Thursday, March 17, 2016

Forgiving Aunt Flow- A TMI kind of Post

I have a love/hate relationship with my aunt... She visits me regularly and I often look forward to her arrival (if only for confirmation that my attempts at planing parenthood are working), but she always leaves me chafed, irritated, bloated, sore,... well I could go on for days-- because she stays for days.

After 27 plus years of visits- you would think I would be accustomed to my monthly visitor... What a blessing that my body works as it was designed to!  What a gift!  If only tampons and pads and stained panties were as much of a treasure.  For some reason as my body has aged my flow has changed too.  Tampons that used to be absorbent and fool proof (baring the teenage mishaps) now fail frequently and tear that tender skin as I attempt to extricate them from my body.  Those pads- that thankfully are no longer the size of two by fours or held on by belts-- bravely attempt to capture and subdue the raging tide, but wings and super dry mesh are no match for my Aunt Flow.  I know flow mutation is a sign of aging, Peri-menaupause, hormone imbalance, what have you...but really... Flow, Florence, Auntie, can a girl get a break?!?

Then my world was rocked... And I mean rocked hard, like I was 19 slam-dancing at a 90's mosh pit.  It was so awesome!  My world would never be the same... in a good way.  Flow and I are now reconciled, friends on great terms and every month when she leaves, I am almost sad.  Almost...What changed my world.  Two words... DIVA CUP.

This is the Diva Brand
Have you heard of menstrual cups?  Little, reusable, silicone, well for lack of a better word, cups that you insert in the vagina.  They collect the clots, clumps, and dangles along with the good old traditional red flow.  You pull it out, dump the collection in the toilet, wipe the cup down and reinsert it and you are good to go.  No fumbling with toilet paper mummies and awkwardly placed feminine waste recipticales.  No flushing $$ down the toilet each month with every failed tampon blunder.  Plus I am reducing my footprint on the environment... But mostly, I am not chaffed, irritated, sweating profusely down there.  I don't spend a week, laying with my legs spread, trying to air dry my he-haws and kill the moss that no doubt took root.  Flow's visit is a joy.  And if I am really honest, I'll have to whisper this one... I get happy sense of glee each time I empty the cup and can see how full it is.  I almost want to break out a piece of paper and start collecting data to graph and compare flow day to day, month to month.

Another change has occurred in my flow too.  I don't have scientific data to back up my hypothesis, but my periods are shorter.  Flow used to visit for at least 5 day; constant, never really changing, heavy flow.  Now I have 2 heavy days followed by 3 days of practically NOTHING!  My thought is that the cup creates a mini-vacuum internally, creating negative pressure and sucking that flow out instead of just waiting on gravity.  Again, no science; no proof of concept.  Just shorter periods.

There are tons of brands too.  Diva, Luna, Moon.  All have different measurements and different features, but all work with the same premise.  Catch the flow before it exits the vagina.  Don't confuse these cups with Instead... a great cup like product that worked great before I had babies, but never afterwords... (another fun story for another time and place).

Fair warning... there is a learning curve with using this device...(fun times... for another post)  But just like those oh my, I wish I could forget moments when I learned how to use a tampon, and failed miserably, you may have a moment or two with the menstrual cup.  It took me one cycle to get the hang of it.  Six months later, there is NO WAY I would go back.

Want to try it?  I'll walk you through the process and give you all the pointers I can!

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