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There is a lot of talk lately about this eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons, but what exactly is the menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups are the healthy, ecological and economical choice to disposable tampons and pads. It is a soft, flexible, plastic-free cup made of silicone or rubber, designed to insert in the vagina during your period to collect the blood rather than absorb it like a tampon or sanitary napkin.
Comfortable and hygienic
Made from soft, hypoallergenic silicone or rubber that is kind to your skin as opposed to sanitary napkins that can get heaty and damp or tampons that dry you out. So no more rashes, dryness or dampness!
The menstrual cup is a one-time cost and pays for itself in 6-8 months. With proper care, it can be used for 10 years and you will not need to spend monthly on sanitary napkins or tampons.
You never run out – no last minute dash to the pharmacy and no need to stock on pads or tampons. So much easier to travel with and you don’t need to carry bulky spares anymore.
The cup holds 3 times more than a tampon or a pad and can be kept on for up to a day. So you don’t need to hunt for a toilet to change your pad or tampons on busy days.
Pads and tampons are mostly made of cotton but do contain plastic components and are also wrapped in plastic packaging. And regardless of the material, they are after all disposable and create a lot of waste that goes to the landfill. One single menstrual cup can replace up to 10 years’ worth of pads and tampons. They are chemical free and depending on where you live, can also be recycled.
Having said that, the menstrual cup takes some getting used to.
I have some friends who took to it instantly or got comfortable with it after a while and some that did not take to it at all. I took a couple of months myself to get used to it. When I finally overcame the fear of actually inserting it, I thought it would pop right out if I sneezed or it would leak all over the place while doing a headstand so for the first month I wore it with a sanitary napkin until I was completely sure that that is not going to happen. And instead of being relieved that I could not feel it at all, I was actually worried that it is lost and that I would never be able to remove it again. Surely all these fears went away with persistent use.
> Things you should know (no matter how awesome the cup is!):
– It can be a messy affair initially and you may get your hands, body, the toilet seat or the floor bloody. This will reduce with practice and remember, when one washes their hands regularly while using the cup and sterilizes it every month, it is indeed more hygienic unlike pads where the dampness and the blood is constantly touching and rubbing against your skin. And you no more get that period smell because it collects the blood inside the body.
One just needs to be comfortable with their body, having to touch the blood and also maybe overcome the fear when inserting and removing it.
– You may think you have lost the cup inside yourself. But don’t worry, it’s just moved higher up. In the beginning you may also feel that it is going to pop right out, but believe me, that does not happen!
– Make sure you get the right size, if it is too loose it will cause leaks. If the diameter is small you can switch to a bigger size or insert it higher up.
– One needs a water supply to empty it out, wash it and insert it back in. This can be tricky if you feel the need to do so when you are out and you live somewhere where the public toilets do not have a water supply inside. Having said that, the cup does have a much larger capacity than a tampon or a pad and can be worn for up to a day.
So yes, it is a new feeling and it can be a bit daunting in the beginning, but really, it’s for everyone. It may take a bit of getting used to, maybe a few days or even a few periods, but after a bit of practice you won’t be able to live without it!
So experiment with different folding techniques, try it on under the shower when you don’t have your period and who knows, you may indeed become a dedicated cup convert!
> Where to buy:
The menstrual cup is available in a lot of local pharmacies, and it’s a good idea to first take a look there.
And you can also search for it on Amazon!