Why You Should Ditch Tampons and Pads: All About Menstrual Cups

I wish I did it sooner! That is always my answer when someone asks me how I like my Diva Cup. Yea, I know most of the menstrual cups on the market look like something straight from an alien spaceship but I can assure you, they will save you, your wallet, and the planet a ton of hassle! Read below my top reasons why you should try a menstrual cup on your next period and make sure to enter my giveaway at the end of this post!

Hold up girl, back up, what the heck is a menstrual cup? Well, I am glad you asked because they are my new favorite thing to talk about and refer to all my lady friends. A menstrual cup is a flexible, silicone cup that is inserted like a tampon but instead of absorbing the blood from your period, it simply creates a barrier and catches blood in the cup like shape. Once inserted, the cup comfortably rests up agains the walls of your vagina, allowing blood to pool into the cup and suction prevents all leakage. There are many menstrual cup companies on the market and they all serve the same purpose: allowing women to live freely with their periods. Menstrual cups can be left in longer than tampons (typically up to 12 hours) since they hold more blood (two times as much as a super absorbent tampon or pad) and do not come with the scary warning labels like tampons!

My first experience using a menstrual cup was now, at 28 years old, the model I started with was the Diva Cup. The very first insertion was a tad awkward and I felt as though I inserted it wrong. It only took me one more try to get it right. Once I did it was like an "ah ha" moment for my vagina! My favorite part about menstrual cups is that they can stay inserted for up to 12 hours. When could you ever forget about your period for a 12 hour time frame? I know I never have! I will typically take out, clean, and re-insert at 7:00AM and 7:00PM and repeat until my period is over. Another awesome bonus: you cannot tell it's there! You cannot feel it internally and there is no ugly string hanging out externally! Once you are ready to take out, you simply locate the "tip" of the menstrual cup and take out with your fingers. Instructions will tell you if your menstrual cup is inserted too far, you can perform kegels to help move the cup down your vagina to locate the tip. So please, if you did not have success in the past with a menstrual cup, don't give up and try again! Menstrual cups like Diva Cup and Moon Cup even come in two different sizes, for age and childbirth history due to pelvic floor tone. 

Menstrual cups are a much safer alternative to tampons; although still a risk for TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), the chances are significantly less than tampons. Look for menstrual cups made entirely of silicone. This medical grade silicone is free from latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalates, elastomers, polyethylenes, colors, and dyes. Silicone products are biocompatible (accepted by the human body without adverse reactions), durable, flexible, and easy to sterilize. Now that we ditched the tampons and pads, we also have ditched all the nasty chemicals those products are treated with such as bleached rayon, a material that creates a carcinogenic byproduct called dioxin. Along with bleach, commercial tampons and pads also contain pesticides, odor neutralizers, artificial fragrances and colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene, and propylene glycol (PEG) - all linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, dryness, and infertility.

Menstrual cups are one of the most affordable investments you will ever make, hands down. A typical menstrual cups prices from around $30 - $40 and they can last you up to ten years! Say goodbye to pricey organic tampons and pads which you have to purchase MONTHLY. With your new menstrual cup, wash between immediate uses, boil between cycles and your good to go!

Menstrual cups are eco friendly because they are reusable and nontoxic! According to 1MillionWomen.com, the average woman uses 20 tampons/pads per month, which equates to 240 per year - all going into the trash (and typically wrapped in toilet paper too)! Also, Refinery29 has reported that North American landfills contain 20 BILLION disposable menstrual products. And you cannot forget about the individual wrapping each tampon or pad gets, plus the box it comes in! With its demand (frequency of purchase), manufacturing, and toxic ingredient lists, tampons and pads are a unfortunate and damaging market and far from team go green!

Menstrual cups are also a space saver - think about all the period survival products you normally have in your bathroom closet and not to mention, bring on a vacation. No more of the extra side zipper on your suitcase harboring a weeks worth of tampons and pads. Throw one menstrual cup in your bag and you are good to go! Some brands, like the Candid Cup, are even retractable which means they can fold up and fit right into your pocket!

Lastly, menstrual cups are better for your overall reproductive health! Conventional tampons absorb not just blood, they also absorb vaginal fluid which may disturb pH and bacteria balance in your vagina. Dry vagina = no fun! With the reduction in endocrine disrupting and xenoestrogenic compounds in tampons and pads, you are also more likely to experience healthier periods, hormonal balance, and decreased period discomforts like cramping and PMS.

Be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY to win a FREE Candid Cup! How to enter: visit my Instagram, be sure to follow me, like the photo, and tag a friend! It is that simple! Winner will be announced on the Full Moon, Thursday, March 1st, 2018! Good luck!

Check out my website and Instagram feed to learn more about how I stay healthy and sign up for my newsletter for additional things I am digging, recipes, events, and random thoughts! Please share this post if you know anyone who could benefit from learning more about menstrual cups. What other topics would you like me to write about in an upcoming post? Leave a comment for me! Thank you so much for reading and as always, stay healthy! AF