#Gifted – I received a Sileu Menstrual Cup for free in exchange for reviewing it. Sadly I am of an age where a menstrual cup is no longer useful to me, but I have a 17-year old daughter who really fancied trying one, and was more than happy to write about her experience.
This post contains affiliate links, so I will receive a commission if you decide to buy a menstrual cup as a result of reading this. I will be giving all commissions received to my daughter, to thank her for writing such a detailed and compelling review.
This review goes into detail about periods and about using a menstrual cup – please don’t read if you are squeamish or this might be too much information for you.
So, over to Anne-Sophie and her Sileu menstrual cup
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that periods are one of the worst parts of being a woman. Okay, I can’t vouch for childbirth, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s not something we look forward to each month.
It gifts us all with a wide, unique variety of physical and emotional troubles; your personal cocktail might include bloating, cramps and irritability, whereas someone else you know maybe deals with low mood and disturbances to their sleep and appetite. All this as if the bleeding wasn’t enough already!
Dealing with the physical aspects of menstruation often feels like an extra stress, on top of the discomfort we already go through. It’s expensive, often inconvenient, and I personally spend my entire period anxious that I’m going to get caught out without a tampon, or that whatever I’m using has leaked, and *shock horror* maybe the general public will find out that I have a uterus!
Beyond simply having to endure a week (or more) of discomfort, it feels as though every aspect of having a period today has been orchestrated to make it difficult for us.
Despite years of protesting from various women’s organisations, sanitary products are still taxed in the UK. Conversations about period poverty in the UK have only started gaining relevance in the last couple of years, despite 1 in 10 women aged 14-21 being unable to afford period products. On top of this, there are the health and environmental concerns surrounding the use of disposable products – essentially, it seems that everything about periods is out there to make things more difficult for us.
I will confess that, compared to the experiences of many women, I’m very lucky with my menstrual cycle. That being said, I’m always looking for ways to make it a more pleasant (bearable?) experience myself. At the beginning of this year, in an effort to be more environmentally conscious and save a bit of money, I decided to try a menstrual cup.
I converted to tampons at a very young age (within three months of starting my period) and so I wasn’t intimidated by the actual cup itself, but I’d heard that there were a lot of inconveniences that accompanied it. In hindsight, I wish I’d converted earlier; sure, it takes a bit of getting used to, but I discovered that some aspects of the cup are actually much more convenient than conventional products.
The Sileu menstrual cup
I was very lucky to be sent the Sileu cup, but they retail for £15-20, which for me is only about three months’ worth of my usual period products, and therefore definitely a worthwhile investment as it can last for years. This specific cup comes with a carry case and a collapsible cleaner, which made the whole sanitisation process a lot easier. It also comes in different colours (if that’s your thing) – I chose the red one.
Getting used to it
I’ll admit straight up: the positioning is a bit difficult to master, which is why I spent a few months testing it before I wanted to share my opinion on the experience.
Though the actual insertion wasn’t as uncomfortable as I was anticipating, it took me a long time to figure out that I was trying to place it wayyyy too high. I kind of thought that, it being my own vagina and all, I’d be able to figure it out better than any instruction booklet, but I was so wrong.
In the time that I was trying to get the positioning right, I’d have some small leaks on my heavier days (the instruction booklet also recommends that you wear a pad the first few times you use the cup), but even then it wasn’t uncomfortable. If you’re considering a menstrual cup, but the size/irregular shape scares you a little, one thing I can definitely say is that it is nowhere near as bad as it seems. Especially if you read the instructions first.
Another big thing for me was emptying the cup in public. Knowing that I would have to rinse it out, and that it might get quite messy, gave me a huge amount of anxiety, but it really wasn’t that bad. You can leave it in for up to 12 hours, and on all days except my heaviest this was enough to get me through my day without having to change it in public at all.
Benefits of a menstrual cup
In terms of the extra, unexpected benefits, the first one was being able to start wearing the cup before my period started and then continue to wear it right until the very end. Rather than spend the days prior in a constant state of paranoia, I was able to pre-empt the arrival of Aunt Flo. And I also didn’t have to worry about that awkward stage towards the end where the flow is definitely not heavy enough for tampons, but it is heavy enough for something.
It’s also wonderful to not have to worry about getting caught out without a tampon or pad; it’s always in my bag unless it’s, well, inside me, and I’m enjoying that peace of mind too. And the money I’m saving is wonderful.
At a time when we’re having to stock up on essentials and try to save money where we can, it’s one thing that I’m glad to not have to worry about. The reduced health risk and environmental impacts are wonderful benefits that just happen to come with.
I won’t lie and say that I’m a complete convert; I still use tampons occasionally, if I’m anticipating a situation where emptying the cup is going to be a bit tricky. The first month I used it, I challenged myself to use no other period products and can say proudly that I managed it, and that it wasn’t actually much of a challenge after all…
I had anticipated that a menstrual cup would be an overall inconvenience, and that I would only continue to use it if I could convince myself that not polluting the ocean was worth it. However, after a few months of adjusting, I now view it as the most convenient option that is available to me.
I’m privileged that, when it happens to not be convenient for me, I can just switch back to a tampon, but so far that urge has not hit me. I’m not going to swear off all disposable period products for life, because convenience will likely always be my priority, but I would encourage absolutely anyone who can to experiment with a menstrual cup.
Whether you, like me, are frugal and a bit lazy, or you’re passionate about the environment, or you’re just bored of being marketed period products by skinny, beaming women going rock climbing and playing tennis in white miniskirts, I would urge you to look into the different options and maybe give one a go.
You can take a look at the Sileu Menstrual cup range here