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Using EC for…your menstrual cycle?? How to “catch” your blood in the toilet instead of a pad or tampon

Jennifer Chu - Certified Coach

Andrea here! I just want to add before we begin that I, thinking I was the ONLY one who did this, have also been “catching” my monthly cycle in the toilet every night for about the past 2 years. I got tired of changing a reusable pad at night, hadn’t used tampons or regular pads for about 10 years, and just decided to go to the toilet every time I woke up at night and see what happened. With so many pregnancy and new-mom-inspired sleepless nights, let’s be real: I wake up A LOT every night, to this day! So, why not? Turns out that when I went to the toilet, my blood would all end up in it, so I pared down to just having a thin reusable pad at night, which is typically clean in the morning. It’s there as a “backup” for when I am not quick enough, or for when I have to run upstairs to a crying child and can’t go potty, myself, first. But it’s usually “clean and dry!”

So, when Jenn told me she wanted to write this article, I couldn’t believe I wasn’t the only one applying Elimination Communication (or infant potty training) principles to my moon cycle!

Without further ado, here is Jenn’s article on how she catches her menstrual blood in the toilet instead of elsewhere...and how that relates to EC.

SO I have been wanting to write this article for a while now, and it is going to possibly sound a little crazy, but it is worth discussing for many reasons. And while I can’t get into every reason here in this article, I want to share the key points and takeaways, as it may be beneficial and hopefully helpful to other mamas and women alike.

Before we get started I think it is worth mentioning a little bit of the back story. And please pardon me, as I will go into some details about my menstrual cycle and how this all came to be.

I guess you could say this started when I first got my period in high school. I have always had heavy periods. Well, that is partially true, when I got on birth control the periods did seem to get a little better, but they were still generally heavy. Heavy to the point that it wasn’t uncommon for at least one day during my cycle to bleed through my pants. At night, I would sleep with a towel under me to prevent any leaks.

It wasn’t until after I had my son, and my period returned and the menstrual bleeding got worse. It was typically on day 2 that a gush of blood would come out in so much quantity that my pads could not absorb it fast enough. Yes, even the super pads. Yes, even those commercial overnight pads, and yes even the natural overnight or super size kind. I tried many of them, and none could handle this. I think the tipping point came when I stained my bed with this unannounced gush one month. I could go into more details, but I will spare you. After that tipping point I decided that when my cycle came around again I would try to ‘catch’ the gush in the toilet, instead of having it be in my pants or rushing to the bathroom with me holding my crotch as the pad did its best to hold the blood in.

Much like we do with EC, I began to track my menstrual cycle, I paid closer attention to how I felt. With the help of apps, making general mental notes, and paying attention to how I felt in my yoni throughout the month, I was able to know when my period was coming. And eventually I even learned how to ‘catch’ these gushes.

The first thing most people wonder or ask is ‘how’ did I know when I was going to bleed? What were the ‘cues’? I would get this sensation in my yoni area that something was about to leak out. Or I got a feeling that it was about to happen, what is referred to as intuition in the EC world. So, when I would wake up with this feeling, instead of lying in bed, I would get up, rush to the toilet and “catch” the majority of my blood into the toilet. This saved my sheets, my pjs, my bed, and for the most part a huge mess. Plus, much like EC, it is rewarding!

After a few cycles of paying close attention to my bleeding, I realized one day that my yoni needed some air, it had been a heavier period, and being in pads for 24 hours a day, 5 days straight it needed a break. See in the past my bleeding would be almost non-existent at night, that I would be able to sleep commando. Yet, that hadn’t been the case since my son was born. So needing some air for the yoni, an opportunity presented itself to see if I could go all day catching my menstrual blood in the toilet instead of relying on pads, so I decided to go for it. I decided to go commando and free bleed…. and I have to say it was in fact FREEING!!

During this ‘observation time’ of my free bleeding, I realized I don’t bleed constantly all day like I thought. The blood isn’t coming out constantly, but rather it flows out in a semi-cyclic time. Yet it was during this ‘observation time’ that I became more in tune with when I am bleeding or about to bleed. It was here that I found that often bleeding happens with pee. Isn’t it so nice of nature to align that for us! It was also during this time that I specifically found that if I have to pee, I often need to bleed. Not always, but most of the time. So when I am on my period and when that first feeling arises that I need to go to the bathroom, I go, so that most of the blood ends in the toilet.

