Usually I don't do this (R, Kelly Voice) but, we're going to get personal. There's been a lot of talk recently about reproductive health, Planned Parenhood + government funding, and basically we've been fighting over our ovaries for decades now, and it's more complicated than ever before. Let's leave politics aside for a moment and talk about something that every woman from 13 to 49 deals with every 30 or so days: the period.
If you have a period, and it comes regularly, congratulations. Your body is doing exactly what it's supposed to do! It's not always pleasant, or fun, or enjoyable at all, but it does mean that we're healthy and things are as they should be. So bless up for that. Recently, I've been hearing about the infamous Diva Cup and my ears perked. In full transparency, when I found out what it was / does I thought it sounded terrifying and impractical.
So, why try it anyway?
Tampons are bad for you. They are. They're expensive (7€-9€ a box). They're bad for the environment and create unnecessary waste. The most commercial brands are coated in all sorts of bleach and chlorine. (so are pads, but that's another article!) The FDA does not regulate tampon production as closely as they should, so Lord knows what we're shoving up there every month! They also have to be changed every 5 hours or so, or you put yourself at risk for toxic shock syndrome (which can be fatal) Yikes! I knew that I wasn't at the stage where I wanted to purchase organic tampons based on price, practicality and convenience, but I did want a change.
After reading this piece on the subject by The Blog Abroad, and seeing a few of my favorite healthy bloggers discuss the "cup" I thought it was worth a try. More importantly, I have no intention to keep bleach stained cotton near my uterus for the next 30 years, y'all.
How does it work?
It's a medical-grade silicone cup. It's flexible and light-weight and it comes in two sizes: small and large. Large is for women with a really heavy flow, or who have given birth. There is a brim around the cup that acts as sort of a safe-guard and conforms to your body to catch all the fun stuff that would normally be absorbed by a tampon or pad. You can keep them in for up to 12 hours, and there's no documented risk for toxic shock or negative side effects. There's a ridged tail that extends out below the cup that help you to pull it out when it's time to change it. If you have a hard time reaching it, just use those muscles and push a bit so that you can reach the tail easier. Before using the cup, boil it for 3-5 minutes, wash your hands, crouch down and prepare to feel like a deer trying to walk for the first time.
It's awkward and slightly uncomfortable to put in the first couple of times, but once you get it in properly, you'll feel like you've just completed an Iron Man competition. It takes practice, and a bit of persevearance even. I felt like giving up several times. Real talk. But I kept reminding myself that easier isn't always better. If you know better, you have to do better.
Here are my final thoughts on it all:
You'll Save Money
In the end, you save money. The cup can cost between 25 and 30 euros, but they last from 1 to 10 years if properly taken care of. How many pads and tampons will 30 euro get you? Maybe a 3 month supply?
If you're on a 12 hour flight to Australia, do you really want to have to worry about changing your tampon not once, but twice? You can insert the cup, and then leave it alone for up to 12 hours! That's a workday and a drink with friends after you leave the office.
You'll Have a Laugh
Ask my husband. Or don't, cause that's weird. But I laughed and cried tears of triumphant joy when I finally got the hang of it. But before that moment there were lots of "OH my GOD!" and "Ahh! What is happening?" and "I quit! This is a conspiracy, my vagina hates me!" coming from the bathroom. Fun times.
Your uterus deserves better.
Bleach, chorine and pesticides have no business near our business. See what I did there? Take care of your body, and don't put it through any unncessary risks.
It's great for travelers, or for women who simply can't be bothered to worry about tampons every couple of hours. It's also great for any woman who wants to take the first steps away from harsh chemicals.
Have you tried a menstrual cup yet? Share your funny stories, or tips below!
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.