So you’ve already given your kitchen and bathroom products an eco-friendly makeover, and you support ethical, environmentally friendly brands. But have you given the same attention to your feminine care products?
Thankfully, long gone (in most of the world, at least) are the times when talking about your period was taboo. And talk about it we should! Because it gives us an opportunity each month to make healthier choices for our bodies, as well as for the planet.
Because seriously, have you ever thought about the chemicals that might be entering your body via your tampons or pads? Ick.
Enter, the menstrual cup.
Have you ever thought about the chemicals that might be entering your body via your tampons or pads?
These can provide a totally eco-conscious, chemical-free, and inexpensive alternative to the traditional tampon or pad. And while there are tons of brands out there, from the Diva Cup to many newer ones, there are still plenty of women not quite convinced.
Maybe you’re one of them, wondering how they feel, how they work, all that jazz. So let’s get into the low-down on everything menstrual cup.
Here are the answers to all your deepest, darkest questions – like do menstrual cups hurt – that you’d only ask a close girlfriend.
First, What Is a Menstrual Cup?
Though they’re having a moment right now, cups themselves have been around as an option since the 1930s.
They’re simply a soft, rubbery cup made out of silicone or latex rubber.
Instead of soaking up the blood like a tampon would, a menstrual cup simply catches it until the cup is full. Then, using the tip or “tail” at the end of the cup, you can remove it, flush the blood away, wash, and replace.
What Are Some Menstrual Cup Benefits for the Environment?
Since they’re not a single-use thing like tampons or pads, you’re not contributing to the immense amount of waste that comes from feminine products. Just how big of an issue are tampons and pads, exactly?
The average woman will toss out a whopping 250 to 300 pounds of plastic and waste from her monthly period products in her lifetime.
If you ask most women, they’d agree that the cramps, the bleeding, and the general inconvenience of a period are quite enough to deal with (thank you very much!) without also having to feel like you’re hurting the planet. Which is one of the major selling points of using a menstrual cup instead.
If you’re interested in more eco alternatives, check out our Review of FLEX – The Eco-Friendly Tampon Alternative (Video)
How Does a Menstrual Cup Work? How Does it Feel? And, Most Importantly, Do Menstrual Cups Hurt?
At the end of the day, eco-conscious perks aside, when I was considering switching to a menstrual cup my real question was: Okay, but how would it feel? And work? Like, you know . . . would it leak? Would it look like a Dexter kill scene every few hours when I had to change it? And, honestly, do menstrual cups hurt?
Don’t worry, if you’ve had any worry or gross fear about menstrual cups, I’ve had them before. And I’ll share my honest experience here.
First things first, the usability of a menstrual cup, for some, like myself, took a tiny bit of getting used to.
Do menstrual cups hurt? Nope!
The first couple of times I inserted it, it was a little awkward. But remember the first time you used a tampon, and how scary that seemed? Just like with that, you get used to using your menstrual cup super quickly with just a tiny bit of practice.
Your cup should come with instructions, and most will give you a couple options of how to fold and make your cup smaller and easier to insert.
And once it’s in, do you feel it? Do menstrual cups hurt? Nope! Some (like myself) may experience an extremely gentle “popping” feeling (for lack of a better explanation) as the cup you folded to insert unfolds and expands to its full size. It’s nothing to be scared of though. There’s zero pain or pinching or pressure at all.
Here Are Some Other Menstrual Cup Benefits to Love:
Need a few more reasons to love using the cup?
With so many menstrual cup benefits, here are just a handful worth noting:
- Once inserted, you can leave it in for up to 12 hours
- No more worrying about Toxic Shock Syndrome
- You don’t have to remember to pack new tampons or pads in your purse
- It’s way comfy – no more annoying tug of a tampon string when doing physical activities
- You can’t even feel it’s there
- It holds up during everything from yoga to pole class or swimming
Which Menstrual Cup Is the Best?
Not sure which menstrual cup to buy? That’s a tricky question.
The best-known brand is the Diva Cup, available on Amazon and in many drugstores and health stores. It’s probably the most widely used cup, and comes in three sizes now. But with the boom in popularity of cups, many more brands have popped up, varying in length, capacity, firmness of material, and other factors.
So which menstrual cup is the best? You can easily get lost in the thousands of reviews of each, but going off number of reviews on Amazon, the most-hyped and so-called best menstrual cups out there are:
Whichever Cup You Choose, Here Are a Few Extra Menstrual Cup Tips You’ll Need to Know:
These three are important menstrual cup tips to keep your health and hygiene as your number one priority.
1. Boil Before and After Use
Before you first use your cup, regardless of brand, you need to boil it in a small saucepan for a few minutes. And then boil it again at the end of your cycle.
2. Wash With Unscented Soap
For day-to-day use, each time you remove and empty the cup, you will want to rinse it off and then wash with an unscented soap or cup-specific wash.
Diva Cup makes one that you can find on Amazon. Or Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap is another good option that’s easy to find.
3. Let It Breathe
At the end of the cycle, store it somewhere breathable, like the cloth drawstring bag which many brands come with, so it can breathe and air out. That’s all you need to do to keep it totally clean and sanitary!
The Takeaway on Menstrual Cup Benefits
Overarching takeaway about menstrual cups? They’re just way less scary than you might have thought – promise.
If you’re not quite ready to switch to cups but want to baby-step your way to a more natural and environmentally-friendly period, here are 5 Natural Menstrual Products for a Healthier Period
Whatever method you choose, here’s to a healthy, hassle-free, and happy-as-possible period!