After binge buying boxes of tampons to bring back with me to UAE every year and the constant stress of worrying about having enough menstrual supplies to last me every month. I decided to take a chance on the menstrual cup and I am never turning back!
Here is why i switched to a menstrual cup and so should you!
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup also known as the period cup is a feminine hygiene device that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Its purpose is to collect menstrual fluid and prevent leakage. Menstrual cups are usually made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem. A menstrual cup sits below your cervix and collects any blood for up to 12 hours. The main difference between a tampon and a menstrual cup is that the cup collects your blood and a tampon absorbs it.
Why I Chose the Menstrual Cup?
What triggered the switch was the burden of binge buying boxes of Kotex tampons to haul back with me to UAE every time I made an appearance in the states. I was constantly worrying about not having enough tampons to last me the year and nervous that I would have to resort to using pads, which I HATE. Ugh!!!! Lastly, buying multiple boxes of different absorbency tampons can be extremely expensive and I mean? Who isn’t trying to save a little coint?
After researching more cost effective ways to solve my monthly issues, I came across several articles that highlighted the benefits of using a menstrual cup. Benefits included:
Cost efficiency. I wouldn’t have to buy enough products to last me every month because menstrual cups are reusable lasting several years . They also hold more liquid and can stay in your body collecting fluids up to 12 hours a day.
Just as reliable if not more reliable than tampons to prevent leakages. With proper insertion, a menstrual cup should form a suction. Meaning, all liquid should pool directly into the cup without a leak. Tampons tend to leak when they’re over saturated or shift during activity
The less chemicals I use, the better. The cottons that are used for tampons and pad requires soo many chemicals like pesticides and fertilizer to be produced in mass quantities. Research has shown that large quantities end up in these cotton products and in turn end up in your body through your vagina. Organic products aren’t always the best solution either and pesticides can end up in those products as well because pesticides are washed out of soils, and pollute rivers and groundwater.
Lower eco footprint. There’s also research that tampons can contain up to 90% plastic and are constantly manufactured and discarded, with an estimated 100 billion disposed of annually worldwide. Of course, we know that these plastic applicators like the chemicals in cotton can also enter rivers, oceans and end up on beaches. A report by the European Commission found that period items are the fifth most common waste washed up on beaches. These plastic applicators will take hundreds of years to break down in biodegradation, IF they can be broken down at all.
Obviously, I needed a better solution to take care of my monthly flow that won’t break the bank or the environment.
To read more about why we should have plastic free periods click here.
What better time to get more acquainted than when I had a 14-hour plane ride to the states and Aunt Flow had made her grand arrival to town. I immediately knew I needed something that would last longer than 8 hours and wouldn’t need to be changed on the flight. Thankfully, my 14-hour trip was broken up into two flights. The day before my flight, I decided it was the perfect time to get familiar with my Lena. I found my Lena Cup and immediately sanitized it by boiling it for at least 5 minutes. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and I don’t have time to contract bacteria all up in my body. Once my cup was sanitized and my hands were clean, it was time to go to work! The best way for me to insert the cup is to stand with one leg up on the bathtub so I am most relaxed. I then fold the cup in a C-Fold and insert it into my vagina, listening for the suction sound indicating the cup is secure. Sometimes it takes me a couple of tries to get it in but once its in, It’s comfortable and I feel nothing at all.
If you’ve ever tried a tampon with no applicator you will have no trouble inserting a cup. If you haven’t tried tampons, all it takes is some patience to get accustomed to inserting the cup in a way that is comfortable for your body. Yes! I know it sounds gross and you do run the risk of getting fluids on your hands but its a quick process. Once the cup is in and comfortable, it can sit for a long period of time, without leakage! When it’s time to take it out, I just sit on the toilet and release the menstrual cups suction by pulling the stem and grabbing the base to dump the menstrual fluid into the toilet. Clean up can be easy, I disinfect the cup for the next use by running it in hot water and inserting it back into my vagina with clean hands.
I can proudly say that after several uses with the menstrual cup, I am not going back to tampons!
the Pros and the Cons
Now that I’ve talked about my experience and some of the benefits, let’s break down the pros and cons of using menstrual cups real quick. Please be advised that pros and cons may vary depending on your schedule, flow and uterus.
Cups can hold flow for up to 12 hours
You can swim, sleep and workout in menstrual cups with no leakage
They feel comfortable once inserted properly
Menstrual cups come in different sizes according to your uterus and flow
Cups can be reused for several years
Low eco footprint
Small and easy to carry
Cups can be messy to insert if your flow is heavy
You need clean hands to insert menstrual cups
Menstrual cups may take some time to get use to
Removing cups can be difficult and flow is best emptied into a toilet.
Are you considering the switch?
How to choose a period cup for your body
Menstrual cups are widely available in stores and online. They range in price from $15.00-$40.00. It is important that you choose the right period cup for your body and price range. Menstrual cups come in several different degrees of flexibility, sizes, colors, lengths, widths, and are made of different materials depending on the brand you select. Some factors you will need to consider when choosing your first period cup is the height of your cervix, the firmness of the cup, your average menstrual flow and if you have had a baby. It can be overwhelming choosing your first menstrual cup, so there are a couple of quizzes, videos and articles on the internet that can help you choose the best menstrual cup for your body.
Don’t get too overwhelmed, you can also go to the website of a brand you’re interested in and use their size guide to see what works best for your flow and body needs.
How to use the period cup
Instructions can differ from cup to cup, so it's always a good idea to read the insert that comes with your cup to know the best way to use it! Some things to remember when using the cup is to make sure your cup is sanitized and your hands are clean. You want to get into a position that feels comfortable to you. Most people recommended inserting the cup while in the shower for easy clean up. Find the position that suits your body best, whether sitting on the toilet, squatting or a leg up on the bathtub. Cups can be folded a number of ways to make inserting easy. My favorite fold is the C-fold, as its the easiest way for me to hold the cup. Some other folds include the pinch fold and the 7-fold. Once you have a good fold, you want to relax your muscle and insert the cup, you will usually feel or hear the cup seal in place. If you are not sure if the cup is in place just take it out and try again. Once the cup is in place, you can leave it in for up to 12 hours. Check occasionally during those 12 hours to make sure there’s no leakage. To remove the cup, you can pull the cup out by the stem to break the seal or pinch the cup. To get the best results and avoid spilling or dropping the cup on the floor, remove it over the toilet. Lastly, sanitize the cup for immediate use again or store it in a safe place for the next time aunt flow comes to town. If you need a video guide to using the cup click here