Ladies, I am here to tell you it is time to ditch the tampons and have a fuss-free period with a menstrual cup.
I switched to the Mooncup two months ago at the age of 26 after using tampons since I was 15, and those giant nappy-looking things from the age of ten. Yes, ten. Feel sorry for me. I had never thought twice about using tampons - it is what it is and a girl has got to deal.
But, after some research into how unfriendly tampons are not only to our lady-parts, but the environment too, I knew it was time for a change.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is usually made of medical grade silicone and is a small cup which is inserted to catch your flow, much like a tampon.
How does a menstrual cup work?
Basically you roll it, insert it, and run your finger along the outside of it to make sure it has unrolled itself - this also creates a “suction” so the cup doesn’t move or leak. This is an important step, if you don’t do this you could get leaking, and this is the biggest beginners mistake and can put people off. After watching this Youtube video I mastered the cup on my first try and I haven’t looked back.
Emptying the cup can be a bit weird. I’m not good with blood at all - it’s just different when it’s tampons isn’t it? But this is just blood. In a cup.
I’m not going to lie, the first time I emptied it there was around a tablespoon, and emptying it into the toilet honestly looked like a crime scene. My knees went weak and I nearly hurled. But I got over it. I can handle this once a day - easy! You empty, rinse under clean water and get it back in. I sterilise mine at the end of my period in a dedicated tub using sterilising tablets that are usually for baby bottles etc. Leave it to air dry then store in the little bag you get free for next month. Done.
Why is a menstrual cup better for my body than a tampon or pad?
Okay, so tampons are great. You use them then fling them - job done. But, did you know they contain BPA, dyes, toxins and bleach? BLEACH? IN YOUR LADY-PARTS! Tampax kept that quiet…
The fibres that make tampons so absorbent also absorb all of the juices (sorry) that protect us from bacteria and infections. They absorb everything! And the dryness, my days the dryness (you know what I mean), when your flow gets lighter but you only have a super to hand, pulling that out feels like sandpaper in your area. Gross.
Some of these fibres hang around, making it the ultimate breeding ground for bad bacteria which can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome - the ultimate reason why tampons suck as this can kill you! Tampons also cause cramps. I have always suffered with my periods, and since using the Mooncup I have had zero cramps. None. It’s amazing.
Why is a menstrual cup easier to use than a tampon or pad?
For those that use pads, I find them uncomfortable, they can move, and can even cause a rash - for those with a heavy flow I think they’re a bit risky.
For tampon users the best reason is no string! This was a big one for me, I drink a lot of water, especially at work which means I pee literally 10 times a day, and due to the gross string I have to change that often - even when the flow doesn’t require it. Not only that, tampons generally last for 8 hours, the menstrual cup can last 12 hours before you need to empty it! YAY.
Why is a menstrual cup better for the environment?
The average woman in her lifetime can use between 11,000 and 16,000 sanitary products, either tampons or pads. That’s for ONE woman. Think about your group of friends, how many tampons is that? Think of every woman you walk past in the street - that’s a lot of sanitary waste. Waste that ends up in landfills. As if we’re not destroying our planet enough, we are adding to it with something that occurs naturally.
While we can’t stop menstruating (unless you have the pill, or are pregnant etc. etc.) we can help. A menstrual cup, if cared for correctly, can last ten years. Ten years!!! That’s insane.
Why should I use a menstrual cup, and how much does it cost?
To put it bluntly, the menstrual cup has changed my period forever. I can put it in before work, and empty it after tea. There is nothing hanging out so you can use the bathroom throughout the day, and at one point, due to lack of cramping and the fact I don’t need to change all the time, I actually forgot I was on my period - the ultimate Nirvana! It’s easy to insert and remove, and is way cheaper than tampons in the long run.
Let’s break it down:
From the age of 15 when I started using tampons until now, I have had 144 periods. Ouch. That’s one a month for 12 years. For each day of my period on average I use six tampons, over a five day cycle. So, per cycle I use around 30 tampons give or take. I know tampons come in 16s, 20s and 40s, but for maths sake I am going to use an average. A 20 box is around £3 and a 40 box is around £4.50 so let’s average it and say 30 cost £3.75 a month. That’s not much, right? Well, £3.75 a month, for the 144 months from when I was 15 until now is £540. FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY POUNDS. Fuck.
Now, for funsies, let’s say I hit menopause at 50. From 15 to 50 is 35 years (420 cycles), at £3.75 a month is £1,575. JUST FOR MENSTRUATING - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!
Now, let’s talk Mooncup. I got mine from Amazon for £20 with postage. When cared for correctly, a cup can last 10 years. So I will need four in my lifetime, that’s £80. Quite a difference from £1,575 isn’t it?
Which cup is best for me?
The two main contenders are Diva Cup and Mooncup. I personally went for the Mooncup, but do your research and find what’s right for you. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can accommodate for those that have given birth too. So really, there’s no excuse!
And there you have it. I honestly think every woman should have one. You can thank me later.
Have you tried a menstrual cup yet? We would love to hear your thoughts!
-love Carla x