- Tattooed Mom Boss
Menstrual Cups? Yes or Yuck?
As you know from reading any of my blogs that I am passionate about our planet, and I am always looking for different ways that I can contribute to lessening my carbon footprint. I have obviously heard of using menstrual cups instead of tampons as a way of lessening my carbon footprint, but I was skeptical. Not of the fact that this is better for the planet, but for the idea of using this product. I gave it a shot, and I have to say that this is one of the best decisions that I have ever made!
Let's first discuss the statistics that surrounds tampons and sanitary napkins. I read this amazing article on HuffPost, by Dominique Mosbergen, that really opened by eyes to many of the environmental issues that come from using standard tampons and sanitary napkins. To quote a statistic from her article, "Worldwide, it's estimated that over 100 billion menstrual hygiene products are disposed of annually." Due to the materials used to create these products and that they have been in contact with human waste, they are not recyclable and can take hundreds of years to decompose. I do not want this entire blog to be about the environmental stats, so if you want to learn more then click this link to bring you to this wonderfully informational article.
I bought a menstrual cup. I spent approximately 20 minutes in the store, reading all the boxes and decided on the Diva Cup. I made sure to purchase the right size (there are three sizes available based off your age and whether or not you have had a baby,) and proudly checked out. When I got home, I read the instructions front and back, over and over so that I would be ready to use this new and scary contraption.
The day came. My period arrived. I sat on the toilet, holding this cup in my hands. It looked so much bigger than I remembered, but I used my previous training and used the "U fold" method, inserted the cup and released. Then you have to rotate the cup at least 360 degrees to be sure that it securely envelops the cervix and has fully unfolded. Voila! Done for 12 hours.
Here are the pros.
12 hours. This is amazing. I put my cup in before I head out for the day and empty it when I get home. No awkward public restroom moments. No running out of supplies or discovering your only tampon left is partially opened at the bottom of your purse (YUCK!) My schedule allows for me to do this in the comfort of my home.
Comfort. A menstrual cup does not feel like you placed a tightly wound of piece of paper towel inside your vagina. It doesn't really feel like anything. Usually, I cannot even tell that I have mine in. Sometimes the stem can move into an awkward spot, but this is easily adjustable.
Health. There are many studies done on the chemical make up of what is actually in tampons and sanitary napkins. With tampons you run the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome and this is just one risk of many. Depending on the brand, you run the risk of rayon, chlorine, BPA, dioxin, fragrance and non-organic cotton being in your tampons. We always make sure our water bottles are BPA free, yet we jam this fabric contraption inside our bodies and leave it there for hours...
Hygiene. With tampons you either had to hold the string so that you did not pee on it (or worse!) or change your tampon every time you pee. I don't know how you feel about changing a tampon that has not been used much. To me it felt like trying to turn my vagina inside out. No matter how careful you are, that string... It was not clean. There is no string with a menstrual cup. I also felt as though the nasty "period smell" was absent using a menstrual cup.
Cash money. A box of tampons is not cheap, especially when you have to buy all of the different sizes for the different flows you experience during your menstruation. Menstrual cups can last up to 10 years. I am actually going on two years with mine. The cups can range in price, but the savings is undeniable. Do the math!
Nothing is perfect.
One con would be the mess factor for putting the cup inside your vagina. Depending on how heavy the flow, your fingers can get bloody. I am not leery of blood, but for those that are faint of heart this may not be the best method.
Another con was that I have had one instance where I could not get the cup in properly. I got my period in the middle of the day, so I was in a public restroom trying to insert the cup. The toilet was really low to the ground, so I could not seem to insert it with the ease I normally have in the process. I ended up having the cup in at a weird angle and did leak. One time though ladies. After two years of using this cup, I leaked one time.
Finally, the ick factor. There is a bit of an ick factor to
using a menstrual cup. You basically stick your entire hand inside your vagina. We already discussed the blood part. When you rotate the cup, sometimes there are slurping noises. You have to clean out a cup that smells a bit funky, has a film of slime to it and was filled with 12 hours worth of blood. Whatever. Wash your hands. Grow up and remember that you put your hands in there all the time for fun!
In the end, I truly believe that switching to a menstrual cup has so many more benefits that negatives. For me, it has been life changing. I have lessened my carbon footprint, saved a bunch of money and simplified my feminine hygiene process. I am never scrounging around for a tampon, I have no string anxiety and I am not sending a constant stream of unnecessary garbage into our water systems. I say YES!
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