It’s true. I’m going to tell you all about my switch to a menstrual cup. Six months ago, I was the one googling articles, reading reviews, and listening to testimonials on Instagram stories about making the switch.
I was nervous, skeptical, and wondering if it could really be something that would work for me. So, because I care about you and I know someone out there is curious, nervous, or skeptical, I’m going to tell you my honest thoughts.
(None of this takes the place of medical information or advice. If you have certain health risks or problems and are wondering if a menstrual cup is right for you, definitely consult your doctor first.)
Why the Switch?
Before you make any assumptions about me I’ll tell you up front I do what I can to limit waste, but by no means does our family live a waste/plastic free life. We are trying to switch over to more natural choices…but we still use paper towels and my husband buys our kids Oreos. So while we are trying to do what we can, I know there are areas we can improve on. I knew making this choice for myself was one small, but meaningful step in the right direction.
I’ve never had what I consider heavy cycles, but with age (I’ll be 35 this fall) a wealth of unwanted symptoms seem to accompany my time of the month. Nausea, headaches, intensifying cramping, back and breast pain… basically symptoms I know I’m not alone in. Also tampon use often caused me to have headaches. I started reading more about what mainstream tampons contain and I started to wonder if any of my symptoms could be related. After all, when you use something for at least a week per month for about half your life…it’s likely going to affect you someway, somehow.
Testing out the Menstrual Cup
Last fall, I decided to give the menstrual cup a try. I resolved I would give it 3 cycles to make a decision either way. Here we are into May, a little over 6 months later, and I’m happy to say I’m still using it and I’m glad I made the switch. Wondering about making the switch yourself? Here are some of my honest thoughts because it’s so different from using a tampon. Let me start with what I like about it.
- It’s far more comfortable to put in and take out. (Notice I did not say easier, I’ll get to that later.) I think we can all agree foldable silicone feels better than hard plastic or rough cotton. Also no string is a huge plus. I’ve never felt like it was going to slip out either.
- I don’t buy tampons anymore! I bought one cup for $25 on Amazon six months ago and that’s it!
- Although I still wear pads, you can wear the cup at night. In fact you can leave it in without emptying it for up to 12 hours.
- Less trash/waste! While I do use a piece of toilet paper to set it on when I take it out, I’m not wrapping soiled products in TP and then tossing it. I rinse it, and put it back in! When my cycle is over, I boil it, let it air dry, and leave it in my bathroom for next month.
- No odor. I was not expecting this, but it’s a great bonus!
- My cycles have become shorter. I have no idea if this is a proven “side effect,” but this is my personal experience. I went from 5-6 day periods to 3-4 day periods.
- And best of all my headaches, cramps, back pain, and overall discomfort during my period are almost nonexistent! Basically all the symptoms I experience now are premenstrual… which the cup cannot help with, obviously. Sure, the first day of my period I still experience soreness, but nothing like I had when I was using tampons.
Here’s what is vastly different than using tampons. I won’t say “what I don’t like” because this is all part of using a menstrual cup. If emptying out a cup of blood is going to really bother you, then honestly this probably won’t work for you. Is it something I enjoy? No. But I didn’t enjoy tampons either and I feel better using a cup. Plus it’s just part of being female.
- Like I mentioned above, it’s messier than a tampon and it takes some getting used to. After two cycles, I had it pretty well figured out, but you just need to be patient with yourself while learning how to navigate the cup.
- I personally would not feel comfortable emptying it in a public restroom. You can empty it and put it back without rinsing, but I find it’s easier to put it in if you get it wet first. So that wouldn’t work out well in a public setting. But because you can leave it in so long, I’ve always been able to just empty/rinse at home after being out all day.
- The proper positioning can take some work depending on your anatomy. This is why I said above it’s not easier, but definitely more comfortable! While getting used to the cup, I suggest wearing a pad. If you don’t have it sitting quite right, you will leak a little. But you and your body adjust the longer you use it.
- I don’t use it while I travel. Again with the lack of private restrooms, I prefer to have a box of organic tampons on hand for travel.
Well, those are my 100% honest thoughts on using a menstrual cup. Although it takes some getting used to, I’m glad I made the switch. If you are considering trying a menstrual cup, here’s what I suggest before purchasing one: consider your typical flow amount, your personal anatomy, and do your research for which cup you will try. There are a lot of options now, but every one is slightly different.
Because I don’t have heavy periods, I’ve been pregnant twice (both with C-section deliveries), and I’m on the petite side, I chose a small cup. Some brands suggest getting two sizes at first to see which works better for you. I also chose a brand that donates feminine products to homeless shelters and school-age girls in developing countries. Not only can you lessen the amount of feminine product waste, you can provide opportunity and dignity to other women. I love that.
Have you made the switch to green feminine products? Have you ever considered it? If you have any questions for me, I am so happy to answer them for you… or at least help you find the answer!