I distinctly remember being in 5th grade on that scary and magical day when everyone was to get “the talk” on deodorant, tampons, and all things puberty. However, I did not go. My mother wrote me a note excusing me from the talk. Thus, I sat in the library, reading and coloring, while my classmates received top-secret information.
The trouble was, my mother didn’t supplement that missing info. Deodorant and hair in strange places were kind of self-explanatory. But menstruation? What’s a girl to do?! I sought out my more developed friend, you know, the one with boobs, and asked her about tampons. How do you insert them? Does it hurt? Secretly, I wondered whether tampon insertion affected my vagina’s virgin status.
Locked into the tiny framework of what I knew, I used tampons for many years. Tampons were seen as “clean” and pads were seen as “dirty.” TSS was a constant concern though. Had I left my tampon in too long? Was I using the perfect absorbency rate for my flow? I’d jolt awake in the middle of the night to change my tampon.
When I decided to cut some worry out of my already worry-laden life, I switched to pads. These plasticy, swishy, smelly, diaper-like appendages were less than ideal. Yet, after the switch, I stopped getting cramps. I slept better, though there was still the concern of flowing over, creating an ocean of blood that would inevitably engulf my bed. This was life now, since pads and tampons were the only options for handling my monthly blood.
Or were they? Brave, new world of unknown period accoutrements! About 6 months ago, my partner introduced me to menstrual cups. At first it was a bit awkward trying to maneuver a tiny silicone cup into my vagina. See diagram:
Now, I have all the freedom. I don’t worry about TSS. I don’t worry about overflow (a menstrual cup can fit 1oz. of blood). I don’t worry about all the paper and plastic waste my periods make. I don’t worry about going to the pool (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). It’s so freeing to have a little cup sitting inside me, hanging out, doing its thing.
Sometimes “its thing” means having a mind of its own and not wanting to sit just right. For a day I might switch back to pads. Overall, I’ve been super duper stoked on my Diva Cup. (www.divacup.com)
The one thing that does worry me are leaks. If you don’t insert the cup right, you can have leakage. But by golly if there isn’t a fantastic invention for that: period panties. Panties with the capability of holding 1 1/2 tampons worth of blood. Panties that feel a little like swim bikini bottoms but are cute, fun, and “anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and leak-resistant.”
And yes, they really are. I’ve only used them a few times so far but they’ve been working great. In 90 degree heat the rest of my body is hot and sweaty but my lady bits feel just fine.
I owe that to Thinx. After much research, I decided to try the company out. When I ordered, I thought my booty was a little bigger than it is and ordered the wrong size. I went to exchange them and they let me keep them plus sent me my correct size (for free!). Check them out: http://www.shethinx.com.
If you’re a lady or you have some ladies in your life, I hope this might be a little illuminating. If you’re already among the illuminated, good on ya mate! Share that knowledge. Cause sharing is caring. Especially when it comes to blood.