As every woman knows, periods are not fun. Unlike those smiling women frolicking around on tampon and pad commercials, most female people wish they could spend their period curled up on the couch with a cup of hot tea, dark chocolate, and a comfy blanket. Depending on the severity of your period, you may experience cramps, acne, back pain, headaches, and just general fatigue. As if that wasn’t bad enough already, you also have to deal with the added frustration of having to remember to buy hygiene products, change them, and keep them with you so that you’re not caught unaware. Recently, a feminine revolution has taken place known as the menstrual cup. Read on to find out more about this groundbreaking product and why you should buy one today.
What is a menstrual cup?
Unlike pads and tampons, a menstrual cup is a flexible, reusable silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina, similar to the insertion of a tampon. It suctions on to the edges of your vagina wall and creates a seal that prevents any blood from leaking out.
Why use a menstrual cup?
It can save you money
Though it may not seem like it, the cost of disposable products adds up over time. In fact, most women spend an average of $65-$80 per year on pads and tampons. That is over $2,600 over roughly 40 childbearing years, on the low end of the scale! Compared to this, one menstrual cup costs around $30 and can be used for over two years if cared for properly.
It is better for the environment
Those used pads eventually end up in a landfill, like the rest of your trash. If you are looking to decrease your waste contribution and do your part to reduce pollution, you should take a moment to evaluate your feminine hygiene products. You are likely to use 16,000 pads or tampons in your lifetime…shouldn’t you prevent that if you can?
It is healthier
Tampons, when left in for too long or inserted improperly can cause serious issues such as Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is caused by bacteria that change the flora of the vagina and infect your genitalia. Plus, there is none of that nasty feeling or leakage that sometimes comes with pads.
Your menstrual cup questions answered
But isn’t it nasty?
Unfortunately, there is this prevailing stigma attached to periods that they are somehow nasty or unclean. In fact, your period is totally normal and healthy and should be celebrated as another triumph of the female body. Yes, it requires a little more hygiene and upkeep. And yes, a menstrual cup will force you to get comfortable with your period. But isn’t that a good thing?
Will it leak?
Contrary to what it may seem like, you don’t really bleed that much on your period. In fact, the menstrual cup can hold a full, average cycle worth of period blood. Of course, if you have heavy periods, you will need to empty it more often, just as you would need to change a pad or tampon more often. The normal time to wear a menstrual cup is around eight hours and it is totally safe to wear to bed as well.
Tips on using a menstrual cup
Be patient with yourself
Starting to use a menstrual cup is a serious learning curve. There are various folds and techniques that you can use to make the insertion easier, but ultimately, it comes down to what is most comfortable for you and your body. Relax, take your time and don’t freak out if you have a little trouble removing it. It’s not going anywhere.
Wear a backup pad
As mentioned above, it takes a few tries to master your technique. Try it on a day when you are able to stay home for any needed adjustments and wear a backup pad for extra security at first.
Always wash your hands and the cup
Thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after inserting a menstrual cup. This will help prevent any infection or contamination. Rinse with warm water before inserting after each use and boil for 20 minutes after every period.
Make sure to break the seal
When you are removing your cup, pull down slightly on the steam and run your fingers along the edge of the cup to break the seal. Trying to pull it out while it is still suctioned could be seriously uncomfortable.
As always, embrace your body, do what feels right to you, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
-The Alternative Daily