What is a menstrual cup? By now, many of you may have caught on as they’ve become more popular over the past few years. If you haven’t, no need to worry! I was there at one point, too. A menstrual cup is a reusable silicone cup (make sure it’s medical-grade silicone) that is better for your health, the environment, and your wallet. The cup is to be inserted into the vagina to collect blood, (rather than absorbing it) during menstruation. Once full, it is to be emptied out into the toilet or drain. Rinse. Repeat.
If you’re already feeling skeptical, you’re going through the same steps that most of us do. Just keep reading! *ATTENTION MEN!!!! Don’t feel that this post isn’t for you. This is good information to have for any woman in your life that you care about. I may not have started using one as early as I did without the thoughtfulness of my husband. You keep reading, too!
I’ve been very vocal about my experiences and love for menstrual cups ever since I started using one two and a half years ago. During this time, I’ve learned that there are typically five stages to discovering the menstrual cup.
I, too, went through these movements. For me, it was when my friend Jessa and I were taking a break from the Coachella 2014 festivities and were chilling at our campsite. One of our camping neighbors mentioned that she was going to go empty out her DivaCup.
This was the first time I had ever heard of a menstrual cup and I asked very few questions. To be honest, it totally grossed me out (Can we all just stop being grossed out by periods?). When she explained to me how it worked, I just couldn’t imagine why I would want to do that. I was too accustomed to the convenience of my tampons absorbing the blood and pulling them out with a string. I handled the information very immaturely and wasn’t even considering how much healthier it would be for both my body and the environment.
I had been using organic tampons that I’d purchased from Whole Foods. But let’s be honest, that was WAY too expensive to keep up with. Regular toxic tampons were expensive enough as it was. Forty dollars a year for a cup to take care of my flow sounded too good to be true, so I took it upon myself to do the research. I absolutely loved what I was finding, but was still a bit too skeptical to make the change. After all, I had been using tampons for 6+ years.
I had told Manuel all about what I had found. Several months passed and he surprised me with my very first diva cup for valentine’s day (and has done so every year since)! Honestly, this is the most thoughtful gift I’d ever received. Take note, all of you!
I couldn’t wait to get my next period! Strange right? I can say with confidence that I had never felt that way before. My periods came and went and I couldn’t have been happier once I got used to it. Now, I cannot stop talking about it! There’s honestly no going back once you start!
Now, let’s get to the environmental impact…
Think about all of the waste involved with tampons/pads. Think about how many you personally go through on average during each period. Think about all of the materials that go into it. THINK ABOUT ALL OF THE PLASTIC/CARDBOARD APPLICATORS. Multiply that by each woman using these products. Now… think about Earth.
Using a menstrual cup is a great way to reduce your eco-footprint. We have all heard “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but we don’t always think to apply it to something so customary. We’ve been taught from a very early age to go to the store and purchase tampons. It is the norm for so many women. It was once mine as well, but once I started my conscious living journey, I began questioning everything and opened my mind.
Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also so much better for your health! The DivaCup and other cups like it are chemical free, reduce your risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), and are made with medical grade silicone. Unless you have an extremely rare allergy to silicone, you have nothing to worry about.
“(The DivaCup) Does not contain any of the following: latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene, and free of colors and dyes” –DivaCup.com
How freaking great is that?!
Because of how much I truly love this method, I am constantly talking about it. With all of that talk comes a lot of questions from my peers.
How does it feel?
It doesn’t. Once you get it in there the right way, it’s absolutely unnoticeable! Keep in mind that if you feel it, it’s probably not inserted correctly and you’ll need to do some readjusting.
How do you insert the cup correctly?
FIRST OFF: Please remember to wash your hands first. From there, there are a few different techniques for inserting the cup, and it all depends on you. Because all vaginas are DIFFERENT! Don’t forget it.
How long can you keep it in for?
Try not to go more than twelve hours without emptying and cleaning it out! DivaCup states a twelve-hour leak-free protection and I usually stick to that. This means you can enjoy worry-free nights of sleep. Who doesn’t want that?
What happens if I need to empty it in a public restroom?
Because of the twelve-hour leak-free protection, I’ve actually never found myself needing to empty in a public restroom. It’s very easy to make it home for the change because I’m hardly ever away from home for more than that. But if you do find yourself in that situation, I’d recommend using stalls that have a sink inside of it to keep it a private matter.
Does it leak?
After two and a half years of use, I’d say I’m an insert pro. I can tell immediately if it doesn’t feel in place at this point but wasn’t always that good at it. I did have some minor leaking at the very beginning simply because I didn’t put the cup in right. This is very common and can be caused by a few different factors. Don’t let this scare you though! I promise you it is 100% worth figuring it out and working through it. Let’s not act like leaking never happened with tampons either. I believe in you. You can do this.
If you do find that it’s still leaking, you can try a different size, or even a different brand (such as the Lunette or Lily Cup). I’d say it’s worth not giving up on right away.
Can I work out with the cup in?
Yes! Absolutely. I’ve personally never leaked during a workout with my cup in. As long as I’m not cramping, I sometimes forget that I’m even on my period.
How do I clean it?
It’s super easy to clean. The DivaCup offers its own plant-based wash, but I’ve always just used whichever plant-based/natural soap I have at home with no issues. After each cycle, I also toss it in some boiling water to sanitize it. That last step should absolutely not be skipped. Hygiene is important.
How much is it?
ONLY $40 PEOPLE!!!!! Think about how much money you are spending on tampons and/or pads a month. This is a once a year purchase and you never have to worry about running to the store last-minute when your period arrives. How great is that?
Where can I get it?
I personally have always purchased mine at Whole Foods but you can find it at most health stores and even places like Target and CVS now. You can also purchase online.
How long does it last?
Many of the companies recommend replacing the cup annually, but it could last for years if properly taken care of. I personally feel better replacing it every year.
If you have any other questions, you can always reach out to me for my experience and I’d be happy to help you out! I’d also recommend checking out the FAQs on various company’s websites or contacting them for their expert opinions.
I understand that changing your routine can be undesired, but think about how you may have felt changing from pads to tampons. If you’re one of those women, there’s a good chance you were skeptical then, too. With that being said, consider an even better change!
I highly recommend trying it out for yourselves. I believe you’ll find yourselves wishing you’d given it a shot sooner. As I mentioned, you’ll be doing your health, your comfort, your wallet, and the environment a favor.
For more resources check out a few of the top brands:
Still not interested? Check out shethinx.com. I’ve never personally tried them but I’ve spoken to women who swear by them.
Follow me on Instagram @sentientjewel!