Here’s the thing about tampons: For 17 years, I totally thought they were the best solution for my period. That all changed when I started using a menstrual cup. Sure, tampons were better than the pads I used for the first year or so of my period. But they also dried out my vagina, tore my vaginal wall on light days, leaked on heavy days, were smelly, and were generally terrible. Oh, and let’s not even talk about how not fun it is to have pee-soaked strings in your underwear when you forget to hold them out of the way when you pee. Plus toxic shock syndrome. Plus the environmental impact of all of those tampons and their packaging.
But when I started using a menstrual cup, I realized that things could be better — way better. Made of medical grade silicone, menstrual cups are an excellent solution for people who want a more sustainable, healthier solution for managing their periods. It’s a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to insert it — and it’s going to be different for every body — but once you get it, it’s set it and forget it. I love not having to worry about changing it every few hours, the way I had to with tampons. I empty it in the morning when I wake up and again in the evening before bed and in between, I don’t even think about it.
I’m definitely a menstrual cup convert, which is why I’m excited to share this massive giveaway that Menstrual cup brand Intimina is doing. In honor of World Menstrual Hygiene Day — which is May 28 — they’re giving away 1,000 Lily Cup Compacts to 500 pairs of best friends. All you have to do to join the menstrual cup movement (and it is a movement — Intimina alone reports sales growth of more than 700 percent in the past year) is sign up here. They’ll be announcing the winners on June 21.
I also like that by using a menstrual cup, I’m dramatically reducing the environmental impact of my period. Intimina calculated that the average woman will use 12,000 tampons over the course of her lifetime. Apparently that equals three times the height of the Empire State Building, if those tampons were placed to end-to-end. Multiply that by the nearly 126 million women in the United States alone and that’s a lot of waste.
Plus, tampons come with so much packaging. During my tampon years, I did try to use ones with cardboard applicators or no applicators but I’m not gonna lie: I fell for that “pearl” packaging too sometimes. Also, every tampon is individually wrapped in plastic or paper, plus they’re all packed into a box together. In comparison, a menstrual cup comes in a small box only when you first buy it and some of them can last up to 10 years! (Although others only last a year or two — it just depends on the brand and how well you care for it.) That’s it! That’s all the waste it produces!
And let’s talk a little bit about the Lily Cup Compact. This new style of menstrual cup launched on Kickstarter and was wildly successful — not surprising when you check out the design. The Lily boasts that they’re the only menstrual cup that can be rolled as small as a cigarette, making them easy to insert, and the Lily Cup Compact is collapsible for super easy storage. It’s stored in a sweet little compact so you can carry it around easily.
Ladies? And other folks with periods? Consider it. You won’t look back.