There are so many reasons why I love my menstrual cup.
Oh wait, I'm not supposed to talk about periods, am I? Oh no, I just said another 'bad' word: period. But when we live in a world where even politicians can't bring themselves to say "tampon", I reckon it's time we talked about the bloody issue, not around it.
Let's get it all out of our system, shall we? Menstruation, menstrual flow, period, blood, vagina, ovulation, the pill, sanitary products, cramps, tampons, pads.
So now it's clear we are here to have a discussion about periods (yes, we really need to stop calling it 'that time of the month') let's begin.
I am a 21-year-old Sydneysider who refuses to go with the flow. For years, most women have been presented with two options: pads or tampons. But I'm here to tell you about another -- one the government and pad/tampon companies don't want you to cotton on to: the menstrual cup *sound of heaven gates opening*.
They have been around since the '30s, so I have no idea why they aren't more popular -- well, actually, I do have some idea -- I think it has a lot to do with those who will lose out if you make the switch. But you will be winning. So, without further ado, here are nine reasons why I love my menstrual cup:
1. You've got everything you need from the beginning to the end
No more worrying about whether or not you have a pad/tampon ready to replace your current one. You simply insert your menstrual cup at the beginning of your period and you are ready to paint the town red. Just like pads/tampons you do need to change it every four to eight hours -- but you just need to rinse or wipe out the cup and then slip it back in. Which leads me to the second reason I love my menstrual cup...
2. The environment
Every time you use your menstrual cup, you save an innocent baby whale (this fact may or may not be true). But seriously, think about how many pads/tampons you use every time you have your period. The product itself plus the packaging adds up very quickly, as does:
3. The price
On average, Australian women spend around $10 a month on pads/tampons. I purchased the Mooncup menstrual cup (manufactured in UK) straight from their website for £25.94, which converted to $56.09 at the time. Seeing as though I've now been using it for six months, I've just started to reap the rewards financially. From here on in, every month I'll be saving about $10 and not paying anymore tampon tax.
4. One word: moisture
Let's be honest -- inserting a tampon at the end of your period isn't as easy as it was on day one. This is due to the fact that tampons soak up more than they should -- not just the unwanted blood, but also your natural juices. That doesn't happen with a menstrual cup.
5. It's basically a science experiment in how your body works
Not good with blood? Neither was I, which is one reason I originally hated using pads so much -- that bloody reminder every time you use the loo. With my menstrual cup, there are two markings on it, 6mL and 12mL. So now I treat my period as a science experiment.
Before my menstrual cup, I had absolutely no idea how much I was bleeding and ended up stressing that my tampon was full and would pull it out only to find a teeny-weeny smudge on it. Bad for my pocket and again, the environment. Now that I use a menstrual cup, I am much more confident and I feel more in control.
6. No string, no stress
"Can you see my string?" How many times have you asked a friend at the beach this question, or tried to inconspicuously take a peek between your legs? The menstrual cup does not have a string, but a short stem that you can trim (the end of the stem should sit just inside your vagina), which is used to help you remove the device.
7. You can sleep in it
For any of you pad haters, this means no more feeling guilty if you spend a night with a tampon in. The menstrual cup can be safely used overnight. Tip: Once it has been inserted, run your finger around the edge once to ensure a proper seal.
8. You can exercise in it
18km run, tried and tested -- no issues. No discomfort, no leakage. And you can swim in it -- again, no issues.
9. Pooing and peeing is no problem
Don't you hate it when you insert a new tampon and then, not long after, you need to pee or poo? Accidental wet string -- eww. That's now a thing of the past for me. When peeing with a menstrual cup in, the urine may splash the bottom of the cup, but it's silicone and so the liquid drips/wipes straight off.
I used to find it really unhygienic (due to dangling string, mostly) keeping my tampon in while pooing. Plus, it often moved during the event and became uncomfortable. I've now pooped many times while using my menstrual cup and I've had no discomfort or other issues.
Yes, girls poo.