This is a guest post from Jackie Bolen, from Reusable Menstrual Cups who is a tree hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found drinking coffee, or paddling the rivers around Vancouver, Canada.
These days, more and more people are making the switch from tampons to a menstrual cup. 10 years ago, very few people knew about them apart from the hippies and eco-friendly people. Today, average people are using menstrual cups, and loving them.
Here are a just a few of the reasons why you might consider ditching the tampons and buying a menstrual cup.
Reason #1: All About Money
Who doesn’t like to have more money in the bank at the end of the month? Everybody, right?
According to a survey the The Huffington Post did, the average person in the UK spends 13 GBP on period products each month. That seems like a lot! Add on 5% tax to these products and it’s even more.
This is a lot of money for something that you have to buy every single month for 40 or so years.
Compare this to a menstrual cup. The top-quality ones that you should feel safe about putting into your body cost around 20 Pounds. There are some cheaper ones that are made in China for ½ or even ⅓ of that, but I don’t recommend them because they’re not made from medical grade materials.
If you get a reputable cup, you’ll break even in just a couple of months. After that, you have years of savings ahead of you because these cups can often last for 5+ years. You just have to take care of them properly to make them last as long as possible.
Reason #2: Save the Environment
The average person uses between 11,000 and 16,000 tampons during a lifetime. That’s a lot of waste going to the landfill, and some of it is plastic which doesn’t biodegrade.
Switching to a menstrual cup which can last for years goes a long way towards reducing waste. There’s even better news! Depending on where you live, it can sometimes even by recycled when it’s worn out.
Reason #3: Fewer Yeast Infections
There is no conclusive scientific study about the frequency of yeast infections (or BV) with tampons compared to menstrual cups.
However, anecdotal evidence from users shows that people often experience fewer vaginal infections when switching to a menstrual cup from tampons. There are a few possible reasons for this:
- Menstrual cups don’t dry out your vagina like tampons do
- Tampons sometimes contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals in them which can irritate your vagina (particularly the scented ones)
- Tampons sometimes leave microfibers behind when you remove them
We hope that someone in the scientific community will do some research on this so we’ll know for sure! But, for now, you can find more details here: yeast infections and periods.
Reason #4: Reduce your Risk of TSS
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare, but serious problem. There are hundreds of cases each year, with around half of them being caused by tampons.
Of course, when you consider the massive numbers of people who use tampons, the overall risk is actually quite low. This is especially true if basic precautions are taken such as changing it frequently enough, and using the lowest absorbency level possible for your flow.
But, the risk of TSS from a menstrual cup is even lower. There’s only been one reported case associated with a menstrual cup and it happened because the person cut themselves when inserting the cup at the beginning of their period.
There is indeed a theoretical risk with a menstrual cup. But, will it happen to you? Probably not, especially if you clean your cup well and only wear it for 12 hours max.
Reason #5: If you have a Heavy Flow
If you bleed through a jumbo tampon or heavy pad in 2-3 hours, you’re considered to have a heavy period. On the day of your heaviest flow, does it feel like you’re always running to the bathroom to deal it? And then when you’re not, you’re worrying about it?
A jumbo tampon has a capacity of just 10 ml, while the average menstrual cups holds 30 ml. There are even some high capacity period cups that have room for 40+ ml.
3-4x more capacity equals 3-4x less period hassle!
If you previously had to change out your tampon every 3 hours, you might be able to make it at least 8 with a menstrual cup. There’s even the possibility that you could sleep through the night without getting up to deal with your period when your flow is heavy.
Did you ever think that would be possible? It is!
How to Choose a Menstrual Cup?
If you take a look over on Amazon, you’ll see that there are 100+ menstrual cups available. Which one to choose? It’s not easy!
Here are a few things to consider:
- Manufacturing country. North America and Europe produce cups that are far higher in quality than the ones from China (usually).
- Materials. Are they medical grade?
- Length. This is usually the most important factor. If you have a high cervix, you’ll need a longer cup. With a low cervix, a shorter cup.
- Diameter. If you’ve given birth vaginally, or are older, you’ll probably need a bigger menstrual cup.
- Price. Cheapest is not always the best! Avoid the very cheap menstrual cups from China because they usually don’t work that well.