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Here’s something all menstruating people need to know:
There’s a cheap, eco-friendly, healthier alternative to pads and tampons. I didn’t know about this exciting fact until I was in my 30’s. All those wasted years! Hopefully, you can avoid the same mistake.
Imagine the possibilities if every single menstruating person in the world had a menstrual cup? It’d most definitely be a better place for a whole lot of reasons that I’m going to talk about.
In case you’ve never heard of menstrual cups, I’ll tell you what they are. They’re cylinders that are made of medical grade silicone. You insert it into your vaginal canal in order to collect menstrual fluid; menstrual cups basically replace tampons. The best part about them is that they’re reusable—when they’re full, you take it out, empty it, and then reinsert it.
Here are just a few of the reasons why menstrual cups are amazing.
Cheaper than Tampons
Tampons are expensive, and this is especially true if you have a heavy and/or long period. The average person will spend almost $2000 (£1478) on them over a lifetime.
A menstrual cup costs around $30 (£20) and lasts for up to 10 years, with proper care and cleaning. Most people will need 4-5 cups during a lifetime, at a cost of $120-150. That’s 17x cheaper than tampons!
You may be tempted by the cheap cups on Amazon which cost $5-10. These ones are made in China from very flimsy materials and don’t work that well. You’ll probably end up buying a better cup later. Stick with the reputable brands; some of my favourites are the *Lunette, *Diva Cup, Lena Cup, and *MoonCup.
Pads and tampons are a small part of the plastic waste problem. Even OB tampons that don’t have an applicator come wrapped in plastic. Due to the nature of these products, they cannot be recycled.
The good news is that there’s a better, reusable option. Menstrual cups last for years and depending on where you live, can sometimes be recycled.
Also consider making the switch from disposable pads to reusable, cloth ones. They go a long way towards reducing waste and have many of the same benefits as menstrual cups.
You may not be aware of this, but there are pesticides and chemicals in your tampons and pads. There are only small quantities of them, but this exposure can compound over time. A big part of the problem is that tampons and pads are classified as “medical devices” by the FDA. The result is that manufacturers aren’t required to disclose what’s in them. Hopefully, this legislation will change, but in the meantime, it’s wise to consider making the switch to a menstrual cup.
The best cups are made from top-quality, medical grade silicone and don’t leach chemicals into the bloodstream. However, be sure to buy a cup from a reputable company because the cheap ones degrade very quickly, sometimes after only a few uses.
There are thousands of reported cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) each year, and many of them are related to tampon use. To date, there has been only one reported case of TSS caused by a menstrual cup.
If you have a heavy period, you may find yourself changing tampons every couple of hours. Jumbo tampons hold around 10 ml of fluid, while the average menstrual cup holds 30. There are even some high-capacity cups that hold up to 40 ml.
3-4x more capacity = 3-4x less period hassle.
There is even a possibility that you might sleep through the night! Pair a menstrual cup with a pad (reusable cloth ones are best) and you might escape stained sheets and PJs. For real.
Are there any Negatives to Using Menstrual Cups?
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself…
Are menstrual cups too good to be true?
They really are amazing. However, they do have a couple small downsides and it’s that it takes a while to get the hang of them, and you have to keep them clean. It can be a bit tricky to insert them correctly and make sure they fully open to prevent leaking. It can also be a process to find one that fits your body type and size correctly.
Don’t give up though! It takes most people 4-5 cycles so put on a pad, and keep trying. You will eventually figure it out.
Tampons and pads are easy to deal with when you’re done—just throw them in the trash. However, you have to keep your menstrual cup clean. It’s not a big deal, but it does require a bit more time and effort.
Are you ready for a cheaper, environmentally friendly, and healthier period? Then get yourself a menstrual cup today.
This is a guest post by Jackie Bolen
Jackie Bolen is a tree hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found paddling the rivers, on top of a mountain, or drinking delicious beer around Vancouver, Canada. Her hope is that a menstrual cup will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. This has the potential to make it a better place.
You can find her at:
I’d love to know if you use a menstrual cup and how you get on with it.