While tampons and pads are the most mainstream feminine hygiene products, I am a huge fan of the menstrual cup. Rather than absorbing menstrual fluid, menstrual cups are inserted into the vagina to collect the blood until full (which usually happens after eight or nine hours).
Menstrual cups are easy to insert, wash and reinsert. They're comfortable, nontoxic, reusable, making them good for you and for mother earth! I recommend them to my clients, all of whom report back with positive feedback.
If you're thinking of making the switch, remember that knowledge is power — and I believe all women should feel aware and empowered when it comes to their menstrual cycles!
With that, here are five things all women should know about the menstrual cup:
1. Cups are environmentally friendly.
A menstrual cup is kind to your body and the environment. Cups are typically made of medical grade silicone. Unlike tampons, panty-liners and pads, cups don't contain bleach, artificial fragrances, or other toxins/chemicals that might cause discomfort or irritation in your vagina.
Not only are cups made of a comfortable material, but a reusable one. You can use your cup over and over and over again: no more monthly piles of tampon and pads in the trash bin. With a menstrual cup, you're taking care of your body and our precious planet!
2. You can tailor cups to suit your body's needs.
Your comfort is priority — especially during your period. While some women say that the "little thing to pull your cup out" causes them to itch (or that they can feel it when they sit/walk), it doesn't have to be that way!
You can adjust your cup to suit your comfort. Try cutting the "little thing" at the bottom of the cup as short as possible (or a little bit longer if you feel comfortable with that) so that you don’t feel it when you’re sitting/walking/dancing. Figure out what feels best for YOU and your vagina.
3. Yes, you will need to clean your cup (bring water with you everywhere).
Not all (public) toilets are equipped with a water basin in the room where the toilet is. And since you will want to rinse your cup out after use (once it's full, and before you put it back in), it's a good idea to carry a bottle of water with you at all times during your period.
I usually take either a bottle with cold water or a thermos I use for tea with plain hot water in it. When you take out your cup, just rinse it well with water. Then you’ll be ready to rock your period with your fresh cup!
4. You won't have to think as much about changing your tampon.
You can leave your cup in way longer than either tampons or pads. In other words, you don’t have to take it out every time you visit the bathroom. I usually can easily spend up to nine hours without having to worry that my cup is overflowing. That said, it's wise to take it out before you make a bowel movement, so be mindful!
5. Cups help you learn more about your unique cycle.
Because your cup can serve as a little measuring cup, you can see exactly how much blood leaves your body. And you will see it’s actually not as much as you maybe thought you’d lose.
If you want to get creative, try pouring your precious blood in a separate glass bowl (often referred to as menstrual harvesting). Then mix it with some tap water and then water your plants with it. You’ll be surprised what happens!
So do you use a menstrual cup? Share your thoughts in the comments below!