I like to write about periods a lot, mainly because they suck and everyone should stop pretending that it’s not totally horrific to bleed from your lady garden once every month for 40 years but also because it’s interesting.
Every time I’ve written about periods in the past there has been at least one commenter who has been all ‘MENSTRUAL CUPS! GET A GOD DAMN MENSTRUAL CUP!’. The thought of menstrual cups used to gross me out so I’ve been ignoring the cries of the Cup User Brigade for years. I felt like if I bought one I’d have to brush my teeth with bi-carb soda and buy a pair of Birkinstocks. I love to dabble in holistic lifestyle practices but I draw the line at clunky, unflattering footwear and makeshift toothpaste. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the particulars of cup usage and most of them seemed to have weird storage solutions like cloth bags that seemed unsanitary to me.
So anyway a Kickstarter for a collapsible menstrual cup caught my eye and I decided to give it a go and I’m 100% converted. I drank the menstrual cup Koolaid and it was awesome – that’s a rather visceral and disgusting metaphor isn’t it? Moving on… here’s 5 reasons why you need to start using a menstrual cup immediately.
1. It will reduce period pain
I can’t explain to you why this happens but it just does. I didn’t believe it before I tried it because I get period pain whether I use tampons or pads (slightly less with pads) but for some reason my period pain is reduced when using a menstrual cup. It’s weird and I don’t get it but I’m not going to question it. I’ve asked several doctors and lots of cup users for an explanation but there isn’t a proven cause. Let’s just not talk about this benefit in case it goes away okay?
2. It will save you money
I used to use a combo of pads and tampons and it would cost me about $10 per month. Depending on flow that’s about 30 tampons over 7 days (yes 7 days and if my body is really being a bitch it might even be 10 days) that’s 2 boxes of 16 Libras at about $4.50 to $5 each. That’s at least a saving of $120 per year. Not that feminine hygiene is really the place to be cutting corners in your budget but $120 is a pretty decent saving. A menstrual cup is about $40 and you can use it for years.
3. It will save the environment
I hate waste and there’s so much packaging involved with sanitary products. Since I got my Lily Cup I hardly ever have to empty my bathroom bin and I never, ever run out of tampons. It’s awesome.
4. It’s convenient
Carrying around a tiny little compact is so much more convenient than toting around a handful of tampons or a thick wad of sanitary pads. Plus it’s adorable. It will also stop you from having to buy sanitary pads in a small village in India where no one speaks English, when your period arrives two weeks early for no reason. That was a fun day. Not. You can also keep them in for up to ten hours. Even on my heaviest days, I just empty it once in the morning and once at night. It’s the actual best.
5. It’s risk free
There’s no risk of TSS, infections, dryness or irritation. Tampons absorb not only menstrual fluid but a decent amount of a woman’s natural and cleansing lubrication which isn’t good for keeping your lady parts healthy. Medical grade silicon is the bomb and it’s the only thing that’s ever going near my clacker when I’ve got my period from now on. I’m a total convert, can you tell?
A few notes
It took me about 3 full periods to totally get the hang of it and I used sanitary pads as insurance during this time. Menstrual cups take a little bit of getting used to – they sit a bit lower than tampons in your cervix and you have to get pretty well acquainted with your skirt taco until you know what it feels like when the seal is formed. It’s a bit like getting your period again for the first time. Also menstrual cups aren’t at all absorbent so you’ll be seeing your menstrual fluid in a state you might not have seen it in before and it can be a bit confronting. You do get used to it pretty quickly though and I for one will not be going back to tampons. I used to think that menstrual cups were a bit hippy and weird but now tampons seem strange to me.
Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Would you consider getting one?
P.S Do you want more info on how to be totally awesome at life? Follow Smaggle on Facebook. I post daily lifestyle tips and lots of no bullshit motivational stuff… and anything Amy Poehler says that’s awesome.
P.P.S Also here are some fantastic projects that some very excellent people have started in order to make feminine hygiene products, including menstrual cups, available to women who are homeless or live in developing countries. If you can spare a few dollars for one of the projects that would be amazing. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to not have the resources to properly take care of yourself whilst menstruating. No woman should have to struggle with that. Here are a few links if you want to help out – Femme International, Dahlia Project and Action Aid.