You all probably know by now that I’m an advocate of the menstrual cup. They create less waste because you aren’t throwing away (or flushing *facepalm*) wrappers and used product. They are healthier for our bodies because they’re devoid of all the incredibly toxic substances found in most menstrual products. They are 100% more economical; 1 menstrual is around $40 and can be used for several years. So when I hear women spout reasons they’ve read, heard, or assumed about menstrual cups I cringe and then write a blog! Let’s bust some myths, shall we?
- I bleed too much to use a menstrual cup
This myth kills me. I hope that you and I have built up enough trust so that if you are reading this you can absolutely believe me when I say that a menstrual cup holds (leak free) SO MUCH MORE than any pad or tampon can dream of. Here are a few facts to help make sure this myth is fully busted.
The model 1 Diva Cup, for example, holds a full ounce or 30 ml. The jumbo-est tampon of them all holds only 18 mls which almost half of what a cup can hold. A regular tampon holds only 9 – 12 mls. What about pads? They hold 5 – 15 mls depending on the absorbency. Still WAY LESS than the cup. Let’s translate this to real life situations: if you soak a tampon tampon every 20 minutes you can have reliable, leak free bleeding with a menstrual cup for about an hour. SO MUCH TIME SAVED.
- They smell bad
What causes odors? Things that are rotting. If you clean your cup correctly you will not experience a smell. Also, if you leave it inserted for too long without cleaning it can start to get funky. Which is true of most things. 8-12 hours is the recommended length of time for all the cups I’ve read about. Confession time: I once had mine in for 24 hours without removing and cleaning. I COMPLETELY forgot that I hadn’t dumped and rinsed one morning. Woops. BUT, unlike tampons, I did not run the rick of serious infection with prolonged wear!
- But period blood is so gross
This is misogyny at its finest. We have been taught that our period is dirty. How about the truth that every month my body can MAKE AND SUSTAIN LIFE! Why is your own blood gross?? When you cut your finger or get a bloody nose your not worried about touching it! Your period blood is NO DIFFERENT. We’ve been brain washed to believe that it’s gross so that we will spend billions of dollars making sure it’s kept under wraps at all costs.
If you simply cannot get past this imposed ick factor take comfort in the fact that you don’t have to touch the blood at all. Pull it, dump it, rinse it, re-insert it. You’re done and have no more blood or lady juice on your fingers than you would with a tampon. The cup is actually LESS gross than a tampon because there’s no string hanging down. Guess what gets all over that string? Traces of your urine and feces. THAT’S gross. Truly, the tampon string is the culprit of many infections because it is a bacterial highway from your defecation region to your baby region.
- Totally unhygienic in public
The cup is the same level of public bathroom yuck as a tampon. Let’s walk through the process.
Enter bathroom: wash your hands.
Open the stall: we know how to use our feet and elbows to get in and out of there; we’ve been doing this since we were 15.
Unwrap tampon: where was that tampon? In your bag? It’s super clean in there, right? So you touched the outside of the tampon and then you take it out of the wrapper with the same hands? Hm. With a cup there’s nothing to unwrap thereby preventing potential transfer of bacteria with your fingers.
Insert tampon: Even if you’re using a tampon with an applicator you are touch the same surface area of labia and vaginal opening that you would when removing and replacing a menstrual cup.”But I can’t clean my cup in public! Gross!” True. Please don’t rinse and clean your cup in public sinks. HOWEVER. There’s a crucial step here that most people do not know about. The cup DOES NOT NEED TO BE STERILIZED before every re-insertion. Yeah. You read that correctly. So, you’re in the bathroom at Target, you NEED to empty and re-insert. What do you do!? You wash your hands, use your foot and elbow for the stall door, you removed and dump the contents into the bowl, and then you wipe out the cup with appropriate wipes or even with TP. Then, re-insert your cup and wash your hands just like you would any way. Then go about your Target trip feeling smug and confident that you’re not leaking. 6 hours later when you’re back at home just give it a good wash before re-insertion and you’re totally good to go. Ta-Da!
If you do not have your own cup yet, I would LOVE for you to check out these two menstrual cup companies I’m excited about. They don’t pay me, I’m just over enthusiastic.
I don’t even have a Meluna and it’s already my favorite company. They offer so many sizes, lengths, textures, and handle variations that you are GOING to find one that works for you. I can’t wait to try them myself!! You better believe that will be a whole blog series.
My go-to. My silicone savior. The people over at DivaCup have been SO NICE to me! It is the first and only cup I’ve ever had! I bought my Model 2 in fall of 2014 and they helped me out by giving me a Model 1 in spring of 2015. Both are still in perfect condition.
Side note for girls: a menstrual cup may be a little over-whelming if you’re new to having your period, but if you don’t have trouble with tampons you should definitely ask your mom about using one of these. It make it easier to go to school and not have to go to bathroom so much, and you’re less likely to leak during gym class! You won’t have to buy pads and tampons over and over again and you won’t have to throw away so much waste!