Menstrual Cups: For A Cleaner, Greener Period

For as long as I have had my period, all I’ve known are two alternatives:

maxi pads or tampons. There is an increase in raised awareness for the ingredients in all of the products we use day to day. Feminine hygiene products are a trending topic with organic, non-toxic focused alternatives that eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals.  Innovate feminine brands Athena Club, The Honey Pot Company, Cora and Lola provide cleaner pad and tampon options. Using traditional feminine products is a routine for most women. However, single use products are expensive, harmful to the environment and can lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSI). The increase in conscious living amongst consumers has led to new products including THINX and menstrual cups.

You might have heard of menstrual cups or the Diva Cup, one of the original brands in this movement, but many women have never tried it. The topic of menstruation still seems taboo to discuss, perhaps that’s why we haven’t advocated for better solutions. I’ve also heard the reactions of some women who learned about menstrual cups or THINX to be “gross”. Maybe it is difficult for some women to imagine products that create a more involved or intimate experience with their period.

I have been using menstrual cups for several years now and it is one of my favorite eco-friendly discoveries. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Saving Money – the cost of a menstrual cup is between $20 – $40 for one cup compared to $7 for a box of tampons. A menstrual cup will last you years. While the purchase of tampons will add up over the years, the purchase of one menstrual cup is an investment that will last and pay for itself.
  2. Less Waste – Buying less means less waste. Consider how much waste is created from each period, multiple it by a a year, and then a lifetime! All that waste will sit around waiting to break down for years for only a few hours of use.
  3. Convenience – No need to restock. You won’t have to run to the store because you ran out or forgot to purchase last time.
  4. Takes Up Less Space – Maybe this is mostly a benefit for city dwellers but living in a Manhattan apartment, I need to save all the space I can. I don’t like to have a lot of things cluttering my living quarters and boxes of various products add up to a lot more space than I can afford to sacrifice. Especially if you buy in bulk to save.
  5. Health – Cups should be made from medical-grade silicone (used in plastic surgery implants) compared to cotton. Cotton in tampons and pads can contain harmful chemicals that can be absorbed through your vaginal walls.
  6. Reduced Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSI) – Using tampons can lead to the risk of getting TSI especially with long hours of use.
  7. Comfort – Many cups are made of medical-grade silicone. This allows you to leave it inserted for up to 12 hours without feeling it.

There is a learning curve with menstrual cups as inserting and removing them can be a challenge. It is important to make sure that it is inserted properly. This will create a vacuum seal and to prevent leaking it is best to use a pantyliner or THINX panties. While it is not common with proper use, leaking can occur if the cup isn’t emptied frequently enough. Removing it can take some practice as it must be emptied and rinsed, it can be messy and impractical for some situations.

While it isn’t perfect for every situation, I strongly encourage anyone considering the menstrual cup to give it a try. It is a seriously awesome invention.

Each brand of menstrual cup has a unique shape and sizes to offer variety for different body types and flows. I have been using the Lena Cup (original, small) and haven’t tried any others for comparison but altering using it for over two years, I can confidently recommend the Lena Cup which can be found on their website (here) and Amazon (here) for $24.90. Lena offers a satisfaction policy should you purchase the wrong size or are unhappy with your purchase, leaving no risk!


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