Periods are gross, right? At least that is what we have been led to believe by our mothers, sisters, friends and the feminine product industry. Periods have always been a taboo subject. Don't tell people that you're on yours and don't let anyone see your pads or tampons. Feminine product companies have even begun to market products that are scented or that are so small that they are easier to conceal unlike normal pads or tampons. Despite this, any period sufferer can attest to the fact that period products are 1.) ridiculously expensive and 2.) super inconvenient.
How many times have you gotten your period only to find out that you do not have any pads or tampons left? Or maybe you were going on vacation around that time of the month so you had to figure out how to fit a large box of tampons in your bag...just in case. Let's not forget how often tampons need to be changed and how there isn't always a place to dispose of them. Did I mention how the average period sufferer spends $8-10 a month on period products and how completely unsustainable pads and tampons are?
Last year, one of my friends made the switch from using tampons to menstrual cups. At first, I was slightly grossed out and my initial thought was that her next step was to join some hippie commune. However, after she explained her reasoning behind switching and how a menstrual cup worked, I was a little more sure of her sanity but still equally grossed out.
Curious, I researched menstrual cups. Surprisingly enough, there are a lot more people who use them than I thought. I thought to myself "Ok, these aren't that weird, maybe someday I'll switch."
I kept telling myself that I would buy one for the next month and then the next. It took me a whole semester to finally break down and order one. I've officially used mine for an entire cycle and let me tell you, I see what the hype is about.
While there definitely is a learning curve the first few times you use it, I did get better at inserting it and emptying it as the week went by.
It's not as messy as you would think.
Before I got my cup, I thought that emptying it was going to be a huge ordeal and that I was going to spill blood all over myself...I didn't. Menstrual cups are pretty cool actually, because you get to witness your flow first hand. As long as you empty your cup a few times a day, you won't have to worry about overflowing or spilling when you go to empty it. Plus, you don't have to worry about spilling or leaking while you sleep.
They are cost effective.
Yes, a menstrual cup is an investment initially (Diva cups are about $30 and Lunette, the one I have, is about $40), however, the investment is worth it. On average, I was spending $10 a month on tampons ($120/year). My Lunette cup was $40, free shipping and lasts 5-10 years with proper care. Financially, a cup just makes sense.
They are portable.
Gone are the days when I had to carry extra tampons in my bag for class or work or travel. When you are on your period, your cup is used all day and when you aren't, it is put in a small, drawstring pouch.
They are sustainable.
Tampons and pads need changed every few hours and come with plastic wrapping and applicators. All of that ends up in a landfill. With a menstrual cup, all I have to do is dump it in the toilet and voila!, I'm done.
They are a lazy person's dream.
Cups only need to be dumped a few times a day depending on how heavy your flow is. They can be worn for hours on end without any discomfort or messiness and there is 0 chance of getting TSS. Unlike tampons, which should be changed every time you go to the bathroom, you can comfortably pee and poop with one in. Magic.
I used to think that menstrual cups were for weirdo hippies but after having mine for over a month, I can say that I'm in love. Not only do they just make sense, they are also pretty badass. If you've been thinking about making the switch, I encourage you to try it out! Using a menstrual cup can be scary and intimidating at first, but it quickly becomes more comfortable the more you use it.