Whether you are watching your budget, looking for sustainable options, or frustrated with the tampon shortage – here are a few reasons why you should try a menstrual cup right now!
Alright friends, we’re getting personal today. Instead of saying TMI a million times throughout the post, let’s just get it out of the way now. This post is about periods and menstrual cups – there’s no way to NOT share too much information, right?! However I obviously think it’s worth it to put it all out there because I would never have even considered trying a cup if other women hadn’t talked about it… and it’s made my menstrual cycle so much easier to manage. That’s a big win for us ladies, right?!
If you’re making a face right now, I understand. Just a few years ago, I thought menstrual cups were super weird and I had zero interest in it. And then I listened to a podcast with the founder of The Flex Company, which had just started making disposable menstrual discs. I thought it was intriguing and I loved that they can hold the capacity of 5 super tampons and are completely body-safe. Did you know that some tampons and period products can contain toxic ingredients like aluminum, alcohols, fragrances, and bleach?! ICK!
After trying the discs back in over 3 years ago now (wow!), I moved on to their menstrual cup which was a great option for a beginner like me. When the handy little pull tab broke, I switched over to the Lena Cup and I haven’t looked back since.
I honestly can’t believe I ever fought it… it’s more convenient, more sustainable, and better for your body. But I’m resurfacing this post now because there is also a major tampon shortage. Not only is this WAY more affordable than pads and tampons, but you don’t need to run around searching for tampons every single month! Who has time for that?!
Why You Should Try A Menstrual Cup Right Now
What Is A Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is is a feminine hygiene product that collects menstrual fluid. Instead of a tampon that absorbs the fluid for a few hours and then needs to be thrown away, this is a flexible cup that provides protection for up to 12 hours and can be reused. In fact, some brands can last for years, which will save you tons of money and trips to the pharmacy for sanitary products.
How To Use A Menstrual Cup
How to choose a menstrual cup
First of all, make sure the brand you are purchasing from uses body-safe materials. Most menstrual cups are conscious of this, but it’s always good to double check. The one I have uses USA-made medical-grade silicone and dyes to ensure complete biocompatibility and safety. It’s also hypoallergenic and free of BPA, latex, and Dioxins.
Next, find one that is comfortable for you! I was personally worried about flexibility and removal, which are the main reasons why I initially tried the Flex Cup. The pull tab made me feel better about any learning curve associated with removal. I quickly got used to that and I now prefer the lack of tab + overall fit of the Lena Cup.
Find the right size for you
Most brands offer 2 or 3 sizes to choose from – usually some version of small and large. Typically the instructions will say if you’re under 30 years old and haven’t given birth, you can get the smaller size. If you’re over 30 and/or have given birth, get the bigger one. Some people also say that you can also choose a size based on your menstrual flow, as well. The only real advice I can give is to remember that finding the right one for you might require a little trial and error!
How to insert a menstrual cup
This is WAY less intimidating than you think it is – I promise! Wash your hands and then tightly fold the period cup in half with the top facing up. With one hand, insert the cup just like you would a tampon. Once it pops open (this will happen quickly once it is inserted), it will create an airtight seal that stops anything from leaking. If you put it in correctly, you won’t feel it at all. Woo!
How to remove a menstrual cup
For most cups, you just gently pinch the base of the cup to break the seal. Then slowly pull down to remove. If you have one with a pull-tab, just pull that down to break the seal, then pinch the base to remove.
How to clean a menstrual cup
I forget where I read it now, but I got Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap from Thrive Market to quickly clean it throughout a week of use and it’s been great. That being said, at the end of your cycle, nearly every single brand recommends that you boil it. Yes, you read that right! After washing it off, place it in boiling water for a few minutes to sanitize before storing.
Pros and Cons of Using A Menstrual Cup
There are so many pros for me, it’s hard to know where to start! First of all, it’s safer than tampons which I had never even considered until I listened to that podcast. If we care about what is in our food, makeup and skincare products, shouldn’t we also care about our period care?!
Second, it’s more convenient. Instead of worrying about changing your tampon every few hours, most cups can hold 1 ounce of liquid and you can leave it in for up to 12 hours depending on your flow. No more worries about middle of the night leaks or toxic shock syndrome (which can be a life threatening condition!). Here’s to wearing white pants during your period without a second thought. BIG WIN!
In addition to that, it’s also more convenient because it lasts for years.
Instead of going to Walgreens or CVS every month to spend your hard earned money on tampons, you can purchase a cup and be done with it for a while. Not only is that one less errand off your plate, but your budget will thank you, too!
On that same note, period poverty is a real thing around the world. For most of us, it’s annoying to spend money on a box of tampons each month – but for others, it’s not even an option. Normalizing menstrual cups and discussing this topic can help bring awareness to this issue. In addition, most of the companies I’ve linked to in this post work with organizations like The Cup, working to provide underprivileged girls with menstrual cups, as well as education on women’s health, sexuality, and reproductive rights.
And lastly, it’s better for the environment. On average, we will go through roughly 11,000 disposable pads and/or tampons in a lifetime. When you multiply that by all of the individuals who menstruate in the world, that is SO much waste. A simple solution? Use a menstrual cup for years and create NO waste!
Just because I’ve had an easy time transitioning from tampons to a menstrual cup doesn’t mean that there aren’t any cons. Of course, removal can be awkward and sometimes messy. I recommend testing it out in the comfort of your own home instead of in a public bathroom when you first get started. Because you can keep it in for up to 12 hours, it’s pretty easy to avoid this process at work or out with friends – but it does take a little getting used to. Usually these cups leak or are uncomfortable only if they are inserted incorrectly or are the wrong size.
It can also be hard to find the right size and material for you. Most cups only come in 2 sizes, but one brand might be more comfortable than another for you. Don’t give up if the first one you try isn’t the perfect one!
My Final Thoughts on Why You Should Try A Menstrual Cup Right Now
Clearly, I’m a fan of period cups. That’s pretty obvious! But even if you think this is a super weird concept, I’d really encourage you to try it out right now. With a very real tampon shortage in some areas, the worst possible scenario is to get stuck during your time of the month without any menstrual products to help you! Before you find yourself in that situation, take the initiative to find the best cup for you, practice inserting and removing it, and get used to the whole process.
I mean, no extra cost to budget for, no need to rush to the bathroom to change your tampon every few hours when you’re at work or out with friends, and no stress about leaks. Do you get why I’m obsessed now?