Not going to even put a disclaimer here that you shouldn’t read this if you don’t have a period… because its 2018 and can people stop being afraid of periods yet?
What is a menstrual cup?
I love to tell everyone who will listen about my love for menstrual cups, the reusable alternative to tampons and pads. A menstrual cup is a soft silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina, and catches the blood rather than absorbing it. When it’s time to change it, you simply remove it, empty and rinse it, then reinsert it. At the end of your period you can sterilise it with boiling water and store it until next time. There are typically two sizes, one for women who have given birth or are over 30, and one for those who haven’t given birth and are under 30. There are many brands, but they’re basically all the same thing. You can buy them online, in pharmacies or health shops. It is a life-changing product that is great for travelling and just life in general, and here are some reasons why.
We literally can’t help having periods so I’m not blaming anyone for making waste because of sanitary products, but it’s hard to ignore the statistics. On average, women go through 250 to 300 pounds of menstrual products in a life time, which doesn’t even factor in the environmental impact of producing, packing and shipping them all.
They can take centuries to degrade, which means every tampon that’s ever been made still exists. It’s been found that the largest impact on global warming is LDPE, which is used in tampon applicators and sanitary towels.
When travelling to countries with big landfill problems, you can do your part by contributing a little less and not using disposable sanitary products.
Menstrual cups can potentially last for years and years if they are properly cared for. I’ve been using mine for a few years now and it’s still going strong.
It’s estimated that people spend almost $1,800 on tampons in their lifetime. The price of menstrual cups vary from brand to brand, but my Mooncup cost £19.99. Tampons can be expensive in countries where they aren’t as common, so do yourself and your bank balance a favour and opt for a menstrual cup. This could save you some money if you’re on a tight budget.
No more accidents
When inserted properly menstrual cups do not leak. They can hold up to 30ml of fluid, which the same as a super absorbent tampon. Wear those white summer dresses without a care!
More time between changes
Tampons have to be changed at least every eight hours, and sanitary towels even more frequently. You can go up to twelve hours with a menstrual cup. I’ve never had to change it more than twice a day, typically once in the morning and once in the evening.
You don’t have to lug a box of tampons around in your backpack, just take one small menstrual cup with you and you’re sorted. This is essential if you’re travelling light!
No more emergency pharmacy dashes
I’ve got a vivid memory of being in Sri Lanka and unexpectedly coming on my period. I walked around for what felt like an hour trying to find anywhere that sold tampons or pads, and in the end only found these nappy like sanitary towels that I begrudgingly purchased. A lot of countries don’t really sell tampons, and it can be a pain to find anything. Save yourself the hassle and get a menstrual cup and don’t waste your precious travelling time! And you don’t need to worry if you haven’t brought a spare tampon in your handbag, because you don’t need to carry anything.
Reduce chance of TSS and infections
Although Toxic Shock Syndrome is very rare, it’s still a possibility with tampons. I actually remember reading about two cases of it over the past few years. There have been no cases of TSS from menstrual cups. Another problem with tampons is that we don’t know what’s in them, and we could be exposing ourselves to dioxin, pesticides, bleach and chemical fragrances.
You can use it pre-period
Menstrual cups are made from silicone and not cotton so there’s no chance of dryness like with tampons. So if you think you are due on your period you can insert it just in case with no worries.
You can go swimming and exercising
And hiking and diving and white water rafting and skydiving and whatever crazy activity you want to do whilst travelling. You can’t feel it if it’s inserted properly and there’s none of the dampness or irritation you might get from pads or string that might pop out from tampons.
Get in tune with your body
At first it can seem gross, but it’s your own body so why shouldn’t you know about it? I don’t think it’s any more gross than the disposable alternatives, and you get over it pretty quickly.
At the end of the day, it’s a person’s own decision what they decide to do with their period. I’m not into shaming anyone for whatever their choice because it’s a very personal thing. I just think they’re an amazing alternative to disposable sanitary products.
They can be scary at first, but after practising for one of two cycles I promise you won’t go back; they’re just too convenient. You will feel like an eco-warrior doing your bit to save the planet and save yourself some money in the process!
Have you ever used a menstrual cup? Would you consider trying one?