Periods. Every girl has them, but they aren’t often talked about. But they really can affect a girl’s travels. If you travel as a couple this monthly bleed can have an affect on the other half too (though no way near as an affect). Periods can easily makes girls miss out on activities. Whether it be the amount of facilities or the pain you’ll be in, you have to plan around your periods. Swimming on my period was something I never did. And let’s not forget days of travelling long distance, not good on a period.
So girls have a choice, miss out on something, plan around their period or skip a period (i.e. if on the pill). Finding “feminine products” can also be an issue, different brands can make them differently, so may cause irritation. Finding the products full stop can be hard in some countries or areas too. Before my six month trip to Mexico, I looked for a way to make periods easier to deal with. This is how I found the Lily Cup Compact. A menstrual cup that folds away, so I decided to give it a go.
Disclaimer: I was given a discount on the Lily Cup Compact in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
A Swedish company, called Intimina makes the Lily Cup Compact. The company is dedicated exclusively to women’s intimate’ health. From the first menstruation to beyond the menopause, the company’s mission is to ‘care for a woman’s most intimate needs’.
Intimina products are medically informed too. The company relies on research and oversight of their medical advisory board. The medical board included specialists ranging from gynecology to pelvic floor health. The board also provide information for the blog, which is a health and wellness resource for women.
The company launched in 2009 and has expanded rapidly. Now their range consists of menstrual cups, pelvic floor strengtheners, spa tablets and more.
The Lily Cup Compact
The Lily Cup Compact is just one in a range of menstrual cups that Intimina make. There is also the original Lily Cup Classic, the Ziggy Cup and Lily Cup One.
The Lily Cup Compact comes in two sizes (A and B) for different, well, flow rates, length of vagina etc. Made from medical grade silicone it is a hygienic and safe alternative to pads and tampons. What makes the Lily Cup Compact different is that it collapses flat into a small case.
The cup is soft and reusable. Being reusable menstrual cups are better for the environment, and your pocket, than tampons and pads. With a secure rim to hold it in place, it sits lower than a tampon and collects, rather than absorbs your flow. It is hypoallergenic, ‘respecting your intimate balance’ meaning that there are no odours. This also means that there’s also no dryness that is associated with tampons. The easy-grip stem makes removal easy too.
In all honesty, I was nervous to be receiving a Lily Cup Compact. It took me quite a while to order it. I’d only ever used pads before, so this was going to be a big change for me. After I received the cup, I dreaded my next period. I was actually scared to be trying the cup out. Once I had it out of the case I thought it looked scarily big, but I was impressed with how compact it was when folded.
The first time I used the Lily Cup it took a few times to get it in correctly. Figuring out the way to fold it was a little bit easier said than done for me (there are two ways you can fold it, so trying to figure which was easier for me took a while). But once it was in, I went about my day and completely forgot about it. It was so comfortable, I very rarely felt it. Removing it the first few times was tricky, but once I got the hang of it, this became easy.
So I used the Lily Cup Compact a couple of times before I went to Mexico, and the the six months plus that I was away. And it didn’t take long before I loved it. After a couple of periods I realised that they were lighter and less painful. I have a theory, but am not sue (see the gory details if you want to know). It meant that throughout my travels I didn’t have to arrange anything around my periods. I could deal with long bus rides, no matter how terrible the facilities were, as I could just leave the cup in for the duration. Swimming wasn’t an issue with the cup. I even went scuba diving on my period.
The fact that the cup folds flat into a compact case is great for travel too. It means it doesn’t take up much room in your bags. Plus the case is discreet. It fits into my hand for when I have to walk to the toilets and no one will know what it is. It’s easy to carry around no matter where I am.
