Have you heard about menstrual cups?
Here are the quick facts- They’re the eco-friendly version of tampons and pads. A menstrual cup is a soft, silicon cup inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid. It can stay in for 10-12 hours. It is emptied and cleaned using hot water or water-based soap. They can last up to one year – menstruating individuals use an average of 240 tampons per year. Imagine the waste you can reduce!
Let’s review some pros and cons of menstrual cups-
It’s easy to recycle the plastic or glass we use each day, but it’s harder to follow the first two R’s: reduce and reuse. Using a menstrual cup is one way to do both. Menstrual cups are reusable for up to a full year. Because they are an alternative to tampons and pads, you can reduce your use of paper and plastic products by choosing a menstrual cup.
Save that money!
Let’s compare the prices – per year – of menstrual cups versus tampons. At Walgreens, you can purchase a menstrual cup for $34.99. You could alternatively purchase a box of 36 tampons for $8.19. Assuming that you’ll use 240 tampons per year, you would spend about $54.05 on tampons for a year’s supply. Twenty dollars saved? Treat yourself to two Chipotle burritos or a tank of gas for that!
Precautions with Cleaning
The thing with reusable products is that you need to keep them clean. Tampons and pads are more convenient in that there are one time use so no cleaning is necessary. Cleaning a menstrual cup is simple- let it boil in hot water for 5-10 minutes or clean it using water-based soap. Be sure to get any debris out of the tiny holes near the rim of the cup- those are there to create suction. You can also use vinegar to reduce any stains, as well. It is imperative that your menstrual cup is clean before re-inserting it so as to avoid infection.
A menstrual cup requires you to be up close and personal with your body. Inserting and taking out a menstrual cup can be a big task if you’re not familiar with your anatomy. Using a menstrual cup can be a great way to become more comfortable with your body because it encourages that intimacy and awareness. You’ll also learn more about your cycle since you are collecting fluid rather than absorbing and throwing it out.
Be Lazy (Kind of!)
You can keep a menstrual cup inserted for up to 10-12 hours… meaning you only need to deal with changing it twice a day. In comparison to four or five tampons per day, that’s a huge time saver. Again, you do need to put extra effort into keeping your menstrual cup clean but you can slack off on how much time passes between each time you empty it.
Some popular brands include Divacup, Ruby Cup, and Lily Cup. There are a few different sizes to look into but menstrual cups are fairly one-size-fits-all and mold to your body. Give menstrual cups a try!
By Charlotte Pillow
Peer Health Advocate
Class of 2019