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    Let's preface this piece by establishing one thing, all vaginas are beautiful regardless of shape, size, color, or texture. We decided to finally give menstrual cups a try and let's just say - you'll love it here. Menstrual cups have been on the rise for decades and they gained popularity when the Diva Cup was introduced to the world in 2003. Menstrual cups are silicone cups that hold blood and uterine lining as it's released from the uterus. Periods can be quite the experience. During that time of the month, some women feel more connected to their bodies while others are looking for the closest exit. In 2020, the Global Feminine Hygiene Market was valued at over $19 billion dollars and counting. Women should have infinite options to manage our menstrual cycles which happen to be the nucleus of a multibillion-dollar industry; menstrual cups have become a game changer for life. How it Works Cups typically have a bell or tulip shaped body with a short stem attached to the base and a rim at the top. The rim functions as a suctioning tool to help the cup remain in the vaginal canal, making it impossible to get lost inside or fall outside of your vagina. Pros 1. Menstrual cups are a great alternative for women who lead busy lifestyles. They can remain in the body for up to 8-12 hours while providing leak-proof protection. 2. The medical grade silicone material used to develop menstrual cups is gentle on the vageen and easy to remove even on your lightest flow days. 3. Cups don't contain any of the highly absorbent, bleached cotton that most tampons are comprised of - meaning they won't dry out your natural juices or cause abrasions upon removal and the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome is significantly reduced. 4. Bloody pads and the tampon string tuck, wrap, and hold routine while you hover over the toilet will become a thing of the past. It's easy to forget that you're actually on your period while using a menstrual cup. 5. The added benefit of menstrual cups is the instantaneous reduction of waste and spending due to their ability to last for up to 10 years. Cons 1. There's a learning curve to using menstrual cups and 1-2 days won't make you a cup aficionado. You may experience discomfort initially if you're abstaining from vaginal penetration, have strong pelvic floor muscles, or a narrow vaginal canal and/or low cervix. The average vagina is 3-6 inches long and 1-2.5 inches wide, research indicates that the length of the vaginal canal increases significantly when sexually aroused. We know vaginas have the ability to contract and expand but a cup with a suction rim can make things... interesting. It's important to find the right cup for your anatomy and to insert and remove your cup properly. In order to prevent discomfort, most brands recommend that you relax your pelvic muscles, position your fingers around the base and body of the cup, then pinch the cup to remove. The stem is there to gently maneuver the cup from side-to-side to getter a better grip of the base. All of this seems pretty simple if you're able to reach two fingers inside of your vagina and around the cup to retrieve it (your fresh set just might have to go). Recommendations In this situation, size definitely matters - specifically, cup size. We recommend purchasing a cup that has a narrow triangular base as opposed to one that's bell-shaped to make insertion and removal almost effortless. It's normal to feel frustrated or anxious when attempting to insert or remove a cup for the first time. Just remember that with patience and practice you'll move with ease. The Intimina Lily cup is our current favorite, it's comfortable to insert, wear, and remove. The cup comes in two sizes, Size A is recommended for women who have had a C-section, have not given birth, and women who have a medium flow. Size B is recommended for women who have a weaker pelvic floor, have given birth, or have a heavier flow. The Lily cup's soft, smooth, and flexible design provides up to 12 hours of leak-proof protection. As always, we recommend that you consult with a trusted medical professional before altering your menstrual routine. There are several underlying conditions that may be the cause of any vaginal discomfort you're experiencing. Let us know if you've ever used a menstrual cup and if it was love at first cycle. Photo via @since92hb


    Approximately 85% of the United States is exposed to water that contains excessive amounts of irritants such as chlorine, magnesium, and calcium. Hard water can wreak havoc on your hair, skin, and home if action steps aren't implemented to minimize and prevent damage. While there is testing that can be performed to determine if your home is reliant upon hard water, the signs tend to be undeniable and you might feel them first. Hard water is truly the impetus that influenced me to create Since '92 in response to all of the symptoms listed below. Here's how to identify hard water and how to combat it. Irritated Skin Tight, itchy, and inflamed skin despite applying numerous moisturizers and using gentle cleansing agents can be a sign of hard water. You might also experience persistent film buildup on your skin and clothes. Brittle Hair Hair might feel unusually dry and brittle, breaking easily with minimal tension. Calcium Buildup White calcium stains in the shape of water droplets might linger on your faucet or surrounding areas. Eczema and Psoriasis Visible signs of psoriasis and eczema might start to appear on your body, face, and/or scalp. What Worked for Us? Invest in yourself. Consider installing a home water filtration system or a shower filter to directly address the source of the irritants. Limit your time in the shower to 5-10 minutes using warm water, hot water tends to dry out skin and it eliminates natural oils that we need to maintain a healthy moisture barrier. Use a gentle exfoliant like the Rich Dirt Exfoliating Body Masque 1-2x per month to slough away dead skin cells, exfoliation allows moisturizers to deeply penetrate skin. Replenish your moisture barrier and remember that this may take time but you'll get there. We love using The OG Body Créme to replenish moisture, enriched with plant-powered ingredients and Omegas, OG leaves our skin feeling moisturized after one application. Hard water isn't a battle that you have to fight alone. Seek advice from a medical professional or dermatologist if hard water starts to impact your health and wellbeing. The side effects of hard water can be debilitating but they can also be reversed with time and an immediate response. Photo via @since92hb


    Cat got you numb? Close one eye and just go with us for a second, you're on your fourth Zoom marathon of the day and suddenly it hits you - your vagina fell asleep. We're here to reassure you that occasional numbness is completely normal after sitting for long periods of time. The clitoris alone has over 8,000 nerve endings which means there are more than enough opportunities for pleasure and... discomfort. When nerve endings are compressed, blood flow becomes constricted which can create a numbing sensation. Luckily, it's possible to prevent the reoccurrence of temporary vaginal numbness with a few easy steps. Big Girl Panties Literally, put your big girl panties on. Consider breathable undergarments that allow blood to flow without tight, elastic material getting in the way. Movement Breathe, stretch, shake. Create time during your day to engage in a physical activity that stimulates blood flow. We love a good stretch and a midday massage with The Glacier Mint Silk Shot to stimulate blood flow and moisturize skin. Switch Positions Trauma and friction can be the catalyst for vaginal numbness. Take it easy, listen to yourself and what your body needs. Consult Communicate your concerns to a medical professional, especially if vaginal numbness is reoccurring or lasts for extended periods of time. Photo via @uhliaa

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