By Mia Windisch-Graetz
There I was in the bathroom holding the menstrual cup in one hand and the instruction manual in the other. If other girls can do it, I can do it too, I repeated nervously. I don’t know why I was so scared. It just looked HUGE. And having watched about 120 Youtube videos of women who failed to insert or remove the cup, did not necessarily help me overcome my fear. Nevertheless, there is always a 1st time for everything and I had to at least give it a try. And trust me, the only thing I regret after doing so, is that it took me so long to convince myself that the menstrual cup really is my vagina’s best friend. As of now, you can count me among the 91% of people who tried the menstrual cup and would recommend it to a friend*. Here are 10 lessons I learned from using the menstrual cup.
1. Forgetting that I am actually on my period
Depending on your flow, you can keep the menstrual cup inside between 8-12 hours without emptying it. So you practically only have to think about your period once/twice a day.
2. Feeling More Connected To My Body
Since I use the menstrual cup, I feel less stressed about my period. I am more at peace and more in line with my body. You can also observe how much blood you actually lose, which makes you understand your cycle better.
3. Staying Comfortably Wet
Tampons absorb your period flow AND your vagina’s natural moisture, which leads to dryness, irritations, and itching. Unlike menstrual cups, which only collect your period blood, keeping your vagina as it should be – comfortably wet!
4. Feeling Safe Without Chemicals
Conventional disposable menstrual products can contain harmful chemicals and are mostly bleached white, meaning they include dioxin and other substances that can harm the body. Tampons can also leave tiny pieces of fiber behind, creating a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Menstrual cups are normally made of medical silicone or latex rubber which are perfectly safe without chemicals going inside your body.
5. No More Hiding
Times of hiding used tampons or pads in my purse when staying over at someone’s place to get rid of them only afterward belong to the past. Now, in case I have to clean out my menstrual cup, I can do so any time, without having others knowing. I just quickly wash it in the bathroom sink and put it back in – voilà!
I also don’t have to go through the whole hiding-my-tampons-and-pads-in-my-bra-or-bag debacle anymore.
Interesting: period blood only develops an odor when exposed to air which means that there’s no smell when using a cup.
6. Having A Good Night’s Sleep
Because no more changing and leaking overnight. Remember, you can leave the menstrual cup inside for up to 12 hours. Tip: to be super safe, I also wear period panties/reusable cotton pads when sleeping, just in case. Sleep tight!
7. Traveling Light
Imagine never having to wonder how many tampons or pads to take with you when you go out or travel. Because you only need your ONE menstrual cup – for a peaceful mind and that extra space in the bag.
8. Saving Money
In most financially advantaged countries, the average woman uses around 11 000 menstrual products during her lifetime, spending more than $120 a year. By switching to a $25-30 menstrual cup, you could save about $1000 over 10 years.
9. Saving Time
As you can go between 8-12 hours without emptying your menstrual cup and no longer have to buy disposable menstrual products.
10. Protecting The Environment
Anything you can do, you can do bleeding too. My biggest motivation to ditch disposable period products was to do my part and spare the environment some waste. After I learned that disposable pads are non-degradable (made of up to 90% plastic) and stay in landfills for 800 years, I knew that I had to find a more sustainable alternative. Made from reusable medical silicone, menstrual cups last up to 10 years and, as already mentioned, you only need ONE.
So what do you think are you ready to give the menstrual cup a chance now?
Text: Mia Windisch-Graetz, Photos: MOCHNI