If you menstruate, or know someone who does, this post is for you. I used to wear tampons and pads during my time of the month, until 3 years ago when a friend introduced me to the idea that something better was out there. In this two part series, I am going to write first on why I chose a menstrual cup, and in part 2 (HERE), I will write about how to use and care for your menstrual cup (should you choose to accept it.) First, a quick explanation: a menstrual cup is a silicone cup that you fold and insert into your vagina when you are menstruating. The cup holds the blood until you remove it, dump the contents into the toilet, wash out, and reinsert. That really is the gist of it!
Why I prefer a menstrual cup – specifically, the DivaCup.
- You can wear the DivaCup for up to 12 hours. The cup holds 1 oz of menstrual blood, and most women only have about 1-2 oz PER CYCLE! No worries about it not being big enough.
- Unlike with tampons, there is no risk for toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with the cup. Therefore:
- …You can wear the cup overnight.
- It is safe enough to wear when you think you might start your period but haven’t yet.
- Cost-effective. One of the main things that drew me away from tampons in the first place: The DivaCup (my cup of choice!) costs about $30 (It is $29.99 + S/H on drugstore.com) and lasts a whole year.
- Tampons (and pads for that matter) contain tons of chemicals to make them absorbent. Who wants chemicals up there?
- Environmentally friendlier, as you are not throwing away a ton of paper, cotton, etc.
- You can track your periods easily with the DivaCup, should you ever need to tell your doctor how much blood you put out monthly. There are measuring lines on the outside.
- In my experience, periods became shorter and lighter with the use of the DivaCup. (Not an FDA approved and evaluated statement, although other women have said the same thing.)
A question I received when sharing with family members about the Diva Cup was a great one – does it have to be fitted by doctor? Nope, this is a cup made of silicone that forms to your body – you can even buy it on the internet. There are 2 sizes, based on your age and whether you have given birth or not. The only things that I think people might not like about the cup is the “ick” factor, public restroom worries, and time constraints. To debunk:
- It can be icky to dump the cup in the toilet (TIP: hold close to the bowl) (blood can be thick and I use toilet paper to clean it out fully) and wash out the cup. There’s no denying that. But, if you ask me, it’s really not that bad. I don’t think it’s much worse than the tampon stuff.
- Public restrooms where there are stalls can be complicated. I read you can bring a bottle of water in to wash out the cup into the toilet if needed. However, given the 12 hours you can keep it in, I have literally never run into this issue.
- Time constraints are the only thing that get to me. Some nights I wear just a pad to bed because I know I’ll be in such a rush the next morning that I won’t have time to remove, wash out, and reinsert the cup. Instead I wake up and put my clean cup in and remove the pad. I can’t debunk this. It takes less time to rip off a pad than to clean out your cup.
Would you use the DivaCup? What would be your reasoning for making the switch?
The opinions stated in this blog post are mine alone. Facts and photo were obtained from http://www.divacup.com.