It wasn’t before long that I realized I was using the Philosophy of EC to catch my menstrual blood. The same principles we apply to EC can be applied to our own bodies and menstrual cycles: observation times, discovering and listening to cues, and aligning catches with these discoveries...

So how has this been beneficial? Well, for one, I really do use less pads, and my pads are way more dry. Hardly do I have a moment now where I am walking to the bathroom in a soaked pad or worried I have a blood stain on my ass. The other benefit is the relationship and respect for this time each month has changed. As a monthly bleeder in our patrilocal society, I used to be embarrassed and ashamed if I ever leaked, I hid pads and tampons when going to the bathroom, as if it was something to be shameful of. Now, instead of dreading this time, I feel empowered. We bleed, and it is natural, it is normal!

So why do I recommend this for any monthly bleeder? Because awareness and knowledge is empowering. There is nothing more empowering than working with nature instead of against it.

So now, even though my ECed son is about to be five years old, and has been fully potty trained for three years, I am still using the philosophies of EC. The connection I’ve found with myself is just as incredible as finding that connection and rhythm I had with my son when practicing EC.

Jenn, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article about how we can apply Elimination Communication principles of working with nature, observation time, and paying attention to our bodies to our menstrual cycles. I hope this episode helps LOTS of women simplify their lives!

NOTE: I might now try this during the day! Let’s try together, and talk about it in the comments, below. I use a Diva Cup as a backup currently...but what if I can do this without the backup?? Am I ready?? --Andrea

Now it’s your turn...please comment below with whether YOU catch your blood in the toilet, or whether this article has inspired you to try!

We look forward to your comments!

xx Andrea

Jennifer Renee

About Jennifer Renee

Inspired by esoteric thought and Asian healing arts throughout her life, Jennifer Renee Chu is the founder and director of Little Ones Welcome, a holistic practice where she integrates Western and Eastern perspectives on Women's Health (including fertility, gestational, intrapartum and postpartum wellness). Jenn has been working with infants and children since 1995. She is a California Licensed Acupuncturist specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and pediatric care. She is also a DONA trained Birth/Post-partum Doula and a Mindfulness Based Childbirth Educator at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Jenn holds a graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is currently a Midwife Apprentice studying at the National Midwifery Institute.

18 Comments

  1. Avatar Elle on September 7, 2021 at 6:20 am

    Also don’t forgot, without your bleeding each month, there would be no child, so as much as a ‘pain’ bleeding can het especially if you are heavy, it is very important. I think too, you are right it is stigmatized, so go forward with no shame, no guilt, just love. Thanks for sharing, all the best x

  2. Avatar Jenn Hydefrost on September 7, 2021 at 6:24 am

    About 20 years ago I went to a red tent event to celebrate our moon blood time. There a woman spoke of “knowing” when she was going to bleed & catching her blood. I found it surprising & intriguing back then. Over the past few years I realized that I have started to do this author even trying, just listening to intuition and going to the bathroom when I have a “feeling”. I never considered using observation time to increase my chances of catching, nor did I consider not using a backup. I love these ideas and I love that you are speaking out about something that is not talked about often AT ALL but is an experience many of us that have moon blood share. Thank you!

  3. Avatar Victoria Liljesofie Graesvaenge on September 7, 2021 at 6:57 am

    As soon as my cycle restarts after my last birth I WILL def. try this. I have been thinking about since I was pregnant a year ago, where I researched freebleeding after hearing about it from my doula-school, where I got certifiied as a doula short before the birth.
    Freebleeding has intrigued me ever since, and I am kind of hoping that my cycle will start soon, even though I am also enjoying the non-bleeding time right now ^_^

    Have been using diva-cup and reusable pads for years and feel I definitely could go EC myself like Jennifer does/did.
    Very inspiring.

  4. Avatar Liv on September 7, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Woah, what!?!! You mean I don’t have to be a slave to pads for an entire week?! I also noticed a similar phenomenon when I’m on my period but it never occurred to me to use it to my advantage. Thanks for this post!

  5. Avatar Brittany DeJong on September 7, 2021 at 9:22 am

    A very interesting concept….my periods also got insanely heavy after kids too. But my game changer came when I started using the nixit menstrual disc (which sits above the vagina, so no suction necessary, and I can actually empty it without taking it out throughout the day while going to the bathroom, which is incredible!). And then I use period underwear as a backup from thinx which are wayyy better feeling than disposable pads. I definitely relate on the gushes….I’ll have to pay a little more attention next cycle to see if I can anticipate a bit better.

