Circus On Your Period: A Periodical Review
When I was growing up in the rural South, I would regularly listen to the tampon and pad commercials on TV. They always advertised the two (and basically only two) products in a manner that described a woman’s life as A: not having real blood but this weird blue liquid and B) the materials were always in the most upright position with no movement. This is to say that a “proper” woman wouldn’t move on their period, let alone extraneous activity with wild legs, active splits and inversions.Advertising agencies weren’t worried about active women, and folks in the rural south only had access to a local Piggly Wiggly to buy their menses products.
Fast forward 15 years and here I am in the “open minded” PNW with access to entire websites with 100 different products and a hobby that actively engages my pelvic floor. With the available audience and free platforms such as Youtube and Pinterest, people have been able to freely share relevant information for audience members who were previously left out. And now with some Judy Blume radicality, I’m ready to talk about the ins and outs of “flow arts”.
A large portion of aerial arts is understanding how to connect the lower body to the upper body, and you do this with your lower abdominals and upper pelvic region. The running joke is that aerialists have ripped arms and backs, but really, when you look at the moves from the front gate, all of them require for you to at some point, put your puss over your forhead. A straddle inversion does just that. And then into catchers. Beats are the beast in which you squeeze your whole body and thrust it into the air for momentum. The splits require you to go down, but it’s your lower body that really helps you get back up, and C shapes are named for the amount of force your cooder exudes while thrusting your body sideways with your legs and hips, in a horizontal tornado position. With all of this intensity, artists with menses need something that helps so that we can train on any day and in any way.
A True Diva
The first item I tried was the popular “diva cup”. I tried the size 1, as I haven’t had a child and am 5’2. This, is literally me guessing sizes because I don’t know much about vaginal sizes other than what “instrument” they use at pap exams. Anyways, I tried the diva cup after boiling it for sterilization and reading the instructions semi thoroughly. I kid you not when I say it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to insert it correctly. After watching 3 different youtube videos, squatting fully naked in my bathroom for so long I got a bit dizzy and needing to add water around the cup, I finally got it. I then did a few jumping jacks to ensure placement. I'll post the most helpful youtube video I used down below!
During the test for the products I conducted the same same work for reliability. This included a 1 hour and 30 minute open gym time where I did a regimented warm up, climbs, beats, drops, ab exercises and ended with hand stands. I also wore the same EXTREMELY LIGHT GREY skin tight workout pants and simple satin thong so that I knew first thing if there was any spillage.
For the movements of splits, scissor beats and regular climbs, I had zero issues. For most of the work out I couldn’t tell it was in there. I only felt moderate cramping during opposite side catchers, c-shapes and the ab work out during V-sits. I’m certain these activities have something to do with the location of the cup and possibly if I was experiencing cramps on my own. I thought it would be beneficial to do the same work out with the cup in the future, and see if it was the cup itself or if it’s because those are the exercises I do less frequently and am weaker in those areas.
Now, for the draw back of the diva cup; the removal. Here is your warning, READ ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS. DO NOT JUST PULL THE CUP STRAIGHT OUT WITHOUT REMOVING ANY OF THE SUCTION. I kid you not I thought I was going to pass out and I had to sit down on the bathroom floor to catch my breath. I also have an IUD and became panicked at the thought of the suction removing it. I’m actually not 100% it didn’t mess with it. I tried the cup out for one more workout on a later day in my cycle to assess for the cramping and noticed that they were milder, but still prevalent, so dealers choice on that. I was also REALLY nervous to try the cup again, post uterine tornado, but had no issues once I remembered to merely remove the suction a bit from the top of the cup. Just know that when I did remove it correctly, I had my entire hand up in my business to get it out and felt very involved with myself.
It’s worth noting that the diva cup is a version or brand of a menstrual cup. I’d never heard of a menstrual cup until I watched a video on youtube by Meg Squats and how she had issues with tampons while lifting back in 2015. I was a mere aerial baby then, but I knew she was on to something. Fast forward TWO YEARS and an updated google search and there’s a LOT of options for different cups! I didn’t realize there were so many options with height, ridges, length of pulls and softness.
For future months I’m interested in finding a different cup with softer “latex” and a longer handle. Something for brands to think about is working with marketing and advertising so folks know where you buy, with a comparison for sizes, shapes and features.. As for now, I found a list of UK ladies that rated their favorite Menstrual Cups. One thing I noticed is that a lot of the options aren't available in the U.S. I wonder why that is? Anyway, here is the link to the rated list.
For next steps, I want to assure everyone that I will go to the Doc and make sure the IUD isn't bent out of shape. While I'm there, I'm also interested in knowing the height of my cervix, as that plays a role in comfort for trying other cups.
Also, don’t forget to stop back when I review the menstrual disc and the Thinx panties!