Menstrual Cups have been growing in popularity over the last decade, and it’s really no wonder why. Menstrual cups are a safe, sustainable way to manage your cycle. This one cup can last you up to 12 hours, doesn’t offset your vagina’s natural PH and CANNOT cause TSS (toxic shock syndrome).
I read a book called It’s Just Blood, the book goes around the globe and talks to women of all ages about their period experience. I learned many young women prefer (or NEED) to skip school on the days of their menstrual cycle for fear of bleeding through their clothes. This means they skip 3-10 days of learning EVERY month, causing them to fall severely behind on learning and their education. Some use several rags layered underneath to act as a pad, but most don’t risk it. They are taught it’s disgusting, shameful, and they are taught not to be around when they are bleeding.
Personally, I’d like to find a way to get women (and men) around the globe menstrual cups, discs, and education (this one’s for the guys too) about it all. Even in the United States, there are women in poverty or homeless who cannot provide menstrual care for themselves because of how expensive it is.
I recently joined a group on Facebook, it’s an all-female group and one of the recent threads I was active in, was about menstrual options. The woman who made the post was asking for more sustainable options, what the best cup was, and so forth. I responded with my favorite products while simultaneously reading other comments. One woman responded that she has a medium-flow and that she didn’t buy anything before she started her current cycle, she said that she chose to go without and that her period almost knew. If I’m completely honest, which I try to be, I can say I have tried this-not my entire cycle, but a day or a few hours. And it’s almost as if she (my period) knows there is nothing to catch her, and I see less body throughout the day except for when I use the bathroom.
Another woman I recently talked to said that she prefers pads, but they actually give her a rash. She’s allergic to the foam but isn’t comfortable with switching to internal options like a cup or disc. We started talking more and I pointed her in the direction of period undies.
Now let’s talk about our options:
Does anyone else feel like a chicken in a diaper walking around with one of these? Personally speaking, I was not allowed to use tampons for the first couple of years of my period. So pads and panty-liners were my best friend until we had swimming class in tenth grade. Anyways- let’s ditch pads. They’re wasteful, they stick to the wrong places, they never stay at night time, and again...I feel like I’m in a diaper.
I have many friends that care about their carbon footprint and are actively trying to making changes. One friend started using reusable pads, made from cloth. I’m not totally sure how they stay in place, I know some brands have snaps or other closures, but I didn’t ask about hers specifically. I think this is a great option and I believe we could look into using recycled fabric, giving it one more life.
Does anyone else have an embarrassing story about the first time they tried a tampon? I have two…
I was a huge fan of tampons until about 1.5 years ago. I really started to think about the amount of plastic waste I was contributing-so then I began looking into the organic and natural alternatives to my favorite brand. After more research, I found a number of reasons to leave tampons in 2018. Besides the fact that they are overpriced and harmful to the environment, tampons are the lead cause of TSS. The throw off the body’s PH balance. I’ve had friends use organic tampons that feel apart while inside of them. And not to mention, those big-name brands... most of that fiber IS NOT cotton...so, what is it…?
Much like a menstrual cup, a disc sits inside your body. The disc actually sits in a special place, not in the vagina like a cup- so you don’t feel it. And it lasts 12 hours. They’re disposable, but still, contributes 40% less waste than tampons. These are great if you work long shifts, travel, or just can’t commit to a cup right now. I’ve only ever seen one brand on the market, I used these for about a year and never had discomfort or a problem. In fact, one of the first times I wore a disc I was bold and went out for a night with friends in a white skirt with no mishaps.
I don’t know too many brands, but I see ads all the time for underwear with different amounts and layers of absorbency for menstrual blood or weak bladders. Another friend of mine says she loves this option, they last a long time, and they’re easy to clean and take care of. She mentioned they can never go in the dryer, so buyers beware. But it’s another sustainable option for those not comfortable with other options.
What are your favorite options? What do you wish was available?
Here are some brands I know of, have used, or can contribute to the conversation
FLEX: They make cups and discs, available online, in Target & CVS
NIXIT: Menstrual Cups that are shaped, fit, and wear like a disc
THINX: Period proof panties
KNIX: leak-proof panties
LOLA: Organic, safe, plastic-free tampon options
CORA: Organic menstrual care, they offer a cup and applicator free tampons