What is a menstrual cup?
Have you heard of Diva cups and reusable pads?
Why on earth would someone want to stick one of these things “up THERE”?
Nine years ago when my third child was one and my cycle returned I tried a diva cup for the first time. I was in the early stages of my natural living journey and wanting to remove as many toxins from our lives as possible. I hated using tampons and after hearing about my stepmom’s friend who died of Toxic Shock Syndrome I was also a little afraid of the possible consequences (we’ve all forgotten and left them in way too long). Plastic pads are so uncomfortable, hot, expensive and fill the landfills so I was tired of them too.
What’s wrong with traditional pads and tampons?
- Tampons and pads are full of chemicals both from the materials used (plastics) and the way they are processed. “Manufacturers of tampons and sanitary pads are not required to disclose the ingredients used because feminine hygiene products are considered “medical devices.” 1 Conventional pads may contain the equivalant of 4 plastic bags as well as dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives 2
- The consequences of exposure: Yeast infections, cancer, hormone issues, asthma, developmental issues, etc.
From Dr Mercola’s site,
“…plasticizing chemicals like BPA and BPS disrupt embryonic development and are linked to heart disease and cancer. Phthalates — which give paper tampon applicators that smooth feel and finish — are known to disregulate gene expression, and DEHP may lead to multiple organ damage. Besides crude oil plastics, conventional sanitary pads can also contain a myriad of other potentially hazardous ingredients, such as odor neutralizers and fragrances. Synthetics and plastic also restrict the free flow of air and can trap heat and dampness, potentially promoting the growth of yeast and bacteria in your vaginal area.” (source)
“…research shows fragranced feminine care products may raise a woman’s exposure to phthalates, a class of suspected endocrine disrupters some research has linked to developmental issues like lower IQs and higher rates of asthma.” So if nothing else, avoid the fragranced options and choose fragrance-free and avoid other fragranced products like washes, douches and powders.” (source)
- To get pads and tampons white they are bleached. The chemicals used which may collect in the body, contribute to abnormal cell growth (cancer), disrupt the endocrine and hormonal systems and inhibit the immune system
What are the benefits of Menstrual cups?
- No chemicals. Most menstrual cups are made of either silicon or natural latex rubber. Both of these materials are completely safe, do not leach chemicals into the body or the environment (obviously if you have a latex allergy choose a silicone cup)
- They are reusable and will literally last years before its recommended they be replaced.
- You will SAVE MONEY because your $30-40 investment will last years.
- You can leave them in 12 hours or more on light days with no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome or any other negative side effects.
- They are much more comfortable to wear than tampons and pads!
- No waste, less filling up landfills with plastic that will be there for centuries.
What are the drawbacks of menstrual cups?
- There is a learning curve. There just is. It can be awkward and honestly … messy. You need to be ok with sticking something up there and sometimes getting blood on your hands (ew, I know. But it’s ok, you can handle it). You get the process down though and then its fast, easy and not messy at all.
- If you have extremely heavy cycles they can leak. I’ve always had to wear a pad the first 2 days, although now I use reusable cloth pads which are a million times more comfortable! I can feel when I need to change them so I usually don’t need the pad but it’s there in case I can’t get to the bathroom right away. However, I always had the same issues with wearing tampons too.
How to use a menstrual cup:
- Always wash your hands before inserting or removing your menstrual Cup. If I’m out of the house I’ll at least spray my hands with On Guard hand spray prior if a sink is not available.
- Sit on toilet or do a deep squat. Fold in half (see pic below) and hold on the top half so it doesn’t pop back open. Insert until tip is completely inside and release. Some recommend you turn it before releasing but I never do that (follow instructions for the one you purchase)
- Use some toilet paper to grasp the end of the tip and pull out. Wrap the toilet paper around it to clean off any blood and empty into toilet.
- If you are able to rinse it before re-inserting that’s ideal but not necessary. If unable to rinse simply wipe off with the toilet paper and reinsert once you are finished and have wiped. You should have minimal blood on your hands.
- Wash your hands afterwards as well (of course!)
Travel TIP: Carry a bottle of water bottle in your purse when you are away from the house so you can rinse if needed, wash your hands, etc.
Does it hurt to wear a Diva cup?
No. Not at all if you’ve put it in correctly. I told you there was a learning curve, so expect to have to try a few times. But once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. If it feels uncomfortable then try removing and reinserting it. Some women need to trim down the tip for comfort.
Can the menstrual cup get lost up there???
No. No worries! It will come out.
What about cloth pads?
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try these. Seriously they are SO comfortable!!! I wear mine as back-up to my Diva cup on the first 2 days of my period so they rarely get blood on them but if they do I just rinse well and wash on hot with a towel load or even alone in a small load. Whatever you feel more comfortable with. You can red about care instructions from the company you buy from. I bought mine from Lunapads.com which are the gold standard. They also sell Diva cups and have some great package deals.
Have you used a Diva cup or cloth pads? Share your experiences and tips below! Here’s to happy, healthy, toxin-free periods!
Have questions? Need help deciding whats best for you?
Email me [email protected] and I’ll be in touch very soon. Happy oiling! I look forward to working with you!