if you’re pregnant OR if you’re the weird girl on those junior high sex-ed videos that acts all excited to finally get her period…).
But I think the Lena really changed the whole feel of a period. What I mean is, I wasn’t constantly paranoid about “Do I need to go to the bathroom?” or being stressed about it! I felt much more calm and just knew on my heavier days I should probably change once during the day, once right before bed, and then once in the morning before I start my day (and then repeat). When I was on my lighter days, I could go the ENTIRE day and not have a single worry!
I’m telling you, it was quite the game changer.
The only problems I experienced were because it was my very first time using it. I’ve been told and also read on the Lena website that it takes a few cycles to really get it down. So I’m not super discouraged right now considering it was my first time using Lena.
But overall, my first experience went pretty well!
It is recommended that you rinse it with water when you remove and place back in, so many people I talked to used the bathtub water to rinse it or the sink, whichever was closer. You can definitely use toilet paper to clean the cup off and then just rinse whatever is left real quick.
What I liked to do was (if you can) wait until the end of the day when you go to take your shower. You can remove it, clean it, and place it back in during your shower time. That was what I preferred to do and worked really well for me.
I’m excited to get better at it because it really was way nicer than tampons. And theoretically, you are not supposed to leak and can go swimming, play sports, sleep, exercise, everything with it! I’m still getting used to mine so I experienced a little bit of leaking, but I still am working on the technique of placing it.
Practice makes perfect!
But seriously, I’m glad I tried it (even though the concept totally weirded me out at first) because I think I’m going to use it from here on out!
Below I made a list of pros and cons that I came up with based on my own experience with Lena:
- Can use Lena up to 12 hours
- Is reusable
- Shouldn’t leak (once used to it)
- Don’t have to spend money on tampons and pads
- Can see how heavy of a flow you actually have
- Don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night (if that’s something you normally have to do)
- Better for the environment (not throwing away tampons and pads every month)
- It gets pretty yucky to change
- Have to get up close and personal with yourself by using your fingers to place AND make sure it’s sealed properly
- Have to remove with fingers too
- Have to clean it in between uses and boil in between period cycles
- Takes time & practice to get used to
- Pricier up-front cost (worth it in the long run)
What questions do you have about the menstrual cup? I am by no means an expert, but I will try to answer any way I can!