Menstrual Cups: The Environmentally Friendly Solution to Periods

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Menstrual cups are growing in popularity. Being both environmentally and economically friendly, you can see why. One cup will set you back around £20-£30 but will last you 1-5 years, with some even lasting for up to 10 years. That means no more rushing to the shops to buy a box of tampons and/or pads every month, of which the cost adds up quickly, and no more binning several tampons/pads every day, which is bad for the environment. Buying a menstrual cup was an easy decision for me to make and I haven’t looked back since.

I bought mine from Lunette several months ago after taking a quiz that told me the best one for me (there really is a lot of choice out there).  They had a limited edition offer with Monki where, for £2 more (so £26 total), you could buy their bright pink one and Monki would also give one to a girl in Africa, which was another easy choice. It even came with a cute bag that says ‘Periods are cool. Period.’ to store it in.

When it arrived I was, for the first time, excited for my period to start just so I could try this new product. However, faced with the daunting process of actually inserting it, my excitement started to fade. I know the vagina obviously expands that much, and further, but wow do menstrual cups seem big when you have to precariously balance on a toilet, fold the cup into a C and try to push it up there. But, once it’s there, you cannot feel it. Not even slightly. Unlike when you insert a tampon, which can feel a bit funny and can make you painfully aware of its presence, and certainly not like pads, which can make you feel a bit like you’re just sat in your own blood, if it wasn’t for the cramps, I wouldn’t have even known I was on my period.

Getting used to it was tricky. Learning that on my heaviest day I have to remove the cup more often than the usual 8-12 hours was a messy process and I still wear liners on those days just in case. I’ve dropped the very bloody cup on more than one occasion, and the process can certainly make your hands look like you’ve committed a gruesome murder. But, as it’s your own blood, it doesn’t feel that gross at all, and it is definitely worth it.

Since the cup is usually silicone (mine is at least) you can wear it until the last day of your period, so there’s no more painful grating of your insides when you insert a cotton tampon into a too-dry vagina.

I survived my English summer ball with this cup, confident that with the extra security of a liner there was going to be no leakage. I even went swimming with it in recently and didn’t think twice about it potentially leaking.

Every time you use it, you rinse it before you reinsert it to prevent staining. Once your period is over, you just boil it in some water to sanitise it and then away it goes until the next month.

If you’re worried about having to change it in a public bathroom, don’t be. The 8-12 hour recommended change time means it’s unlikely you will ever have to – just insert it in the morning, then take it out and replace it at night. However, if you do ever have to, just take a bottle of water with you to rinse the cup and your hands and you’ll be fine. No more rushing to the bathroom to change your tampon or pad, which don’t hold as much liquid as the cup. Plus, there’s less risk of infections. It really is a win-win if you ask me. I have had mine for five cycles now and I can honestly say I will never go back to tampons and pads.

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2019/2020 Travel Editor, third year English with psychology student with a love for travel and giraffes.

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