It feels pretty strange to write about menstrual cups or anything period related on the internet, but here I am. Truth be told, I find myself having to hold back in public whenever I hear someone talking about pads or tampons, because really, I just want to tell them there's a better way. I've been using a menstrual cup for almost a year now, and honestly, there's no turning back. I can't even conceive wanting to wear a tampon or a pad ever again, they just seem so uncomfortable and unnecessarily expensive compared to menstrual cups.
I finally decided to give menstrual cups a try after years of thinking of them as strange, and I’m so glad that I did. Partially because of the convenience, partially because they’re cheaper than tampons and pads, and also because the older I get, the more weary I become of chemicals in products and adding the risk of cancer to my body. For the past few years I had already grown more suspicious about the ingredients used in feminine products and had switched to organic products in an effort to be more health conscious. It might have to do with my husband working in cancer genetics and reading articles like this one from Time Magazine, but I figure it's better to try to lead as healthy of a lifestyle as possible anyway.
The one thing I didn't consider that has become my biggest reason for using menstrual cups over pads & tampons is the sheer convenience. Seriously, they're so simple. I pop it in the morning when I expect my period and can leave it in ALL DAY. Yup, up to 12 hours. Of course there are days where you might have to change it more frequently than that, but even the fact that it is an option is remarkable, and without a warning for Toxic Shock Syndrome, too. This means no extra trips to the bathroom during your work day, no having to leave class for fear of leaking, and no having to ask around for tampons (or worse yet, have to buy one from the nasty machine in a public restroom, God willing it's not out of order). When I travel, I just throw it in a small cloth bag and put it in my toiletries. It's such a simple and easy way to deal with that time of the month, I really can't imagine doing anything else at this point.
In order to find the right fit (apparently there are more brands and fits than just the Diva Cup) I watched a bunch of youtube videos done by a young British woman named Byrony who seems to be the menstrual cup guru. In her videos she goes over fit, flows, and sizes--and you'll learn things about your body you never knew! I chose a two pack of medical grade silicone cups called the Fleur Cup and love them, because not only are they from France, but they were two for under $25 which is what I would have spent on feminine products in the past 6 months alone. As soon as I got the hang of folding it, I realized it wasn't all that much bigger than a tampon when folded up. You insert it the same as you would a tampon, you gently rotate it to unfold it, creating a tight seal that is truly leakproof.
To remove it, you simply grab a hold of the little handle at the bottom, and empty it directly into the toilet. I purchased a 2 pack so I switch to a new one, then rinse my used one in the sink and then boil it quickly on the stove top. I really got the hang of using menstrual pads within my first month of use, and truly I haven't used a pad or tampon since. In fact, I don't think I'll ever go back to tampons or pads. I spent around $24 to get two (one large and one medium) but the one I've linked to here is one cup for less than $14, consider that a few months worth of tampons that will last you years!
Of course, there are so many green reasons to switch to a menstrual cup--less waste is always a good thing, but for me, I'm in it for the convenience. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!
Let me know if you make the switch!
P.S. In case this help, this Quiz is also a good resource to help you figure out which cup would fit you best. I tried it, but in the end I went with the information I found on YouTube.