Say buh bye to flushing money down the toilet – Literally
So I’m known at times (ok, ok…often times) to be an over sharer and let me warn you that this is going to be no exception. It’s about to get real here…like really real. I’m giving you fair warning…this will be icky for some and it will be full of TMI (too much information for those wondering). I’m talking this may cause you to avoid eye contact because you will know too much about me. I am willing to go there though, I’m taking that risk and if you want to run now then I’m giving you your out. Go now and think about rainbows and puppy dogs. Ready…3, 2, 1….
Here goes….those of you that there aren’t too embarrassed/grossed out to hear about my menstrual cycle keep on reading. Ok, pause…here’s your second opportunity to head for the hills with hands over ears yelling “dear lord no she didn’t”….ready, 3,2,1…nope you’re still here. Ok so let’s talk.
I’m a woman. I get a period every month. I’m going to assume that at this point only women have stayed to read this so I’m going to go ahead and assume you get your period too. Did you know that most women will have 400 periods in their lifetime? That is a helluvalotta pads and tampons (approximately 11,000 per person in their life). We’re spending approximately $60.00 – $120.00 a year on feminine products….now add that up over your 400 periods…that’s a lot of money….and a lot of garbage!!! But what is a woman to do??? It’s not like we can just go without and walk around looking like a crime scene for a week.
So we know that we need to use feminine products and we’re very familiar with the standard choices…pad or tampons. Well, what about a menstrual cup? Have you heard of them? Chances are you have heard of them…they are gaining more and more popularity and are a big hit with the crunchy crowd but did you know they have been around for ages? If you haven’t heard of them, then let me take a moment to enlighten you.
A menstrual cup is an eco friendly, frugal, safe alternative to pads and tampons. It’s a cup that fits snugly and comfortably up inside your vagina and collects your menses as opposed to absorbing it. Ok, so let’s pause here for me to address your thoughts…and now you’re wondering how I think I know what you’re thinking but trust me I do. I know because I used to think that way.
About 15 years ago I was babysitting my younger step brother and my step mom was telling me about reusable cups that you use as an alternative to pads or tampons. She explained that it collects your blood and then you dump it, wash it and reuse it and I remember thinking she was out of her bloody (pardon the expression) mind if she thought I would be caught dead doing that. It seemed filthy, hippy and just plain weird to me. I mean…why on Earth would you do that when you could just be “normal” and do what everyone else does. Hmm the answer is in the question though isn’t it….why on Earth would you do it?
Earth. Mother Earth. Think about it…if each person is using 11,000 tampons or pads in their lifetime and that is just one person…how many of these products and wrappers are lying around in landfill? How much energy and fossil fuels are being used to make and distribute these little garbage wonders?
A couple of years ago when I started my journey to living more mindfully I started using the cup and I honestly wish I’d used it sooner.
Here are Nine Reasons That I Love My Cup
Whether you have a large bathroom or a tiny one these boxes or bags of feminine products take up space, especially if you have more than one female in the home! Under counter or cupboard space is limited in the bathroom (because let’s face it, it’s not like any of us are displaying these as art deco) and those little buggers are taking up valuable real estate that you could be using for other toiletries like toilet paper, soaps, shaving cream (perhaps home made – see recipe here), hair tools, towels, razors, bath toys or citrus vinegar cleaner (see recipe here). Less product = more space. Besides that feeling of de-cluttering under the cupboards (or anywhere for that matter) is fantastic.
This really ties in with the storage but it is so awesome in and of itself that it deserves to stand alone. How many times have you reached into your purse and found your tampon or pad all dusty and linty looking because the plastic wrap has come undone? Maybe there’s even a sucker or candy stuck to it because the wrapper came off of that too and they thought they’d tango. Gross. More waste because who’s going to use that? Not to mention that if you are going out for a day or a night you have to pack several reinforcements. Not with a cup my friends. You’re already wearing it and it’s the only one you need because you dump, wash and wear. More room in your purse and who doesn’t love that? Maybe now you could even buy one of those really tiny cute purses you’ve always wanted but haven’t purchased because it won’t fit the heavy artillery you have to pack once a month. Not to mention vacation packing…who wants to waste the already little amount of space you have in luggage to pack feminine products? Not I my friends!!!
Never having to ask for one
This is priceless. How many times have you had to awkwardly explain to another woman that you don’t have any back up or that you have a crusty, sticky, dirty purse tampon that you can’t use. Not to mention never having to carry one to the bathroom with you. Woo hoo!!!
If you don’t care about my other 3 reasons then I’m sure this is one we can all agree on. You’re not just bleeding every month….you’re bleeding money. A lot of it. But you can buy a menstrual cup for around $30 – $60 and use it for up to 10 years with care. Come on….you can’t beat that. This is an easy way to stop flushing your money down the toilet and really justify that cute purse.
