Warning: Before I fully launch into this post, I should let you know that I’ll be talking about periods…as in a woman’s menstruation. The skirmish readers out there can go check out some safer posts here.
The most challenging area of waste for me has always been my period. My cycle typically would last 5 days and I would wear tampons with a safety pad underneath, in case of leaks. I have a pretty light cycle so I like solutions where I only have to do minimal work. When I started hearing horror stories (like a woman who got toxic shock syndrome from a tampon and had to have her leg amputated as a result) I decided tampons weren’t worth the risk. Also, the thought of having my used tampons in a landfill somewhere was a bit nausea-inducing to me. I started looking for alternatives that reduce my carbon footprint and not put me at risk.
There are studies that say “in her 20s alone, a woman will spend over $26,000 on vaginal maintenance (pads/tampons, exams, birth control, etc.” This was a price I had accepted as a result for
Adam snitching on Eve for eating the apple being a woman. Someone did the calculation that I would have been happier not knowing of how much having period costs women.
With this high cost in mind, I went out in search for some options. One day a friend of mine (Julia) was telling me about this pad alternative that she’d been using for years. She said it was a little cup that collected the period blood and all she had to do was fish it out and dump it. Naturally, my mind went to a confused and creeped out place. But I was curious. So I did some research on menstrual cups and watched a few explanation videos on YouTube. The videos did a great job of informing me and calming down my fears about using the cups. So about a year ago, I bought the Diva Cup online and decided to give it a try.
A little background info: At the time I was thinking of first trying the cup, I had just had my first pap smear (late, I know, don’t judge me) and I was feeling tough. I thought I could handle anything so I opened up the packaging and read the instructions. Then I looked at the size of the cup and then back at the instructions. I proceeded to have a mini panic attack and text my friend inappropriate questions that were probably beyond our current level of friendship. With the help of her calm voice over the phone and some Youtube videos, I worked up the courage to do it.
Now, a year later I am loving the menstrual cup and the freedom it brings me. I highly recommend you give it a try if you’re tired of your period taking over your life. One of the updates I made to my monthly regimen is that instead of using a pantyliner under my Diva Cup. I’ recently tried a cloth pad from Paditude while I was wearing my Diva Cup. I must disclose that I met the owner, Amy Huffman at DC Green Festival and she gave me a light Paditude liner to try. I’d been hearing a lot about them and I had been very skeptical about trying it. Cloth pads are definitely an experience, but Paditude’s craftmanship is beautiful. It has a colorful design, is hand-sewn for sturdiness, and has an absorbent core made from organic bamboo fleece. I tried out the liner on the last day of my cycle and I didn’t leak onto my clothes. It didn’t move around (it’s secured by snaps) and was actually quite comfortable to sit on. Overall, it wasn’t too bad! Although plenty of people swear by cloth pads, I still prefer the flexibility of the menstrual cup. One of the downfalls is the price of a Paditude set. The way my wallet is set up, I’m not quite there yet. So I made a compromise and started using the Paditude liner instead of the disposable pantiliners. Yay for less menstrual waste in landfills!
Being waste free is not about being a hippie or doing extreme things. It’s about finding eco-friendly options that you’re comfortable with. I use menstrual cups because they make me periods more tolerable. I’m writing this post to give you all options. Take what fits your needs and leave what doesn’t work for you :).
To hear about my full experience with the cup, watch below to see my Periscope recap where I talk about menstrual cups:
Don’t take my word for it. See what these other ladies had to say:
1. Zero Waste Menstrual Products- by Fort Negrita (blog post and video)
2. Lunetta Cup Review- by Hallease (video)
3. Menstrual Cup 101- by The Eco Chic (blog post)
4. 18 Reasons You Should Switch to a Menstrual Cup by Buzzfeed (blog post)
5. About Menstrual cups- by Outside It’s Electric
Any questions? Leave them in the comments below!
11 thoughts on “Green Up Your Period With Menstrual Cup”
I would loooove to use these. I have to sort out some health issues with my lady down there. I struggle with tampons but would love to one day use the cup. I had a friend (who is injury prone) who had a UTI after using these. Any health tips for avoiding that?
Hey Danielle, we’ve got to be careful with the PH of our lady regions. Anything can set us off balance– using scented soaps for example. With the cup, you have to resist the urge to over-wash it. When you take it out, all you need to do is wipe it off or rinse it out before putting it back in. If you feel like you need to wash it, go with a mild soap like Dr.Bronner’s baby mild soap. At the end of your period, sanitize it in boiling water and let it dry before putting it back in the little pouch it comes in. Hope that helps :)
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That’s amazing advice, thank you! And you don’t feel you need to sanitize it during your seven day period as well?
You’re welcome! No, you only need to just rinse it off with water whenever you take it out & reinsert it. My period is usually 4-5 days but if your cycle is 7 days long, you may want to use the unscented soap (DIVA cup also makes a special soap for the cup). Save the sanitation step until the very end of your period.
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Thanks so much! I really hope to transition to that in the future!
This post is so serendipitous because I just bought my first menstrual cup after months of being too broke to afford one and actually cannot wait for my period to come so I can try it out! My motivations aren’t really about eco-friendliness I must admit, but more health related. Once I read about all the things they lace pads with it was a wrap for me! Can’t wait!!
Yay! You’ll see that the cup pays for itself in just a few periods. And you’re right, the amount of unregulated stuff in our tampons and pads are scary. So this has been a good alternative for me too. Best of luck as you get used to the cup. Don’t forget to breathe and keep trying until you feel comfortable with it ;)
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Buy at your local co-op or natural foods store instead, or online—at last check they sell for less than $35, which is far less than the close to $200 annually women spend on feminine hygiene products.
Good point. Buying local is a great option!
A ll this while I was waiting for a permanent soution to my blood. I hate using pads. They smell. Last year my friend advised me to use a menstrual cup, guess what, I have fallen in love with it now.
It’s definitely the way to go!