It’s no secret that pads and tampons are harmful to the environment. If women generally use around 3 to 5 tampons per day, a woman will use about 30 or so tampons per month. That’s 360 tampons a year – one for every single day. So, what can we do about it? You can’t recycle tampons and they take forever to degrade. No one is really sure how long it takes to decompose, but with the population of the world being around 60% female, it doesn’t really matter. Tampons and pads are going to be in landfills forever.
According to Jezebel, tampons and/or pads will cost a woman around $60 per year and that’s only if she buys 9 boxes. Well, what if you only had to spend $8 a year? If you haven’t heard yet, the future is here!
An incredibly smart human being (maybe Leona Chalmers) invented the menstrual cup. The menstrual cup is a reusable cup usually made out of silicone, which is safe to have in your body, unlike cotton, plastic, and real sponges (there actually exists a tampon made out of real dead sponges from the ocean). They collect your bodily fluids instead of absorbing through material that’s harmful to your vagina. There are many kinds of menstrual cups, but the most popular are the Diva Cup, the Softcup, and the Mooncup.
1) Diva Cup
The Diva Cup is about $30-$40 and you can find it online or in some health food stores. You might also be able to find it at Whole Foods. Unlike tampons and pads, the Diva Cup is reusable for up to 5 years and the only waste it produces is the cup itself after 5 years. That’s about $8 a year.
How to use it:
The Diva Cup suctions to the walls of your vagina and sits underneath the cervix. It collects the fluids and all you have to do is pull it out and wash it with unscented soap between changes. You only have to change it every 12 hours, or once before going to bed and once after waking up! Between cycles, you need to sterilize it with boiling water, but that’s about it! The website has a bunch of techniques and tips you can use to help you. Try to cut the stem at the bottom about 2 millimeters or so before using and twist the cup to get good suction. It takes awhile to get used to, so don’t worry if it gets all over your hands or it leaks the first few times.
It comes with a cute cloth bag to store in your purse whenever you do get your period, so you don’t have to worry! It comes in two sizes. A smaller one for women under 30 who haven’t given birth and a different, larger one for women over thirty and anyone who has given birth.
The Softcup is about $6 to $8 per box and although they recently came out with reusable ones, I’ve only used the disposable ones. However, the reusable ones are good for 1 period cycle!That makes the Softcup about $12 a year.
The Softcups are very different from the Diva Cup. Softcup is made out of a polymeric material which is basically a hard plastic ring and a soft plastic cup. The Softcup hooks around your cervix, which, if done improperly, can really hurt when you pull it out. It’s a little bit harder to get used to this one. However, the Softcup does come with the added benefit of being able to have sex with no mess! I’m serious. This has been tested and no, neither party could feel the cup. You still change it every 12 hours just like the Diva Cup.
The Mooncup is very similar to the Diva Cup. It looks the same, despite coming with a longer stem, which I think you have to cut, and it’s a bit smaller. You need to change the Mooncup about every 8 hours. The Mooncup is about $23-$35 which is slightly less than the Diva Cup. It’s manufactured in the United Kingdom, so it’s probably a bit easier to find in the UK and Europe. I haven’t yet seen it in US stores.
Upon my research for this post, there’s a cup out there that’s not as common called the MeLuna. This is if you want to get really crazy with it because the MeLuna Cup can be customized to be whatever you want your dream menstrual cup to be. You can choose the size, firmness, color, and even what kind of stem you want! They have three kinds! They also come in cloth bags and have accessories to go with it such as a brush, zipper pouch, a glass stand that costs $25, and a disinfection cup for your menstrual cup complete with a cap and everything. This is, of course, if you didn’t want to save money, and actually wanted to spend more. Also, you can literally get a cup with glitter.
The MeLuna cup is made out of thermoplastic elastomer or TPE, which is not as highly regulated as medical grade silicone, like the Diva Cup and the Mooncup. However MeLuna claims that it isn’t as likely to cause an allergy and it molds more to the shape of your vaginal canal for more comfort. It is manufactured in Germany. The cup lasts for about 3 years and it is about $18.
I switched to menstrual cups about a year ago now and I will never ever go back to tampons or pads. The money I saved, the waste I didn’t put back into the environment, and the time and energy I saved with menstrual cups is well worth the switch. Here are some pros and cons, in case you still aren’t sure about it:
- It’s a bit expensive at first.
- It’s messy, but gets less so with practice.
- Restrooms with stalls are not your friend – but you only need to deal with them twice a day.
- You need to practice before you get the hang of it, but you had to do that with tampons so…
- If you have an IUD, please ask your doctor if this is right for you. Menstrual cups and tampons may tamper with your IUD, which could dislodge it or damage your uterus/cervix.
- You save money in the long run.
- You’re saving tons of waste from hurting the environment.
- You no longer need a trash can in your bathroom…or maybe you do. For hair, I guess.
- You only have to deal with your period twice a day.
- You spend less time in the bathroom during your period.
- It reduces cramps (no, it really does).
- It doesn’t smell.
- It’s better for your body.
- You don’t have to worry about TSS anymore.
- It makes you feel like you don’t even have your period.
- It’s easier to hide in your purse. In fact, you don’t need to hide it. No one knows what it is and it’s no shock that you have your period since you’re a woman and all.
- Traveling is SO MUCH EASIER (Seriously, try not having to deal with that shit on a plane – it’s heaven).
- Camping is easier because you don’t have to carry a bag filled with used tampons.
- No more leakage! No more ruining underwear!
- More storage space in your bathroom!
I really hope this post has taught you a bit more about other options when it comes to feminine products and it helps ease some of the fear that comes with new products. This really is one of the best changes I’ve ever made in my life and I hope it can help you out too.
Have you heard of menstrual cups? Have you tried them? Why or why not? If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments, a private message, or go to the menstrual cup’s website.
How to Clean All Stains From Your Menstrual Cup by BigSerious on HubPages
How to Insert and Remove a Menstrual Cup by Dirty Diaper Laundry on YouTube