I knew there were other options for periods, but I was so used to pads and tampons that I never thought of changing my ways.
It’s the norm. Why would I change?
After years of brand loyalty and what feels like a down payment on feminine products, I was ready for something different. Something that didn’t break the bank. A product that was comfortable and didn’t require a trash can.
A friend of mine, Nicole, has been using a menstrual cup for about a year now (her commentary can be found throughout the post). She practically sold me as she explained to me her experiences and benefits of using the cup.
I was RAVING about it after my fist use. I LOVED IT. I was impressed by how simple it was. There were a few moments where I thought “Oh…I didn’t think of that.”.
Before I get into the pros and cons, allow me to clarify that the Cup goes by many names (Blossom Cup, Diva Cup, Ruby Cup, etc.). Mine was called the Blossom Cup. They are all the same product. Some look slightly different in size or length of applicator, but they all serve the same function.
Obviously a big attraction to the menstrual cup is that it’s waste free. This means there is no purchasing of disposable products. No need for a trash can.
You definitely become aware of the amount of waste you produce when you are no longer producing the waste. I think about how many bags of trash I was throwing away just from my periods alone. I was so inspired by the Cup that I took my zero waste journey even further and started to attack my kitchen (Updates later!).
“Along with not buying tampons and pads, I contribute to less waste being produced which is something that is important to me. Think about it, every tampon box, wrapper, inserter, and the actual tampon itself; SO MUCH ONE TIME WASTE!!”- Nicole B.
The true price of periods are high. This is including the amount you are spending on:
- pain relievers
- acne medication
- doctor appointments
- heating pads
- replacement clothing
- taxes on these products
You may even have to miss work because the pain is so intense.
Pain intensity varies for every woman, but the price of pads and tampons does not.
The Cup will help relieve the pain in your wallet. No reason to spend more money. I was sick and tired of going to the store, buying pads and tampons that were exhausting my wallet, and contributing to waste that will never be broken down.
“Menstrual cups allow for me to only have to worry about “changing” it about two times a day–when I wake up and get home and shower…”- Nicole B.
I love knowing that now I have no need to carry pads and tampons around. I don’t need to make sure I’m stocked up for the next month.
Because there is no purchasing, there is no more packaging. No more taking out the garbage.
My personal favorite? The thing that immediately sold me? There’s no smell.
…say what now?
I always hated needing to change my trash can for fear that someone would think my bathroom would smell “weird”. Pads are the worst! It seems that anyone can tell you’re on your period just from sitting next to you.
But have no fear with the menstrual cup! You can still be made of sugar and spice and everything nice with this bad boy (girl?).
Of course my first initial thought was “how do I get this inside me.” Thank God for directions! There are three different options for inserting the cup, but the best option I found was pinching the cup in half. If it feels weird, you’ll know. I didn’t think I was going to like it when I first put it in. But after some adjustments, it felt comfortable.
You know that feeling when it’s time to change your pad? YUCK. Or that nasty, pee soaked tampon string? DEPLORABLE.
I NEVER had that feeling with the cup. You don’t feel like you’re “over flowing”. Everything felt firm and in place. One of it’s greatest pros is that you can’t feel it. You might feel it slightly, but this could be that it’s not adjusted yet. Either way, you may feel something from time to time.
I loved knowing that I could go about my day without the sensation of wearing a diaper!
The cup is also very easy to carry. It comes in it’s own cute, pull string cloth bag causing it to be even more appealing. If you’re traveling anywhere, the cup is very easy to slip into any bag or even pocket and take with you.
Here’s what I didn’t expect….
Most women are used to disposing of their unwanted waste in a rolled up toilet paper ball perfectly hidden away in a trash can to never think of again (until it smells but hopefully you’ve already taken care of it).
This is not the case with the cup. You have to be comfortable with yourself. Expect to get a little dirty. That doesn’t mean you’re walking away with blood EVERYWHERE. It just means you don’t have the option to not get your fingers dirty.
I actually like this option. In the past women were told that they shouldn’t talk about their periods. Even the feminine products were kept in a part of the store that you would think had a sign that said “Enter At Your Own Risk”.
