I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I've worked with doctors and specialists for ages to try to manage the symptoms of it. I've tried everything from hormone pills and injections to fad diets that promise to balance your hormones and cure PCOS, but nothing has ever managed my symptoms long-term. Along with painful, bursting cysts that send me to the hospital, PCOS also blesses me with (drumroll) twice-monthly periods that feature 5-10 days of heavy bleeding coupled with debilitating cramps. The issue of how to manage my period flow is something that's plagued me my entire menstruating life.
There's gotta be a better way!
I've tried many different ways of managing my heavy flow: lots of different pad brands, a few styles of tampons, and a couple of different menstrual cups. None of them were both effective and comfortable, and I eventually lost hope of ever finding a period product that would work well for me.
Pads feel weird to me and never seem to stay put. They're simply too unreliable and uncomfortable to be my go-to method of managing my periods.
I've also tried using several different kinds of tampons over the years. Tampons with cardboard applicators drew me in initially, as they're usually the least expensive tampon. Their low price is attractive to me, as someone who goes through a huge amount of tampons during twice-monthly periods of menstruation. The cost of simply dealing with my blood flow definitely adds up quickly! However, tampons with cardboard applicators don't work for me, because they pinched and hurt to use.
For years, I was stuck buying Tampax Pearl tampons, which are premium tampons with smooth, plastic applicators. However, they're an expensive option, and all those plastic applicators aren't good for our environment. Not only that, but tampons themselves just aren't very comfortable for me to use. My cervix drops pretty low during my periods, so when tampons become full, they tend to sit too low in my body and cause discomfort. Whomp-whomp.
I've always liked the idea of menstrual cups, which are reusable silicone cups that catch period flows, but when I tried a couple of popular cups, I found that they were far too long for me. They were uncomfortable to use and just didn't sit correctly in my body.
I stumbled across the FemmyCycle Menstrual Cup as I was desperately searching the internet for another viable option for dealing with my period flow. After trying so many different ways to manage blood flow, I didn't think I'd ever find something that was comfortable, effective, and economical that wouldn't leave me with a ton of guilt about my environmental impact.
The FemmyCycle cup kept coming up in posts as I was searching for viable alternatives to tampons and pads. Invented by a doctor, their cup design is very unique. It's made of medical-grade silicone, thoughtfully designed to be as hygienic as possible, reusable for up to 2 years, and it boasts up to 12-hour protection. Could I have finally found my holy grail period product?! I didn't want to get my hopes up. Still, I reached out to FemmyCycle about trying out their menstrual cup in exchange for my review, and they were very agreeable to the idea.
FemmyCycle menstural cups come in three styles: petite, low cervix, and regular. They have instructions for measuring which style will suit your body in the FAQ section of their website. My cervix drops pretty low during my periods, so I ordered the low-cervix menstrual cup.
It arrived quickly. As fate would have it, I only had to wait a couple of days before my period started and I could try it out.
Let's do this!
I wore a pad in addition to using the cup for the first time, just in case it didn't end up working out for me and leaks occurred. At first, I was a little intimidated by the cup's insertion process. Reviews I'd read online warned that there is a bit of a learning curve to using it, but I really didn't end up having much of a problem. I fumbled with it a bit initially, and the first removal was pretty messy, but the whole design is very flexible, which makes the process easier than other cups I've tried. There are simple insertion/removal instructions listed in FemmyCycle's FAQ.
Putting It To The Test
Other menstrual cups I'd used were uncomfortable, and I was able to feel them all the time. I was pretty excited when it became clear that I couldn't feel the FemmyCycle cup when it was in place.
Their website features lots of images of people being active, so, after wearing it for an hour without any leaks, I decided to challenge my cup a bit. I wanted to test just how leak-proof the cup is by stretching out and doing some light yoga (I normally do this during periods to help relieve cramps). I stretched out on my floor for about twenty minutes, and felt totally victorious when it still hadn't leaked.
The Final Verdict
I'm very happy that I discovered FemmyCycle. I'm so excited to have found an alternative to pads and tampons that is environmentally-friendly, actually works for my body (no leaks here!), and is comfortable to use.
The only critique I have involves their branding. It's very centered around cis-women, which is exclusionary of transgender and non-binary people. Hopefully, they will realize that babes of all genders menstruate, and revamp their website and branding to reflect this and be more inclusive.
So, babes who bleed: consider FemmyCycle menstrual cups! I'm totally on board with them. It's an A+ from me. Now, I'm off to curl up on my sofa with a cup of tea to watch emotional dramas and have a good cry. Period hormones fluxes are the worst, but if you can't beat 'em, embrace 'em, right?