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For that time of the month, women can choose between tampons or sanitary pads. Both are messy, expensive, bad for the environment and just a pain all around. Could reusable menstrual cups be the perfect alternative?

 

I got my reusable menstrual cup, a Moon Cup, as a gift after my youngest child was born. I breastfed for two years and didn't have a period that whole time, so it was a while before I got the chance to test it out. I was skeptical and saw the cup as a neat experiment that probably wouldn't last long. I am still using it two years later, with great pleasure. I have no desire to ever return to tampons or sanitary pads.

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My biggest worry was that using the Moon Cup would be really messy, and you probably have the same concern. To my great surprise, I actually found that my menstrual cup never leaks, and that taking it out is just as easy as removing a tampon.

The cup has a greater capacity than a tampon or menstrual pad, so more blood can collect inside. Because that blood does not come into contact with air, it doesn't have a nasty odor, though, and the cup can remain inside for longer periods of time. The cup even has measures on it so you know the exact volume of fluids and tissues collected.

It is clear, then, that modern reusable menstrual cups offer a viable alternative to disposable feminine hygiene products, at least for some women. Some distinct advantages of reusable menstrual cups are:

  • The hypoallergenic silicone doesn't irritate your vagina. There are no chemicals, and the vagina's natural pH value is undisturbed. This is in contrast to tampons.

  • They are cost-effective. After your initial purchase of the cup, your periods won't cost you money for at least several years.

  • You no longer have to carry menstrual supplies with you — everything you need is in the right place already!

  • Menstrual cups are environmentally friendly. You won't throw piles of pads or tampons away any longer.

  • You will be able to assess the volume of menstrual fluid, as well as keeping an eye on blood clots or larger tissues. This could be particularly beneficial to women with certain medical conditions.

  • Menstrual fluids absorbed by tampons or menstrual pads are exposed to the air. A chemical reaction occurs that makes everything smell a bit nasty — which is exactly why these conventional sanitary products are perfumed. Fluids collected in a menstrual cup don't smell nasty.

When I first started using a reusable menstrual cup, I was especially impressed by another benefit — menstruation became less painful. I stopped cramping. At first, I thought this change was caused by other factors, so I returned to tampons to see what would happen. The pain and cramping returned. Later on, I read on blogs and discussion boards that many other women noticed the same positive side effect. Note that there is nothing scientific about this observation, though it's logical enough. Reusable menstrual cups contain no chemicals, and do not dry the vagina out, after all. 

If reading about menstrual cups has made you curious enough to try one, do make sure that you purchase the right size. When you receive your cup, read the accompanying instructions thoroughly. There are several ways in which these cups can be inserted and removed, and you will want to experiment a little before settling down to a way that works for you.