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So I never thought I’d be writing about my monthly cycle on this blog, but it appears I am today in this Lily Cup Compact review.
Thee Lily Cup Compact is a compact menstrual cup that collapses and pops into a little case, which is ideal for travelers or anyone on the go.
The first time I’d ever heard of a menstrual cup was when I was telling my friend Kristin about my nightmare bus from Hanoi to Luang Prabang. What I didn’t mention in that blog post was that I was also on my period, which proved to be rather interesting when there were no real toilet stops!
She then proceeded to tell me that she used a menstrual cup and it made her feel a lot more comfortable when traveling. It all sounded a bit gross to me at the time but in 2016 I finally switched to using a menstrual cup with the Lily Cup Compact. I was tired of forking out money on tampons and a menstrual cup takes up far less space in my carry on luggage.
In this Lily Cup Compact review I’ll share all the features of the cup, how to use it, and what I thought about using it. But first, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a menstrual cup.
Benefits of Using a Menstrual Cup
Better for the Environment
Menstrual cups are generally better for the environment because they’re completely re-usable. Once you purchase a menstrual cup, you can use it again and again for many years to come. It’s much better than throwing away dozens of tampons every time you get your period. They usually have plastic applicators, plastic wrapping and the tampon itself also takes a while to decompose.
My period usually lasts the typical 7 days and I’d say I switch a super tampon out around twice per day. That’s 14 tampons every period, that end up going in the trash.
Cheaper in the Long Run
The Intimina Lily Cup costs around $30 when you purchase it online. While a menstrual cup costs more initially, you can use it for years. You no longer have to spend $6 or $7 on a pack of tampons every time you get your period.
Tampons are actually super drying for your vagina. Once you start using a menstrual cup, you realize that you don’t really get this feeling. You really can’t feel it at all.
Lily Cup Compact Review
The Lily Cup Compact is tiny and collapses to fit inside a little pink plastic case, so you can easily pop it in your handbag and carry it around with you. Perfect if you’re on the go.
Have you ever had an incident where you’ve been in a restaurant, reached into your bag to get your credit card, then found that a tampon has flown out of your bag with it?! I have. Slightly embarrassing. Say goodbye to that problem with the Lily Cup Compact. The box is discreet so no-one will realize what’s inside.
The Lily Cup Compact comes with a very thick instruction booklet, which worried me for a second, but it’s actually just thick because it’s been translated into so many languages.
The menstrual cup itself is made of medical grade silicone and is hypoallergenic which means there’ll be no irritation and it won’t affect the delicate balance of your lady parts.
How to Use the Lily Cup Compact
After a quick skim read of the instructions, I submerged the Lily Cup in boiling water before first use. The first time I tried it it was a little bit fiddly but I felt like I got it in OK.
You’re supposed to fold it in half, crouch down over the toilet and insert it like a tampon. You can use lubricant like KY Jelly but I didn’t really feel like this was necessary.
The instructions say to check that it has opened up and a seal has formed, which you can do in a number of ways:
- Rotate the cup left and right
- Wiggle the cup up and down, back and forth
- Run your finger around the cup
- Lightly pull down on the cup. If it doesn’t move, a seal has formed.
Once it was in I couldn’t feel a thing and I left the house feeling really comfortable.
However the first time I went to the bathroom, there was more blood in my pantyliner than there was inside the cup. I thought I’d definitely inserted it correctly but I do get a heavy flow and I was worried that perhaps the cup just wasn’t big enough.
I emptied the cup then tried again a second time, but still there was leakage. I wasn’t feeling confident that it would contain the flow, so I resorted to using full pads as a backup.
Then after a few emails back and forth to the folks at Intimina, and 30 minutes or so watching this very engaging YouTuber explain how the hell it all works, I decided to get to the bottom of my problem.
I eventually discovered that the punch fold is the best kind of fold for inserting it. Basically the ‘punch fold’ involves pressing down on one edge of the cup so it folds inwards and it seems to work better than just folding it. I also placed the cup slightly higher inside my vagina and made extra special efforts to check that my vaginal muscles weren’t making the cup collapse inwards.
As a side note – in case you’re worried about using it with an IUD, it’s completely fine. I have the copper IUD and haven’t had any problems with it disturbing the strings.
The more I used it the better it got. I changed it quite regularly, maybe 3 or 4 times per day, and I also wore it in at night too. Eventually I got to the point where the cup was actually filling up properly.
So what are the main pros and cons?
As you can see it’s so small in size that you can easily fit it into a purse. The case is discreet so most people wouldn’t even know what it is. I can carry it around and take it anywhere when I’m travelling, knowing I’ll never have to pack a bulky box of tampons into my suitcase. Tampons
No More Buying Tampons
The main incentive for buying a menstrual cup is that you no longer have to buy tampons and sanitary pads every month. With just a one-off purchase of $30, your menstrual cup will last for years if handled with care.
Say goodbye to tampon strings and cotton fibres that dry out your vagina. You can’t even feel the Lily Cup Compact when it’s in and because the blood is collected rather than absorbed, you don’t get any bad odours that come from old blood.
No Tampon Strings
One major benefit of using a menstrual cup is you never have the tampon string dangling down. Have you ever been wearing a bikini at the beach and had that embarrassing moment where you realize the string is showing in public? So awkward! But with the Lily Cup Compact you don’t have that issue.
Stays in for up to 10 hours
The Lily Cup Compact can be worn for up to 10 hours and usually needs changing 2-3 times per day.
Takes a While to Get Used To
It does take some time to figure out what technique you should use and what is the best positioning for your cervix and body.
A Bit Messy
Sorry to be graphic ladies but you do get blood all over your hands, unlike you would if you inserted a tampon with an applicator. With a tampon you’d simply dispose of it but with the Lily Cup Compact you have to actually rinse it out when you empty it.
It’s not too bad when I’m at home but when I’m out and about and there’s no sink inside the toilet cubicle, then it becomes a bit more tricky. Very awkward to head to the sinks with blood all over your hand and strangers watching.
I’ve learnt to a) carry a bottle of water for rinsing b) carry wet wipes. I’ve also noticed that the blood is a lot more fresh and therefore bright red, meaning it seems to stain the toilet bowl a little bit if it settles to the bottom. You really have to flush twice, especially when in public toilets.
Not Sure if It’s Inserted Correctly
I’m not always 100% confident that it will collect all of the blood, which does mean I worry about leakage onto my clothes. I always make sure I have a pantyliner in. Sometimes if it hasn’t created enough suction on the cervix or it’s a bit collapsed then blood does leak.
Stains and Needs Cleaning
Whenever you take it out you’re supposed to empty it and rinse it with water. Between periods you’re supposed to sterilize it by putting it in a pan of boiling water, so it does need some maintenance and care. Over time the period blood does stain the cup a nasty brown color. The only way to really get rid of it is to soak it in a cup of hydrogen peroxide overnight.
I’ve been using a menstrual cup for a few years now but I use the Intimina Lily Cup as opposed to the Intimina Lily Cup Compact. It’s larger and seems to fit better. The Lily Cup compact just doesn’t hold enough blood for me and I have a heavy flow. What I like about using a menstrual cup is that I have to change it less frequently and there’s no awkward string hanging down if you’re in a bikini at the beach.
Note: The Lily Cup was provided to me for the purposes of a review but all opinions are my own.