I used to dread my period each month. The moods, the feeling icky, being reminded you have your period each time you go to the toilet, the having to change pads and tampons all day and night, the general crappiness of the whole situation.
There was one thing that bothered me more than any of the above, and that was sleeping. You can’t wear tampons to bed, so you wear pads. You can’t sleep how you normally do out of fear you’ll, well, let’s be blunt – totally miss the pad while you’re asleep and ruin your underwear and sheets and probably mattress too. Periods are nothing to be ashamed of, but no one likes a patch of blood on their $5,000 mattress.
About 18 months ago, I started looking into menstrual cups. The idea intrigued me, but it also creeped me the hell out. Never one to shy away from a low-tox challenge, I bought a Restore Rose for $10 from Restore One, a not-for-profit organisation working with communities in need of support in Myanmar and Cambodia.
Side note: There are more expensive and tried-and-tested cups on the market, but I loved that my money would go towards a cause, that two free cups are given to girls in Cambodia for every cup sold, and that it was cheap enough that I wasn’t throwing money away if I couldn’t get the hang of using a menstrual cup.
The result? I haven’t used a pad or tampon in over a year and I never will again.
I love my menstrual cup. I mean, I really, really, really love it. It would be no exaggeration to tell you it’s like I no longer get my period at all. If it wasn’t for me tracking my cycle in an app, I couldn’t tell you when I last got my period. It’s that good.
Here’s why I’ll never go back to pads or tampons:
- It’s cheap. You buy one menstrual cup and that’s it. Unless your vagina has teeth (and hey, that’d be pretty cool!) this thing is going to last you years.
- It’s made of medical grade silicone. That’s it. Most pads and tampons contain phthalates, fragrances, BPA, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), amongst other things. The cotton used has almost always been bleached, too. Given our skin absorbs so much, do you really want these things inside your delicate lady parts? (‘Delicate’ descriptor not so much aimed at those of you who do have vagina-teeth.)
- You’re not contributing to landfill. You guys know how I hate waste, yes? The environmental impact of feminine hygiene products is huge, to say the least. The production of these products has a massive impact alone. Think water, cotton farming, pesticides, etc. On top of that, consider the fact that the plastic lining on the back of pads, made from low density polyethylene, takes an indefinite amount of time to break down. Tampon applicators can take 25 years to break down. No thanks.
- There’s no risk of toxic shock syndrome.
- You can leave it in up to 12 hours. While it’s not recommended, I can tell you that longer is possible. No changing tampons every two hours? Hooray!
Here’s the kicker: you can sleep with a menstrual cup in your vagina. Do you know how amazing that is?! No awkward positions. No feeling like you can’t sleep on your stomach. No stained undies. No stained sheets. No burning your mattress.
The moment I realised I could sleep on my stomach with one arm under my head and the opposite leg spread, bent, and propped up slightly? Oh, lordy. I almost baked that little silicone thing a cake. Not even joking.
Look, I could write 154 more paragraphs about how wonderful switching to a menstrual cup is, but I think you get the point. All I’m saying is, if you’re not using one… well, you’re missing out.
Got a question about menstrual cups you’re too embarrassed to ask anyone else? Ask me. No squirms here. Feel free to email me or message Oh Goodness Me on Facebook.