6 reasons why I switched over to the menstrual cup
I was terrified to try my first menstrual cup. I stared at the silicone thing in my hand and wondered how on earth I was going to get it up into my vagina — and then I wondered how on earth it was going to stay there. But I closely followed the directions and saw it through. Sure, there were times when I messed up and things got messy, but all in all the menstrual cup turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made when it comes to my periods. The cup suits my heavy flow better, it’s much easier on my wallet, and it’s generally easier to use.
Interestingly, menstrual cup popularity has been on the rise lately. The brand Diva Cup (which is the one I use, and highly recommend) is seeing a lot of success. Their sales are growing 20 times faster than any pads or tampons in the United States and Canada. And they don’t expect the numbers will stop rising anytime soon.
It’s not for everyone, but there certainly are a lot of success stories out there. I’m one of them. Here are six reasons I switched over the menstrual cup, and why I’m never going back to tampons.
1. It works better for a heavy flow
Having to run to the bathroom every hour or so to change my tampon and check to make sure there is no leakage was never a fun thing for me. Then I heard of how much more liquid a menstrual cup can hold compared to a tampon: The former can house 28 grams while the latter only 8, at most.
Cups, due to their suction quality, leak a lot less as well, so you don’t have to worry so much about it after it’s inserted. I witnessed these differences within the first week of using my new cup. I was changing it out less and, most importantly, I was staining a lot less white bed sheets and sweatpants.
2. It doesn’t fall out as easily as tampons do
Whether you’re peeing, pooping, or fooling around with your partner, a menstrual cup is going to stay in its rightful place. I often had trouble with tampons falling out simply from a tough workout or a long yoga class. Again, back to the amazing suction quality that tampons just don’t have: It ensures that the cup will stay in place, no matter what kind of physical activity you find yourself in.
3. It’s way cheaper than buying tampons over and over again
One menstrual cup only costs between $20-$40, and it can last for up to ten years. Let’s compare that to tampons, which, as you know, you have to keep buying over and over again. It’s estimated that in one year of a woman’s life, she will spend around $1,773 on tampons. And 70 percent of menstruating women choose to use tampons — that’s a lot of women losing a lot of money on feminine hygiene products!
I’m no math expert, but I think it’s pretty clear to see that there’s not even a competition here. My wallet was ready to shack up with menstrual cups long before my brain was.
4. It’s better for the environment
In Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation, Elissa Stein and Susan Kim tell readers that a woman throws away about 250 to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene products in her lifetime, including tampons, pads, and panty liners. One expert says you can reduce this waste by more than half if you simply swap tampons out for something else.
Over the next few decades of your life, you’ll only go through a few menstrual cups at most. Besides, the ones you do use don’t contain any nasty chemicals that will ruin the earth, like dioxin or rayon. As a person who tries her best to be conscious about the environment and what kind of carbon footprint I’m leaving behind, I couldn’t justify it to myself to continue adding junk to the landfill.
5. It doesn’t dry out your vagina
At the end of the day, tampons are made out of cotton, which can present a problem if you’re dealing with a dry vagina. And, yes, you can definitely deal with dryness down there even though you’re bleeding. When you just start your period, the levels of estrogen in your body drop, which often results in lack of lubrication.
Anyone who has ever had a period has probably faced the dry tampon issue. Maybe you’re not bleeding heavily enough, or you just didn’t leave it in for that long. Well, pulling that thing out is far from pleasant — and it’s not good for you either. Yanking out a dry tampon could cause tears in the vaginal wall, which makes it easier for bacteria to build up.
You don’t have to worry about this at all if you choose to commit to the menstrual cup. Because it’s made of silicone, you’ll face less irritation, and it won’t ever feel like it’s stuck in your vaginal wall.
6. It helps you overcome any discomfort you may have with your own vagina
If you’ve ever tried to use a menstrual cup, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You have to get, um, up close and personal with yourself in order to make it work. Furthermore, there’s a chance that you’ll mess up the removal process at some point and get some blood on the toilet seat or your hands.
I know it sounds gross, but there’s actually nothing gross about it. That’s just how our bodies work! That’s how menstruation goes! I told myself that the sooner I can accept that, the sooner I will stop thinking that having a period is a disgusting thing.
Facing those tiny fears made a big difference in the way I saw my own body. We see and hear way too many things in the media that make us think periods are disgusting, and the first way we can start to change that is by changing our own minds about our vaginas. Believe it or not, getting down and dirty with a menstrual cup is a small step in that direction.