One of the very first things I did when I arrived in London was hop on to Amazon to order a menstrual cup. If you haven’t heard of menstrual cups before, they are essentially these small silicone cups that fit into the vagina and function to collect your monthly period. It’s similar to a tampon in the sense that it is inserted into the body, but the similarities end there. Menstrual cups are reusable (usually up to two years) and they do not dry up and irritate your vaginal area like tampons tend to do. If you’re interested in reading more about menstrual cups in general, Google is your friend.
So, why switch over to menstrual cups? Well, to answer that I think we need to have a short discussion about the other two methods of “period collection” most women are familiar with: tampons and sanitary pads.
I never really used and liked tampons because they are uncomfortable and just generally strange contraptions. Sanitary pads on the other hand tend to be seen as (ironically) the less sanitary option, plus they produce a lot of waste because they need to be changed so often. Tampons need to be changed out less often but they are still single-use products and they can cause irritation in the body because they sit inside you. They are useful when you need to go for a swim while on your period, though. Pads and tampons are probably the two most common products associated with periods, but there are also cloth pads that function exactly like disposable sanitary pads but can be washed, making them more environmentally friendly — but still very much of a hassle for the user.
So when I first heard of menstrual cups about a year ago, I was very much intrigued by them. A reusable product that’s sanitary, safe for the body, supposedly comfortable, and good for the environment? It sounded too good to be true! Especially since most women just put up with pads and tampons. I certainly never used them with any semblance of enthusiasm. If there exists an option that can ease the discomforts of monthly periods, I want to be using that for sure!