It was like the porn section at a video store.
But women shouldn’t be so distant from something that happens to their bodies every month. Yeah, it’s gross. But let’s be real here. It’s not the worse thing for women to endure.
The point is this- you should be comfortable with your body regardless if what is going on is gross or not. Sex is gross but it’s still something that can be enjoyed. Giving birth is gross but still flippin incredible.
Periods are gross- but it’s cool that our bodies communicate with us.
“The only cons I can come up with are some women are not comfortable handling their own blood in this form, which doesn’t really make sense because it is apart of us.”- Nicole B.
Imagine you go to the bathroom or squat behind a bush, and remove the cup only to realize you are no where near a sink. Even if you are, you’re not going to just wash your cup right there in front of a customer at Walmart. This will feel like a huge inconvenience if you’re in this situation.
You will have to clean the cup even when you’re in public or out in the wilderness. However, these scenarios are easy to avoid with the simple use of a water bottle (take the zero waste step and carry a reusable bottle with you!). You can bring with you enough water to rinse out the cup and your fingers.
“…if I were out on a camping trip or something it would be a little difficult to make sure that my menstrual cup gets cleaned properly and stays sanitary out in the wilderness…but it’s totally possible! I am kind of iffy about changing these out in a port-o-potty just because there is a SMALL chance that I could drop it and I am a germaphobe. “- Nicole B.
If you don’t have any water, you can wipe it out with a napkin or something similar as a temporary fix, however if you’re in the port-o-potty situation, your best bet is to avoid emptying your cup altogether. You can even avoid sitting on the toilet by doing the dirty part when you’re in the shower!
Another pro to using the cup is that it is long lasting (up to 12 hours). This may be an exception to women with heavier flows, but the cup does come in different sizes to help aid in amount of flow.
Speaking of flow, the question I’m sure a lot of women are asking is “will I leak”?
Almost all women leak on their period and stain at least one pair of underwear. I faced this same problem. The cup is not a miracle. I did leak SOME. I resulted to using panty liners. It wasn’t the zero waste fix I was looking for but it was certainly better than using a pad or tampon.
However! There are a few simple solutions if you are worryied about leaking:
1. Make sure the cup is firmly in place (no creases).
2. Have other options for zero waste feminine products
- Reusable pads- if you’re using the cup washing reusable pads would be like washing dirty underwear
- Period Panties- underwear that is meant for your period and only for your period. This can be a cheap pair at Walmart. You can also find underwear that has built in padding meant for your period.
Removing the cup
A quick note about removing the cup that every woman should consider- the cup folds going in, but does not coming out. You can’t collapse the cup to remove it. You simply have to pull.
It wasn’t painful, but it was uncomfortable for a moment. It doesn’t last long at all. It’s just when it’s about to come out.
The cup does not come with a string. Instead, you will have to pull using the grip at the end of the cup. The problem with this is you may have to push to lower it. Yes, I said push. It sounds scary but it really isn’t. It’s just part of the experience.
What’s the verdict?
Studies done over feminine products have shown that the menstrual cup is one of the safest options. Unlike tampons, cups don’t absorb- they simply collect. They also don’t contain any chemicals or fibers. In contrast with pads, there is no chaffing or rash. Some women have reported that the cup caused irritation, but it subsided after using it more often.
This small feminine tool will help reduce a lot of waste. I would 100% recommend the cup!
Here’s who I would NOT recommend the cup to:
- Young girls who have just started their period
- Anyone with a physical disability that would struggle with the pulling action
How to keep your cup safe:
- It’s important to keep the cup clean and your hands washed before and after using. This is not an option! Neglecting to clean it can cause irritation and infection. This is very avoidable if you just keep it clean and wash your hands.
2. DO NOT BOIL YOUR CUP IN HOT WATER.
3. Do not leave your cup inside you all day. It’s not a tampon but it’s still inside you. Don’t be stupid.
Let me know what your experiences were like and if you haven’t tried the cup yet, hope this review helps!