You might already have stumbled upon the menstrual cup before and ignored it. Or hearing of it for the first time made you laugh or cringe. The menstrual cup seems strange and intimidating, right? That’s the typical initial reaction when someone encounters a menstrual cup. But learning the benefits of menstrual cup may change how you see it and make you switch.
Benefits of Menstrual Cup
You will not feel a properly inserted, good-fitting cup! It’s literally invisible. No pad wings nor tampon strings. Gone are the days when you don’t want to move because your pad feels wet, sweaty, sticky, or it keeps on shifting and wrinkling no matter how well you secure the adhesives. No more skin irritations from the pad’s plastic rubbing against your skin. The ugly feeling of the gushes of blood when you sneeze, cough, stand up, or change position can no longer be felt. Even the awkward feeling of a wet string.
Menstrual cups are made from medical-grade materials. These materials are designed and tested to be worn safe inside the body. Menstrual cups reduce your exposure to the chemicals present in sanitary pads, tampons, and panty liners that have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption, reproductive harm, and cancers. Tampons absorb fluids, and that includes the good bacteria in the vagina. Menstrual cups do not disturb your vaginal pH balance; a disruption in this environment can cause infection. It won’t leave you too dry, unlike tampons. In addition, a menstrual cup is a good option if you find yourself allergic to the chemicals in pads or tampons, such as bleach and fragrances.
A menstrual cup may seem expensive at first compared to a pack of sanitary pads or a box of tampons. But, it’s a one-time purchase that you can enjoy for up to 10 years with proper care. You get to save lots of money in the long run. Your money will not go into the bathroom bin in just a few hours. Here’s a bonus: lesser laundry saves not just water but detergent!
A disposable pad contains up to 90% plastic, while a tampon without an applicator contains up to 6%. Imagine the waste generated from your disposable period products in a month, year, or lifetime. Menstrual cups are reusable. Switching to a menstrual cup means no more plastic waste from your monthly period. That is less landfill waste and/or garbage in the ocean. You get to contribute significantly in reducing plastic pollution from single-use non-biodegradable plastics. Less trash, less environmental damage. You get to reduce your water and energy usage from washing stains! It’s a win-win for you and our planet.
You get to know and understand your body better. You get to become more connected with your body. You get to appreciate it and accept whatever comes with it. You get to learn more about your period; assess its volume, color, etc. You get to become in control of your life during menstruation. You get to love your period.
Do you keep forgetting the extra pads or tampons for your cosmetic or toiletry pouch? Or worrying about having (enough) supply? Fret not because there’s no need to restock sanitary pads or tampons anymore. A menstrual cup in a pouch replaces the bulky pack of pads or box of tampons in your travel bag. And when menstruating, the cup just sits in a secret pocket doing its job down there.
Fewer changes, longer wear time
Some menstruators prefer to change their pads or tampons every toilet trip, others only when it is soaked. Because the menstrual cup is not exposed, you do not have to remove and empty it every time you hit the toilet – just do your business and clean yourself. A menstrual cup holds as much as twice or thrice menstrual fluid as a pad or tampon. This makes it a practical option for heavy bleeders. At the same time, it can be safely worn for 12 hours, then just empty and reinsert. That is extended leak protection of up to 8 to 12hours, depending on your flow, compared to the disposables.
No funky odor
The period’s scent from blood, tissues and the vagina’s moisture is subtle and not foul-smelling. There’s a hint of metallic smell from the iron in the blood. BUT! That subtle scent intensifies when the menstrual fluid mixes with the chemicals in the absorbents, most especially the fragrance that is added to mask the period’s natural odor. With pads, the body sweat contributes to bacteria growth producing a funky odor. The longer this mixture of dead cells and bacteria sits around, the stronger the smell becomes. Imagine the foul odor it releases from the bins no matter how well you wrapped your used pads/tampons. With a menstrual cup, the menstrual fluid is contained inside the vagina and is not exposed to air, chemicals and sweat. The collected menses is then dumped and flushed into the toilet or shower drain. You will never have to face that stinky scene again. Another bonus: you can skip that red-day-intimate-wash on your bathroom rack.
Menstrual cups are also a visual upgrade for menstruators who feel uncomfortable that period products look too “feminine” for their tastes. If you are not aware yet, period/menstrual products are created for people who have periods, not for genders. The good news is that most menstrual cup brands produce different colors, including neutral ones, if not clear.
A sound sleep
Side, back, stomach sleeper? Sleep in any position with a menstrual cup. Sanitary pads make it difficult to sleep comfortably with the worry of leakage from a wrong sleeping position. Goodbye, gory mornings! Tampons are not for long sleepers because of the risk of toxic shock syndrome (a rare but life-threatening illness caused by bacterial infection) from beyond 8 hours of wear. Menstrual cups are great for overnight protection indeed.
(Some noticed) Shorter period
Some menstruators noticed that their period lasts shorter compared to when they were using disposables, particularly pads. There is no scientific evidence on this yet, as far as I know. But this could be attributed to the cup’s suction seal. There’s a possibility that the light vacuuming effect somehow draws the menstrual fluid from the uterus a bit faster. Another case could be that, with a sanitary pad, the menstrual fluid spreads out in the vagina and does not flow out or exit at the same time.
(Some noticed) Lesser cramps
Some menstruators, mainly tampon users with low cervix height, found relief with menstrual cups. Tampon sizes are based on flow rather than the cervix height. And most tampons have the same length of about 50mm. Unlike tampons, the menstrual cup allows the cervix to sit inside it so it is not hitting the cervix. This feature prevents cramps from the said pressure.
