Even as little as a year ago I had no idea what a menstrual cup was. Since trying it out for myself, I have officially decided I will never go back to the dark days of the past. And now I’m here to enlighten you, so get ready.
I bought one of these tiny silicone cups to replace my tampons and pads about a month ago in Boots (yes, your humble local Boots). It’s simple – you fold up the little cup, shove it right in there and, boom, it’s done. It honestly feels like nothing is there, and I find myself just forgetting about it altogether (except not really because I’m so freakin’ excited about it). When you need to change it, you just dump the contents in the toilet and reinsert. When your whole period is done, you boil it to sanitise.
Sure, there’s definitely a slight, usage-based learning curve. Yes, you do have to remove it and clean the contents yourself, and when you’re out of practice this can be difficult. And yup, you’re going to have to get involved ‘non-applicator tampon’ style. But for me, these small concessions pale in comparison to the benefits.
For the busy gal, the most persuasive and obvious benefit of a menstrual cup is convenience. You can leave this thing in for eight whole hours and then some (or even like, a full nights sleep). It’s ideal for travel, for people who are forgetful about changing out tampons (you know who you are), and for generally being lazy, like myself. Eight hours of carefree bliss, not worrying about finding a public toilet, falling asleep and then waking up to a mess, or having to subtly transfer a tampon from your bag to your pocket, like a nervous and out of practice slight-of-hand magician.
For the environmentally friendly gal, using a menstrual cup is a bajillion times more sustainable than tampons and pads (a real statistic, not made up). Envision all the paper and plastic waste you create every single month between packaging, applicators, and the actual bits themselves. Now imagine that multiplied by every woman alive who has access to these products. Yeah. A menstrual cup can help you forgo all of that needless waste and is good for ten YEARS. The planet smiles every time someone buys one of these things.
For the gal who is tight on cash (all of us), again, this handy little thing lasts for TEN WHOLE YEARS, and you won’t have to buy any other period-related mojo in between. I reckon I spend about £5 per period, at least (and when I treat myself and buy those bougie plastic ‘pearl’ tampons, even more). With some quick mental maths, that’s at least £60 a year, and up to £2400 over the course of your period-having lifetime. Money that you’re paying just because you happen to be a woman (an entirely separate issue that I also feel some feelings about, but won’t go into right now). So save Future You some money – buy one cup for £20 and spend the rest of that new found cash on important things like alcohol, matching pyjama sets, and adult colouring books.
So, here’s what I say to the many women who still think using menstrual cups is ‘gross’ and ‘they can’t imagine putting something like that up there’:
Gross? Is this soft silicone cup really more gross than walking around all day with a lukewarm pad in your pants? Am I the only one that hates that sickening, panicky feeling when you sneeze or laugh and feel the tidal wave of blood leaving you? How many perfectly nice pants and trousers have we sacrificed at the hands of our periods and the shitty ways we’ve been taught to deal with them? We live in a time of constant progression and advancement, so why do we insist on sticking by these antiquated period-handling techniques?
And for those who just don’t want to put anything but a tampon up there – tampons are far worse for your health than you think. They often leave cotton fibres behind, contain really harmful chemicals, or put you at risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) if you leave them in too long. To get that ‘clean’ white look, the cotton often has to be bleached, and it doesn’t take much imagination to realise the ‘ultra absorbent nature’ of many pads and tampons is in no way natural.
I feel like I now understand vegans’ undying need to speak so frequently about their veganism. They’ve discovered something they think is revolutionary and they want to tell anyone who will listen; spread the gospel, as it were. The same goes for me and this fucking amazing piece of hardware that’s going to change my human existence.
In fewer words: Do it. Save money, save the planet, save yourself.
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