Updated: Jun 26, 2019
If you keep up with my Instagram or blog, it's pretty obvious that I love using a menstrual cup. This was one of the first switches I made toward a more sustainable life back in August and it has been one of my favorite switches ever since. I was nervous when I first tried it out because I honestly thought I would hate it.
The only reason why I tried a menstrual cup in the first place is because I could not handle the waste I was creating every month from my period any longer. I did the math to figure out what environmental impact my own cycle has on the planet. My cycle lasts for 4 days every month, I wear a tampon 3 times a day, and the average woman menstruates for 38 years. So even having a shorter period than usual and strictly using tampons, I would use 5,472 tampons in my lifetime. Conventional tampons (which is what I use to buy) take a longer time to decompose than my own lifetime- and I would have used 5,472 of them. Not to mention that nonorganic tampons have harsh chemicals that are bad for your body.
There are many sustainable options for your cycle, but I decided I wanted to try the cup. I didn't know if a menstrual cup was a better way to have a period, but I thought I might as well try it out.
Turns out, I love menstrual cups WAY more than any disposable period product out there. It is my favorite option on the market and happens to be the best for my body and incredibly sustainable for the planet.
Here's why I love menstrual cups more than tampons:
1. The cup lasts for 10 YEARS instead of 6 HOURS
I know, I can't believe it either. So now instead of using 3 tampons in one day of my cycle, I use one cup. Instead of using 12 tampons for my whole cycle, I use 1 cup. Instead of using 144 tampons a year, I use one cup. And instead of using 1,440 tampons in 10 years, I use one. cup.
2. You can keep it in for 12 hours instead of 6
I can sleep with my cup in without having any worries because it lasts for 12 hours! I use to be so afraid to sleep with a tampon in since you're only supposed to have it in for 6 hours, so now that worry is not a problem. I change the cup in the morning and at night.
3. The cup can reduce cramping
For some people (including myself) using a cup has helped reduce my cramping. People can't figure out why they reduce cramps for some and not for others, but it is true that the cup can reduce cramps.
4. The cup saves you money
The cups I have seen cost anywhere from $20.00-$40.00 dollars USD. It is an investment on the front end, but the savings overtime are huge.
I use to buy Kotex tampons from target. There are 50 tampons in each box. Over a lifetime, if I used every single tampon in the box (which every woman knows we give them to each other, lose them while traveling, etc), I would have spent $1,027.64 on tampons. If my cup is $40.00 and I use 4 in my lifetime, I will spend $160.00
5. A cup holds 3x more than a tampon
For my friends with heavy periods, the cup can hold 3x more blood than tampons! Also, "holding" the blood in a silicone cup vs. "absorbing" blood into cotton with no barrier between the cotton and vagina is much better for you. For those who have worried about Toxic Shock Syndrome or have had Toxic Shock Syndrome, using a cup lowers your risk because of the "barrier (medical-grade silicone) between the walls of the vagina and the blood itself" (credit: dotforall.com).
6. The cup is better for the health of the planet
The cup is a great option for those who are financially conscious, to those who want a safer option for their body, etc. But for me, the reason why the cup is the best option is because I only have to use 4 cups in my lifetime.
The pollution we are creating every day on this earth is truly overwhelming, so finding ways to reduce my waste gives me hope that I can have a positive impact for the environment.
Menstrual Cup Q&A:
1. What cup do you use?
I use the Dot Cup which is now available on my site. I love it because it's a one-for-one program, meaning Dot gives a cup to a woman in need with every purchase made. Betsy, the CEO of Dot, has an incredible heart and a beautiful mission to empower women by making menstrual products available to women who can't afford them. I love supporting businesses whose main mission is to give back.
2. How do you insert your cup?
I've realized over the months that different people use different methods, but these are the videos and graphics I recommend to people when asking how to insert the cup.
Explained by graphic: https://dotforall.com/dot101
3. How do you take care of your cup?
This is a really important question! I take it out in the morning and at night. When I take out my cup, I pour the blood in the toilet, then take it to my sink to rinse it. I use a sensitive soap on the cup. This process takes about 3 minutes.
At the end of each cycle, I put my cup in boiling water with 1 tbsp of my homemade laundry detergent for about 15 minutes. This sterilizes the cup for the next cycle.
She cleans her cup a different way than I do, but you get the gist! This is a good option for people who don't want their cup being sterilized in the kitchen.
4. Can you feel the cup?
If inserted correctly, you should not feel the cup at all. I joke with my friends and say that the worst thing about the cup is that I can't feel it (because I left it in for 24 hours one time because I forgot I was on my period).
5. Does it leak?
Again, if inserted correctly, it shouldn't leak. I have leaked twice in the last 10 months whereas I use to leak with a tampon in allllll the time.
6. Is is hard to get used to?
Learning how to take the cup in and out takes a couple of days to get used to. It's different than a tampon or pad, but once you get the hang of it, it's just a regular period routine like tampons have been for me for years.
Also, the cup is different for everyone. I was in a group of four close friends and we all tried the cup at the same time. 2 of us got the hang of it with no problem, and 2 of us had issues learning how to use it. So it can be harder for some people to learn how to use it, but my advice is to watch some videos on the internet of how to insert the cup and you should be good to go.
7. What about if I've tried the cup and it doesn't work for me?
I get this question all the time, and I'm happy to say there are so many sustainable, nontoxic options available now. So if the cup doesn't work for you, don't worry!
Here are some different options to have a sustainable period:
This is something a follower showed me and it seems like a great option for people who want to stick to cotton tampons. The applicator is the worst part of the tampon, so cutting this out can save a lot of waste. The follower that showed this product to me has been using it for a couple of months and she says she loves it!
I have been sooo skeptical about trying period underwear, but I tried it on my last cycle so I could tell people if it's worth it or not. And it turns out- it is! I really like using them and it's a fantastic alternative to disposable products. Some benefits of period underwear are:
1. It's super absorbent, so you don't feel damp when wearing them (like pads)
2. There is an antimicrobial layer in the underwear that fights odor and bacteria
3. The underwear is leak resistant ( Idid not leak ONCE and I used them on my 2 heaviest days)
4. It feels like you're wearing normal underwear, but you're on your period???
Yes, the period underwear is confusing and sounds gross. BUT I used it and was so terrified and ended up really liking them. I simply rinse my underwear with the faucet in my shower and then wash them with cold water on the delicate mode in my washing machine. Hang dry them overnight and you're good to go!
If you leak with your menstrual cup, I've heard many people pair the cup with period underwear and it works perfectly.
SO here's to having a period that's safer for our bodies and better for the planet!
Thanks for reading,
Impact for Good