Feel fresh and clean
It is never fun to wake up with a bloody butt crack (the space between the cheeks of your buttocks) or from the cold surface of a soaked pad. Does the accidental pee on tampon strings or the sweaty pads gross you out? Or does the smear of blood on the towel after a bath makes you sigh every time? The sickening odor even from well-wrapped used pads or tampons greeting you when you open the bathroom bin is not the best way to start or end your day either. Switch to a menstrual cup and kiss them – the blood-and-sweat-soaked groin, genital area and buttocks, wet strings, smeared towels, and funky smell – goodbye!
Gets you going
Do whatever you want – hike, bike, run, jump, work out, swim, do yoga, dance, climb, be adventurous. The menstrual cup moves with your body; provided it matches you and is positioned properly, it won’t cause any discomfort. Do the things you keep postponing because of your period. If you do not feel like moving an inch, probably because of cramps or headaches or just because, then lay down, relax, and get a restful sleep. A mess-free penetrative period sex is possible with a menstrual disc which is the dome form of menstrual cup. But note that menstrual discs are NOT contraceptives and NOT protection from STDs.
Gives you peace of mind, builds confidence
Sit and lie down in any position. Walk as fast as you can. Wear whatever you want – whites, leggings, your skimpiest bikini bottoms, or nothing. You will never be afraid of leaks and/or stains anymore. Not having to feel paranoid about others getting a whiff of your pad’s odor is a perk.
Menstrual cups are loaded with benefits, but same with anything else, it comes with a few minor drawbacks.
The initial cost for a menstrual cup may appear risky for something unfamiliar. However, it could be the most reasonable ₱1000-3000 you would ever spend for yourself. Yes, the pack or box of disposables is a lot cheaper if you compare their tags side by side. But the accumulated expenses on the disposables in years are unimaginably high for something you throw after a few hours. If you buy a menstrual cup, you will be able to recover what you spent in 1 to 2 years’ worth of disposables and start to see savings in the coming months. Think of the menstrual cup as an investment that generates future savings for your pocket. If you can’t afford a trusted brand yet, save up first, cups in the market won’t run out anyway.
Invasive, therefore you must be comfortable with your body
Unlike putting on and removing pads that only involve the underwear, a menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina like a tampon. And unlike a tampon that you can just push in from the opening without your finger going in with it, your finger(s) may need to go in when you insert a menstrual cup. Before that, you have to take note of your cervix height to choose a cup with the proper length. The whole ‘inserting’ thing might seem uneasy at first especially if you’re not familiar with your own body but this definitely goes away as you get to know your body. If you are still saving up for a menstrual cup, take advantage of this time to get to know your body.
Needs observation, a deep understanding of your body, and research before you plunge in
You have to observe and learn how your body works before buying and using a menstrual cup. Again, knowing your cervix height ‘during’ your period is the first step. This is followed by assessing your body to identify what cup you need – your daily activities, sensitivities, and flow. Then of course you MUST know where to insert it. And finally, learn why reputable menstrual cups are necessary as not all menstrual cups are created the same. A menstrual cup is something you put in your vagina; you don’t want a non-medical-grade material inside you, right? Again, if you’re still saving and getting comfortable with your body, take this chance to visit different online sources/communities that will help you understand the importance of a quality cup.
Takes time to learn
Using a menstrual cup is not just about shoving it into your vagina and done. Technically, it requires folding, inserting, and removing. The cup must be folded to get it in. Folding alone involves different types of folds or techniques. Knowing at least three folds will help you identify the perfect one that lets you insert your cup comfortably and unfold it effortlessly. You may not learn everything in one go, but as we know it, practice makes perfect. It may take a while, and that’s perfectly okay. No rushing as it could make you feel frustrated and anxious. Give it some time, a LOT of patience, and master it at your own pace – a few or more cycles, even twelve months or more. You are not limited to your 5-day period every month; you may practice while not menstruating. Remember, a comfortable period comes to those who do not give up.
Emptying when not at home
Menstrual cups hold more menstrual fluid than pads and tampons. If you are not staying long outside, you may not need to empty your cup in public toilets. Just in case, it’s ideal to bring a handy bottled water with you, enough to rinse your cup and then yourself after reinserting. Outdoors in the wild? Do the same, carry a bottled water, empty and rinse your cup in a cathole, then cover it. Practice at home and go out prepared.
Removal can be messy at first
If you’re a pad or tampon user, you probably have never (or rarely) touched the soaked part or let your fingers catch blood while removing it. Taking out a menstrual cup won’t be like that. There is always a chance that the collected blood will spill out on your finger(s) when you pinch it. It is not as messy as it seems, though… no, nothing like the gory scenes from horror movies stuck in your head. But yes, it can get that bloody if you don’t remove it correctly and just yank it out like a wine cork. Don’t stress, cup removal eventually gets better over time.
Not for unhygienic person
Menstrual cups may not be for everybody. If for whatever reason you’re one of those who think it’s not for you, that’s totally fine, everyone is free to choose what period management is best for them. Many have been converted and are truly satisfied with it. Many are curious and are willing to try. Some are not yet ready but may consider in the future.
Menstruation is a challenge but at least menstrual cup makes it manageable. Menstrual cups will make your period an easy, relaxed, and exciting experience; you might even forget you are on your period. It’s going to be a worry-free, hassle-free, and waste-free period for you. Totally liberating! If you do switch, you switch to save – your body, your money, our planet.
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