I was the girl that flat our refused to buy her own tampons until she was in college and had absolutely no other choice. I didn’t want to be seen buying them and didn’t want the perceived awkwardness at the checkout lane. (Yea, I was a little ridiculous.) After having children it was really no better. I still hated buying them, hated being seen in the isle, the whole bag. I was so private and I, now that I think of it, was following the shaming of menstruation that society has placed upon it. (I might have a slight rebellious streak too.)
Fast forward to my starting to get eco-friendly phase. I heard women talking about these menstrual cups and I thought “You use what???! Where???! And you WASH and REUSE it?!!! - GROSS! That is SO not for me, but have fun!” There was nothing about the process that appealed to me. I was in love with my tampons (okay not really but at least I didn’t have to wash them) and that was that. I kept on using my cute compact tampons and continued to hear women talking about these “cups” and they would rave about them. I started hearing the same things over and over and over again.
- “Oh, I love my cup! It’s so convenient!”
- “The cup changed my life!”
- “I only have to empty it twice a day!
- “I no longer have cramps.”
- “It saves me money.”
- “It lightened my heavy flow.”
- “There is no dryness.”
- “It doesn’t leak!”
- “There is no string for me to pee on.”
- “My sex life is better due to no dryness.”
- “I don’t have to worry about running out of tampons.”
These things began to pique my curiosity and then I started hearing other things that raised alarms, like these:
- “They have no known risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.”
- “They don’t leave micro-abrasions in your vagina like tampons do.”
- “They don’t contain dioxin and synthetic fibers like non-organic tampons do.”
- “They aren’t made with heavily pesticided cottons like non-organic tampons are.”
- “They don’t harm the ph and environment of the vagina like non-organic tampons do.”
Random fact: Did you know that the average woman will use enough tampons in her lifetime to fill a bathtub? (image right)
So maybe you are starting to see why I got curious about cups. You guessed it, they broke me down like a wild animal (disclaimer: no wild animals were harmed in the making of this blog post) and I decided to buy a cup and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much. I was curious, but completely skeptical too. After all, this was still the “gross thing that had to be washed”.
There was a slight learning curve, and I say that with the side note of “It is a totally different product! Of course you need to learn how to use it.” There are several methods for folding and (TMI) I find that wetting it before inserting makes a world of difference. Interestingly enough, one study from Finding Lasting Options for Women, or FLOW, found that women prefer a cup over a tampon for everything except for insertion and removal (which wasn’t by much). (Side note: Was anyone else a total freak like me and wrapped up their tampons in TP to keep it from being seen in the wastebasket? I was such a headcase! – One more thing I don’t have to do now!)
Long story short, it was all true. Menstrual cups are amazing and I was happy that I had given it a try (only sad I didn’t know about them years sooner). The worst that could have happened was that I would have saved $20, the best (which did happen) is that I spent probably the best $20 of my life, and I have two daughters that I can now pass this wisdom onto – I cannot express much that means to me.
I experienced most of the things that people raved about. I get the benefits of convenience & no dryness (you have no idea how much this rocks), and most importantly I get the HEALTH benefits. That is the biggest reason that I share an talk about feminine care products as much as I do. It is important, and while I still find it insane (to me) that I talk about them on such a public platform, I know how truly important it is and I hope each time that a woman somewhere will put aside her qualms, as I did, and try a cup. It’s worth a try, I promise you!
Diva Cup (my first cup!) has offered to give one of you women the chance to try a cup (note: this promotion is over). I wish that I could give one to everyone, but I do hope that if you don’t win, you order one (about $25 on Amazon). YOU deserve it and I cannot say enough good things about their cups. Plus, what better way to honor Earth Day 2012 than to ditch a toxin laden disposable product in favor of a reusable, toxin free wonder cup!