  6. Avatar Carissa on September 7, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Very interesting to connect the dots that way with menstruation. I recently had a second procedure done to alleviate heavy bleeding associated with fibroids. I am also in the process of transitioning completely to reusable pads as back up for a menstrual cup. I feel like I’m mostly in tune with my body but not completely enough to attempt free bleeding just yet. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Avatar Chelsey P on September 7, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    I guess I have never really thought about it as EC for my menstrual cycle but I have always been considered a light bleeder by my siblings and mom because I don’t fill tampons or pads…I change them because of scent generally. However I often feel the urge to go to the bathroom more frequently during my monthly cycle, and I have almost always respected that urge. Many of the times I go there is little or no urine, but a big clump or gush of blood instead. The only exception to this is when I use a menstrual cup, then I tend to get more period in the device. This was a really nice option when I worked construction and didn’t have easy access to a bathroom with a sink. I still like having my bamboo pads or silicone menstrual cup for the drips though…it’s comfortable and I rarely have more than three changes in 24 hours.

  8. Avatar Klaudyna on September 7, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    Wow!! What a terrific concept! It blew my mind and I will definitely try to implement it. What an opportunity to get to know my body better and work with it to improve the comfort of living! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Avatar Deborah on September 7, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Interesting! I have never been successful with nighttime early during the bleeding and often woke up with blood that leaked out of the pad… I’d like to try to see how things go the next time around.

  10. Avatar Madeline on September 7, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    I felt the urge to bleed and did just this post-partum and during a miscarriage. I haven’t tried it during a period, I usually use a cup, but I should give it a try after my moon comes back in a few months.

  11. Avatar Emily Unruh on September 7, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    I have done this for years… Just used liners and whenever id use the bathroom I’d help the blood out using kegals. Also I feel it coming through my cervix I think. I often wake up in the night and feel it coming before it leaks out. I mentioned it one time to a pelvic floor therapist and she looked at me cross eyed so I figured I must be rather strange.

  12. Avatar Diana on September 8, 2021 at 10:02 am

    I’ve been doing this intuitively for as long as I can remember. I tend toward passing clots, so I pretty much only use tampons when I swim. I think that has given me a really good connection to my cycle. I mentioned to a midwife once that it’s hard to judge my flow because most of it goes in the toilet and she gave me side eye and commented that I must have a really light flow.

  13. Avatar Allison Hayek on September 8, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    So interesting! Thanks for sharing, Andrea & Jenn, and all the details. Lots to think about here.

  14. Avatar Si on September 8, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Fascinating! I’m definitely interested in trying this out.

  15. Avatar Brittany O’Bryant on September 8, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    This is absolutely fascinating!! I have struggled with menstrual bleeding issues as far back as I can remember. Since January of 2019 alone I have bled for 285 days plus was pregnant and delivered a baby. In that time I have had four periods lasting 20 days or more. I feel so tied to Merula XL cup it’s like an extension of my body. It seems like it would be so incredibly freeing to be able to do this. Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. Avatar Tamar on September 9, 2021 at 4:11 am

    I learned this from a woman who has been teaching this method for the past 20 years in Israel. I also know that this method was used by women in Ethiopia.
    I love the connection to EC and using EC tools to figure out when you need to go.

  17. Avatar Sophie on September 12, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Context: I’m an ObGyn…
    I had heard about it on YouTube while searching for alternatives to disposables for my period and thought there can be no such thing.
    And then… I had my second son and my sister told me about EC, which I sucessfully managed for 14 months (then we moved and the potty thing has been mostly catastrophic ever since). BUT… I had learned that our bodies do really talk! So I started to listen, having since the birth kind of a struggle with my cup.
    Guess what ;)
    As with EC, I do use a cloth backup because I might be too late or too busy. But most of the time I only change it when I’m fresh out of the shower once a day. And mostly no smell!

  18. Avatar Aleshia Dickson on September 16, 2021 at 4:33 am

    Wow thanks for this post. I think it was only since having my 1st son but I too started tuning into when I needed to release blood and emptying into the toilet instead of a pad. Its satisfying and more comfortable. I hadn’t even heard of Free Bleeding. Like Andrea I will wake up in the night and head to the toilet when I get that sensation, it nearly always wakes me up fully. Unless it’s been a bad night. I’m going to try and be more conscious of this next time I bleed! Thanks again x

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