Articles / I Tried A Menstrual Cup For The First Time In My 40’s.

I Tried A Menstrual Cup For The First Time In My 40’s.

29.05.2024 3 Minutes
I Tried A Menstrual Cup For The First Time In My 40’s.

Conquering the Fear Factor - I Tried A Menstrual Cup For The First Time In My 40’s. 

After I went through chemotherapy for breast cancer in my 40’s, my periods stopped and I thought I was in menopause. I wasn’t. 

To say I was unsure about switching to reusable period care would be an understatement. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in my mid-40s, I thought chemotherapy had pushed me into menopause. My period completely stopped when I started treatment and I assumed it wouldn’t return. Until it did.

But with menopause still on the horizon - was I too late to try something new when it came to period care? I’d been using tampons for pretty much my whole life and you know what they say about dogs and new tricks. 

What we see online is often a fairly rosy view of sustainable period care life. Cue the someone young dancing around in their period undies or video of someone happily sterilising their cup or disc ready for the next cycle. What we don’t see much of is people like me - people who have spent decades using pads and tampons. I was nervous about making the switch to something completely new and different.

In my early 40s I started to hear more people talking about period underwear and menstrual cups. My interest was piqued but not long after I received my breast cancer diagnosis. Following six months of chemotherapy, my period came to a grinding halt. I assumed chemo had probably pushed me through into menopause and that was that - kind of a silver lining for what had been a fairly massive grey cloud.

But then, a couple of years later out of nowhere, my periods started again. With a daughter of my own, I was now thinking of her period care options for when the time came and, through my research, was more aware of both the environmental impact of single-use period products than ever before.

Given the chance for what felt like a period care do-over, I decided to give a menstrual cup a go. To be totally honest, I was completely intimidated by the idea of using a cup for the first time. I remember feeling nervous which didn’t really make sense to me because I’d been using tampons all my life so it wasn’t like using internal products was not something I was used to. Turns out that changing the habit of a lifetime can be daunting and trying something new is a bit scary. It did take me a little while to get the hang of it but in the end it was totally worth it. So much more comfortable than tampons or pads, saves me money each month and I love that I’m doing something good for the planet at the same time.

If you are nervous about making the switch, here are my top five tips to make it an easy change:

  • Don’t have your first go at inserting a cup or menstrual disc if you are under time pressure and feel rushed. Pick a moment when you are relaxed, don’t have anywhere else to be and can just take your time.
  • Lubricant is your friend while you master using a cup or a disc. I used Hello Lube when I was getting started and it was a reassuring godsend.
  • There might be some trial and error but don’t be disheartened if it isn’t perfect immediately. In my experience, it can take some practice.
  • Hello Period have brilliant resources on their website to guide you through everything from measuring cervix height, how to insert, how to clean and care for your cup or disc. If you have any questions, get in touch with the Hello team - they say no question is a silly one and there is no such thing as tmi!
  • Reusable pads and period underwear are a great first step if you prefer external products or feel unsure about trying a cup or a disc and want to ease in. They are a great safety net while you get the hang of using your cup or disc.

The biggest learning for me was realising that it is never too late to make the switch - as the saying goes ‘better late than never’.  And if you are one of the people out there who felt the fear but gave it a go anyway, you are a bloody legend!