I had NOT dared, but it's been something I've been considering for some time now. Challenge accepted!
In fact, my first ever Huffington Post article that I wrote five years ago asked, Are your Tampons Green? While writing the piece I learned that rayon and rayon-cotton blends are widely used in the manufacture of tampons and most sanitary pads contain a blend of chlorine-bleached pulp, polypropylene, polyacrylates and plastic. Why is that bad? Cotton is often treated with pesticides and with it being such an intimate product it should be a larger concern for women.
The average woman will buy more than 12,000 tampons in her lifetime!That’s a lot of waste and money spent. So, although I had switched to healthier chlorine-free options, I didn't tackle the environmental or cost factor, which is why I finally decided to at least try making the switch to a cup made of 100% medical grade silicone, free from toxins, bleaches and perfumes. Basically, period cups collect your flow and can be emptied into the toilet and then can be cleaned and reused again and again.
I simply had to get over my initial ick factor response, but I'm glad that I finally did. Okay so the process is a little gross, but so is inserting and removing tampons. It's just that tampons are more commonplace, but hopefully not for long!
Warning: Last chance, if this topic is making you uncomfortable or grossing you out, here is your chance to stop reading.
Cost-Savings & Eco-Friendly:
- You can use a cup for up to 12 hours.
- Save yourself some money! One cup costs around $30 and lasts up to 10 years. See pricing options listed below.
Buy 1, Give 1
Ruby Cup lives by the "Buy One Give One" program, setting themselves apart as the ONLY and FIRST menstrual cup brand to include a donation to a girl in need for every cup sold. Every cup distributed to a girl in need, in countries like Kenya, includes education on the female anatomy, reproductive health and Ruby Cup usage & hygiene too. So, you can feel even better about making the switch on so many levels.
My Tips for Making the Transition Easier
I'll be honest I was a bit intimidated by the size and durability and stiffness of the medical grade silicone at first, but once I inserted it properly, it didn't hurt.
The first two times I tried placing the cup into position, I didn't have it high enough, so it was quite uncomfortable having it expanded by the opening. I couldn't understand how people online would say they could hardly feel the cup inside them. I was ready to give up, but luckily I didn't.
I tried one more time and found it best to wet the cup with water first for extra glide. Also, I liked the Tulip, punch down, push down fold best and not the C fold. It was also much easier to apply when I was seated on the toilet and not standing. These three added steps were the only way it finally started to work for me. Now, it was in the right place and I could no longer feel it. Also, after a few minutes the silicon warmed and it got even more malleable. Once I figured it out, I felt liberated not having a pad or dry cotton sitting there!
Removing it, um, took a little digging though to relocate the stem, which is kind of awkward. In the beginning, I was also removing it too often when I really didn't need to. I typically have heavy periods, which is why I went on The Pill when I was younger, but found I only had to change the cup twice a day and that in itself was such a relief. Best of all, it didn't leak and didn't feel as uncomfortable when like a tampon is full.
Doesn't sound sanitary? It is! You simply dump the collected contents and rinse with water after each use. Then, once a month you can boil the cup for a full sanitizing.
In fact, it's fresher! There is no smell from using Ruby Cup. Menstrual flow only begins to smell when it begins to oxidize from being exposed to air – as with sanitary pads. When using the cup, the menstrual flow is not exposed to air so you don’t have to worry about emitting an odor.
I'm never going back! Don’t be afraid of change, making the transition from tampons to cups is simple and is a positive choice for your body and your life.
Please note that while I received a free sample of the cup, I was not expected to or planning to originally blog about this. No strings attached (get it?). However, I've been so happy with the switch that I wanted to blog about it despite the TMI.
Besides Ruby Cup, below are other reusable menstrual cup options. I also tried and use the Lunette cup now too. Lunette's flat stem/handle is easier to pull and grip when removing. It comes with a carrying pouch too and the box that it is packaged in is recyclable and compostable. Lunette also makes a cup cleanser and to-go disinfecting and compostable wipes that you should invest in too, no matter what brand cup you use. They also have a starter kit with everything you need to get started.