Why Should I Use A Menstrual Cup? 5 Reasons To Switch To This Eco-Friendly Period Product

The topic of menstruation has long been considered taboo, but now more than ever before, people are starting to openly talk about their period and reproductive health. One of the conversation folks are having is about all the different types of menstrual products there are available to try, and which ones are the best. One of the most underrated products out there are menstrual cups — small, flexible silicone cups for your period that are commonly made of silicone, rubber, or latex. Menstrual cups have been around since the 19th century: The first ever menstrual cup prototype was called a catamenial sack (...ew), and patented in the 1860s. However, the modern day version of the cup was designed in 1937 by American actress Leona Chalmers. Odd history aside, menstrual cups have only become popularized and considered a mainstream menstrual product in recent years. Though changing up the type of period product you use may feel strange at first, many people who use menstrual cups rant and rave about them.

Menstrual cups are a pretty cool idea, but may not be the right period product for everybody. Some sexual assault survivors can be triggered by potential vaginal discomfort, which is possible with menstrual cups, and medical conditions, such as an imperforate hymen, can prevent people from using insertable products. However, if you can and want to make the change to menstrual cups, you may never use a tampon or pad again. Here are the top five reasons to make the switch to menstrual cups.

They are better for your vaginal health

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Many menstrual products are chock full of chemicals meant to neutralize period odor, but those same chemicals can pose serious health risks to the people using them. One study shows that vaginal skin, because it is so thin, can easily absorb toxic chemicals from tampons and cause issues such as abnormal tissue growth, disruption to embryonic development, and yeast infections. On the other hand, menstrual cups show no correlation to Toxic Shock Syndrome, and the material they are made of has antibacterial properties. Vaginal health is extremely important, so why jeopardize it during your period? The fewer chemicals, the better.

Less leakage means less distraction

Your period is natural, but shouldn’t be disrupting your day with constant fear of leakage. Most menstrual cup users say the product provides leakage protection for 6 to 12 hours, while tampons and pads are supposed to be changed every 3 to 4 hours. Though some folks may have to empty their menstrual cup before the 12 hour mark, they are still a better option than traditional menstrual products for those with heavy flows. The Ruby Cup, another popular menstrual cup brand, has triple the capacity when compared to “ultra” or “super” tampons.

They will save you money

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A 2015 research project found that Americans will spend an average of $1,733.33 on tampons in their lifetimes, and thousands of dollars more on period-related items like panty liners, new underwear due to stains, medication, and more. Making the switch to menstrual products may not only make you happier, but also your bank account. Most menstrual cups, like the popular DivaCup, cost around $30 to $40. DivaCup recommends users keep their product for about a year, but acknowledge that "ultimately, it is up to the consumer to decide when it is necessary to replace the cup." That can add up to some pretty significant savings over the course of a lifetime.

They are way more eco-friendly than other menstrual products

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It’s difficult to conceptualize the environmental impact tampons and pads have when you throw away one at a time, but it suggested that menstruating folks use between 5,000 and 14,000 tampons in their lifetime. According to a study done by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American is expected to produce around 62,415 pounds (!!!) of menstrual garbage. By switching to a menstrual cup, you can dramatically decrease your ecological footprint.

Menstrual cups take into account people with all kinds of needs

As someone with endometriosis, I've always struggled to find tampons or pads that can accommodate my ever changing menstrual health needs — like the random heaviness of my flow, cramping, and constant discomfort from inserting new tampons. Menstrual cups are generally one-size-fits-all because they are flexible, but some companies offer varying sizes. There are even menstrual cups specifically made for people after childbirth.

All-in-all, menstrual cups are a great option if your tampons and pads just aren't cutting it anymore. Comfort during your period is key to conquering it, and menstrual cups are a super comfortable option — for your vagina, for your wallet, and for the earth. They may just be the period product for you.