These are much healthier for your body. Pads and tampons are full of irritants and allergens such as bleaches, chemicals and fragrance. Menstrual cups are made of rubber or medical grade silicone which is far superior to all of the junk that goes into pads and tampons. How about TSS? Have you read the side of your tampon box? Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) which in rare cases can be fatal is a disease caused by bacterial infection from the tampon sitting for too long. You don’t have that concern with the menstrual cup because the blood is sitting in the cup not in your vagina as a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, tell me you haven’t noticed how dry it gets down there after a few days of tampon use…those tampons start to feel like you’re shoving sandpaper up your vagina and you may as well be because tampons actually can scratch your vaginal wall and leave thread fragments behind, a menstrual cup is gentle while allowing you to stay balanced down there. No rashes, no irritation, no itchiness and no dryness. Ahhh doesn’t that sound pleasant? Bonus – using the cup reduces menstrual cramps.
Ok so blood stinks and we all know it…and a trash can full of used pads or tampons is a disgusting smell. Being able to dump and flush is so nice knowing that the bathroom will not have that smell. So go ahead and use the bathroom after me…you won’t even know it’s my “special” time. You know what I’m talking about…you have been in the bathroom after someone has done a quick change and you’ve known what went on in there. It’s an obvious and putrid smell. Never fear the public bathroom again because you won’t be that girl.
Clean your cup with hot water and a gentle soap if you like and reuse over and over again. Boil it for 5 minutes at the beginning/end of your cycle and it is sterile and ready for use. This is one of the ultimate ways to be kind to mother Earth because feminine products are a huge contributor to landfill accumulation. Think about how much trash you’ve already sent to landfill in the years you’ve had your period and now think about how much waste you are contributing with a cup….did you think about it? Zero, zip, zilch…no garbage. That is a huge impact in the right way.
There is no harm in wearing the cup when you do not have your period so if you are expecting your “friend” but you’re not sure what day or what time of the day you can insert the cup and not worry about the surprise visit. I will usually insert mine the morning of the day I am to get it and then I don’t worry about when it’s coming.
Never having to stand in line waiting to buy them again…I have always hated the point of sale at the register…so awkward…I mean I know we all get our period but it’s like a huge announcement “hello everyone I have my period – ok – now back off”.
My mom once told me that they had to wear some kind of maxi pad with belts or something like that. So weird. I bet they were all really happy when tampons came out, although I’m sure it was met with ick faces in the same way the cup is. Think of the menstrual cup as the next generation of feminine products. People weren’t sure about sticking a wad of cotton up their vagina with a string on it that they would pull it out by…but they got over it didn’t they? You can get over this. Think about it. You know those ads about being able to swim or do yoga with said feminine product in and “no one knows” or “you’re not even thinking about it” with the cup this is absolutely true! I put it in and then I don’t think about it for like 8 – 12 hours. I don’t have to worry about changing it at work, on a plane, in a mall or at a friends house. I can do it when it’s convenient and comfortable for me and trust me you can do anything with it in and no one will know…go ahead, go swimming, go ride a bike, take a hike, do yoga, do whatever you want with comfort and ease like you’ve never experienced on your period.
Options on What to Buy
There are many different options to purchase. I use the Lunette but the Diva Cup is very popular and likely available in your local health food store although the Lunette comes in some great colour options which is a great option because the clear ones will become discoloured over time. They come in 2 different sizes so a teenager can easily wear one.
The Lunette Cup - Buy from Amazon
The Diva Cup – Buy from Amazon
That’s it folks. It’s as simple as that. One cup. A simple way to save money and space and a great way to make a huge impact on our planet in a good way.
If you feel that a cup is just way too out there for you, then I encourage you to use some options that are better for your body and the planet. Try some reuseable pads also known as “mama cloth” or some more natural tampons:
Reusable Pads – Buy from Amazon or check out “mama cloth” on etsy for some really great finds.
Organic Natural Tampons – Buy from Amazon
If you are thinking about the cup but are sitting on the fence…check out this story that may make you want to rethink those tampons you hold so near and dear to your heart.
When I tell people I use the cup, I often hear the same questions from everyone so I will address those here but if you have any other questions drop me a line and I’m happy to help.
Does it hurt?
No. In fact when you have it in correctly you should not even notice it at all.
How will I know it’s in correctly?
You just will. It will feel funny if it’s not and like I said you shouldn’t even notice it at all.
Is it difficult to figure out how to put it in?
No, it’s pretty basic but remember that like anything new there is always a learning curve. You will have it down pat in a couple of tries and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get one.
How does it fit up there?
You squish it into a c shape and insert. Once in the correct position it pops open and fits snugly.
Isn’t it gross emptying it?
No it’s not really. It’s your own bodily fluids and removing it is no more gross than pulling on a pee drenched string of a tampon or staring into a blood soaked pad sitting in your panties. I change my cup far less frequently than I ever did my tampons and so I don’t have to deal with it as much.
So, what do you think? Will you consider using one?