Today I feel like sharing something personal. I want to tell you why I love my menstrual cup. It’s not usually something I talk about because not everyone is ready for this topic but I think it’s necessary. Afterall, remember that You’re Welcome, Society is the blog that will answer all the questions you didn’t know you had. This post will answer this specific question: How, as a woman, can I make an impact on society, the environment, my wallet, and my health? That’s easy: by using a menstrual cup 🙂
According to Wikipedia (let’s be real here!), a menstrual cup is a “type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood), and can be worn during the day and overnight. Full menstrual cups are removed from the vagina, emptied into the toilet or sink, washed and re-inserted (washing hands with soap before doing so is crucial). At the end of the monthly period, the cup can be sterilized, usually by boiling in water. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.”
Let’s first highlight benefits, and then I’ll talk about my own personal experience. Although it would be nice, my goal here is not to convince you. I want to raise awareness and hopefully create an interest for further research. Therefore, there are no scientific facts or statistics behind this post. Just good old me sharing my excitement!
- Safety. Menstrual cups are claimed to be safer than most tampons and pads. As Wikipedia mentioned earlier, menstrual cups are usually made of silicone and they collect fluid. Tampons and pads, on the other hand, are often made of non-organic cotton (read full of pesticides!). Knowing that my business is one of the most sensitive parts of my body, I want to avoid chemicals leaching into it.
- Environment. Menstrual cups don’t create as much waste as tampons and pads! I don’t think anyone needs to back up this fact. Also, by chosing a menstrual cup, the need to produce non-organic cotton for tampons and pads is reduced. This means less toxic chemicals used in the world. Pesticides are so bad for the soil and those chemicals usually end up in the water we drink and in our bodies. Please read about these issues!
- Money. There is an upfront cost to purchase a menstrual cup but after a few months you end up saving money. Depending on when you choose to replace your cup, this amount could be substantial. Who doesn’t want to save cash and do something good for the planet at the same time?
- Space. Anyone traveling often? Or living in a tiny apartment? A menstrual cup fits in your hand. No need for big bulky boxes of tampons. If you’re planning to travel abroad for an extended period of time, no need to stress about finding hygienic products there.
- Comfort and stress. Know the feeling when you first stand up in the morning and you’re wearing a pad? There’s no such thing with the cup! Ever went too long before replacing your tampon and made a mess? Again, no need to worry about that with the cup! Cups are designed to create a vacuum seal with your cervix and could hold your entire period’s fluid!
- Prevention. It is perfectly fine to start wearing your cup before your period starts, thus avoiding a bad surprise. One could argue they can do the same with pads. The difference is you don’t end up throwing away money down the trash if you do it with the cup though 😉 Moreover, for those of you suffering from bad PMS cramps, the cup can mitigate the pain!
Cool, eh? There are probably more benefits than the ones I briefly covered but those were the big ones that influenced my decision. I have to admit, knowing about those benefits wasn’t enough to get me started though. What gave me the extra push was my friend Véro’s testimony. Here’s mine:
I bought a Diva Cup over two years ago and when I opened the package I was a little skeptical. I read the instructions and remembered that my friend told me it would take a few months to get used to it. I folded the cup the way it was recommended, and started practicing a couple of insertion techniques. It was weird at first. And I was also scared it would get stuck. No need to worry. Contracting and pretending you’re giving birth will help you. Now, I haven’t actually birthed anyone but I managed to get enough of the cup out to carefully pull it using the protuding bottom, fold it, and remove it. More about that tubular end: I ended up cutting off part of it as it was bothering me. Some leave it as is, some remove it completely. It’s up to you… or up to your cervix’s shape I should say. After you insert the cup, you have to twist it a 1/4 turn to ensure a seal. This can be tricky. I experienced a bit of leakage in the beginning. You might want to keep using your leftover pads at this point. You can also get reusable cloth pads from your menstrual cup company or Luna’s I believe. You might feel like it’s not working as well as you though. Keep trying, read other people’s comments. It comes down to two things: practice and your cervix. If after 3 months or so, things are terrible, don’t give up on menstrual cups just yet. There are many different kinds, shaped differently for your comfort. Give it another try with a different brand! The most widely known and available seems to be the Diva Cup, but don’t think for one second it’s your only option!
I hope this was helpful for at least one person. As I mentioned earlier, my goal is to raise awareness to an alternative to commercial tampons and pads in order to influence society, save the environment, money, and focus on health. Let me know if you’re considering switching to a menstrual cup, if you have done so already or if you have questions and/or concerns. We have a choice, ladies! Let’s empower ourselves! You’re welcome, society!