Looking for a an eco-friendly alternative to tampons? Say hello to the menstrual cup—a silicone container than collects your period instead of absorbing it. Sounds gross, right? Just hear us out. For starters, having to change a pad or tampon every few hours is not only inconvenient, but super wasteful. Menstrual cups are reusable so they’re better for the planet and will save you money in the long term.
Secondly, since they use a collection method, they’re odor-free (your flow isn’t exposed to the air) and there’s less risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome like there is with tampons.
Thirdly, our green expert Renée Loux is a huge fan and personally recommends the brand Diva Cup:
“Women probably use about 11,000 tampons in their life-time, so this pays itself off in spades. And although I’m ‘Miss Green,’ I was suspicious at first, but it ended up being a total game changer for me. It rings all my bells: Zero waste, use for years, and never have to worry, ‘Do I have a tampon?’”
So how do you wear one?
During insertion, the cup is folded into a “U” shape, and placed inside the vagina, just below the cervix. The cup stays in place by using the muscles of the vaginal wall. You can remove twice a day by pulling the stem at the end of the cup until you can reach the sides of the cup.
Can you wear it while you workout?
You betcha. They can actually be more comfortable during exercise than a tampon and are less likely to leak. You can also have sex while wearing most menstrual cups (way less messy than regular sex on your period!)
How long do they last?
The reusable ones can be used consistently for a year or more (provided you empty and clean it every 12 hours). The brand Softcup offers an alternative, disposable version that can be thrown away after each 12-hour wear.
But what about the…stuff inside?
The downside to most of these cups is that, like with a tampon, you’ve got to take it out and empty the contents. That means reaching inside, manually pulling it out, rinsing out the collection cup and reinserting it. For those reasons, it’s probably not public restroom friendly.
Do women actually use this thing?
Indeed they do! And Kate Albers, 22, of Chester, New Jersey, agreed to be our guinea pig and give us a first person account. The verdict? She loves it. “My boyfriend didn’t feel it at all while we were having sex and I didn’t even notice I had it in. I usually cleaned it while I was in the shower but also did in the sink a few times which was still easy and didn’t create a mess.”
Have we convinced you? Would you ever try a menstrual cup?
More from WH:
Troubleshooting Your Vagina
Reduce Your Beauty Waste
photo: Softcup, Diva International Inc.
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