The Gory Details
Ok, this is going to be a little weird for me, but I am now going to hold nothing back. I am going to tell you my intimate experience with the Lily Cup Compact. So only read this part if you are prepared for the details.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for making it so periods are no longer a taboo subject. Periods have a negative connotation. They are thought of as being disgusting and so shouldn’t be discussed in public. I fully believe that this needs to change. But if you try to talk to me about your recent operation I will only last ten minutes before I need some air. So I completely understand that this much detail may not be for everyone. So, without further ado, here goes…The gory details start with before I even ordered my Lily Cup Compact. Trying to figure out what size I needed. To do this I had to find my cervix, which was, well, I’m going to use the word fun… The cervix is meant to feel like the tip of your nose. So there I was in the shower, one hand trying to figure out where my cervix is, the other on my nose for reference. Yeah, fun. In the end I actually had to get help from the customer service, I was nervous and unsure. Obviously, this is quite a sensitive and personal subject, but the person I spoke to was great. Reassuring, confident and in no way patronising. So together, we figured out what would be best for me.
Using The Cup
Now for the first use. Getting the cup in the first time. Urgh. It took a few times and at first it felt a little bit uncomfortable. As I was driving a few minutes after putting it in, I felt it ‘pop’ inside me. Basically it turns out that the cup was still folded, I hadn’t gotten it in properly. But it sorted itself out, much to my surprise. I guess it was more of a ping than a pop. This also meant that I spotted a little, but this has never happened again. Now that I know what it feels like to have the cup in correctly, it’s easy. I know when it unfolds and so know that it is in correctly.
Emptying the cup. The blood, the blood! I was actually surprised at how little blood collects in the cup, I thought it would be a lot more.. Seriously. It’s weird too, there seems to be different types of blood. I have noticed three. There is liquid red, liquid brown and some icky stringy stuff. My theory on why my periods are better with the lily cup is I think the stringy stuff is the lining, and pulling the cup out helps to remove the lining, meaning I don’t cramp to try and get this lining out. I may be wrong, but this is my theory. And it makes sense to me.
I also think that I have much less discomfort as pads have chemicals on them, the cup is medical grade silicone. When you think about it, how gross is it to have something absorb the blood then you sit in it (and all the chemicals) or have it inside you? The cup holds the blood, so it can’t irritate you.
It’s weird as well, on my heavier days I know when I need to change. I can’t explain it, i just know. I think you become more in tune with your body.
Another note on emptying. Yes, I have been covered in blood. It happens. You get used to it though. A bit of blood on your hands it worth it.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the cup. I love it because it makes my periods easier. My periods don’t affect me as much, I don’t have to plan around them. The cup is so comfy, I rarely know it’s in there. I hate it as, well using it means I’m on my period. Also sometimes the cup goes in and out like a dream, so easy.
Other times it is a nightmare. Sometimes I can’t get it to ‘pop’ for whatever reason and have to try quite a few times. Then sometimes I can’t get it out easily. I can’t quite get the grip, I really have to push it down as it seems to have gone all the way to the top of my womb (actually impossible, but it sometimes feels like that, I just can’t find it).
So, yeah, definitely love/hate.
My Score – 5/5
Regardless of my love/hate relationship with the Lily Cup Compact (see the gory details), I have to give this product the top score. It meant that during my travels, I didn’t have to plan around my periods. Beach stay during my period? No problem. A long bus journey? Bring it on. Literally, nothing to worry about.
It also meant that I didn’t have to worry about finding pads. When I went on my first gap year, I was on pads and I found that different brands irritated me. Plus sometimes pads were just so hard to find, or I’d forgotten that I needed them until the last minute. This also meant that I saved money, because pads aren’t cheap. And the price adds up.
The fact that it collapses to such a small size also means that it’s perfect for female travellers. It takes up a hell of a lot less room than a box of tampons or a pack of pads.
Now I’m home and I still use it. I am still saving money on not buying pads and am free of the tampon tax I’m not producing a crazy amount of waste every month. For me, it is one of the best items I own. Especially as my periods have become so much better since using the cup, I mean, every woman wants that, right?
Honestly, I can not fault the Lily Cup Compact. I love it (even if I sometimes hate it too).