As with the last time I talked about that ever taboo topic of menstruation, I’m going to give you a heads up that if you are uncomfortable with that, feel free to turn back now. Personally I think that even if you are uncomfortable with it, you should just embrace that uneasy feeling, learn more about female bodies, and become comfortable with the topic of menstruation, but maybe that’s just me.
I’ve finally been using reusable menstrual products long enough to feel like I have a good enough grasp to write about it.
This whole process of switching to reusable menstrual products (or RUMPs for short) started with a few fellow women that I knew who told me they were switching to menstrual cups. At first I thought it was peculiar, but after a while, my interests were heightened by a desire to procrastinate studying for finals. As a result, I did extensive research on the topic.
One of my many trails led me to Bree’s youtube channel, which is about the best source someone could land on when interested in menstrual cups or cloth pads. Her videos helped me make the decision to switch, helped me pick my menstrual cup (there are a ton on the market and it can be a bit overwhelming), taught me various folds for inserting my new cup, and how to painlessly remove it. She has videos for cleaning them, comparing them, and really just about any period topic you could think of.
So anyways, I started this whole process with jumping into menstrual cups. A menstrual cup is a small, typically silicone cup that is internally inserted, much like a tampon, to collect menstrual fluids rather than absorb them. About two to four times a day it will need to be taken out and emptied. Once or twice a day it should be cleaned with a gentle, non-scented soap. Between periods, it’s a good idea to sterilize the cup. I simply boil it.
Now you may be wondering–Why use a menstrual cup instead of a tampon? Well, there are many answers…
- Environment HUGE amounts of tampons and tampon applicators are thrown out every year, and many wash up on shores. Needless to say, it’s not very good for the environment, and that doesn’t even include the process of producing and transporting them. (Side fact–I believe I read that on average, a woman throws away one to two dumpster trucks of pads and tampons in their life. It’s ridiculous.)
- Cost Long-term, menstrual cups are way cheaper than tampons. A one time cost of $20-$40 every few years is way cheaper than spending — what? — $8 every month or two for a box of tampons. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups can be reused for years.
- Comfort They’re also simply way more comfortable. The nature of tampons is absorbent. Unfortunately they absorb more than just menstrual fluids — they take your natural vaginal moisture as well. Menstrual cups collect instead of absorb — leaving your natural linings in tact. They are also flexible and will match your body temperature, meaning that as long as you have it inserted correctly, you shouldn’t feel a thing.
- Convenience First of all, you’d never have to buy tampons again. How great is that? Secondly, depending on how light or heavy your flow is, it’s likely that you would have to empty the cup way less often than you would have to change a tampon.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, it takes a while to get used to these things. The first time I tried to insert that sucker, it took me over an hour because it was just so weird. I didn’t even use tampons that often and these took a bit more learning than they did. Once you get it though, insertion is super quick and simple. Bree’s videos were incredibly helpful and provided lots of tips. Check them out. The biggest things are to find the right fold, relax, and use lubricant if you still have trouble. When you remove it, make sure to break the suction by squeezing the bottom for optimal comfort. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit of education — remember that tampons did too. Figuring out menstrual cups is worth the effort.
As I said earlier, there’s a ton of options on the market in terms of menstrual cups. Way more than you would think. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Lunette Cup. There were several reasons for that decision, but I’m not going to lie — the pretty colors were a big selling point. Other notable brands would be the Diva Cup or the Ruby Cup. If you decide to take the plunge, I would recommend checking out Bree’s channel because there are all sorts of resources for comparing them and picking the right cup for you.
I’ve only been using my cup for about three or four cycles at this point, but I’m in love. I’m sure my roommates are absolutely exhausted of hearing me sing the praises of menstrual cups, but I can’t help it — they’re just so wonderful. This post hardly scratches the surface of all the research that I’ve done on menstrual cups, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments. I’d be happy to answer them. But here’s a little visual aid that probably gives a better overview of what I’ve said and more.
Coming soon — Cloth Pads