Looking for the best menstrual cup? Or, are you just hearing about menstrual cups for the first time and wondering “why would anyone use that thing!?”
That’s what I first thought when I first started wondering about menstrual cups.
So what got me on the road to reviewing and figuring out the best menstrual cup? Two words:
Let’s talk about menstruation.
(Hear that? That was the sound of the last guy leaving the room. Finally, now it’s just us girls.)
I’m going to be honest. As “hippie” and “nature-lovin’” as I am, I really hate that time of the month. I’m not one of those poetic types who wistfully recite the beauties of the menstrual cycle… you know, how it connects me to the rhythms of nature, or how “cleansing” it is, or any of that flowery garbage. And while I am very sensitive to the fact that there are women out there who, for whatever reason, struggle to maintain or have a regular period (for which I’m truly sorry), for me it’s still a somewhat harsh reality every time my period starts.
So with that in mind, I use to do what most women in our society do, I kept my Cousin Red a private matter. I don’t enjoy talking about it. I don’t enjoy thinking about it. So why on earth am I writing a very public post about it!?
Because, something changed. Several years ago I found myself forced upon information that I didn’t want to know and now I can’t unlearn it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up a bit.
My not so green period.
I’ve made some major strides over the past several years to “greenify” my life. It’s been a gradual process. I’ve tried not to go crazy or stress too much about these changes. I’ve told myself “baby steps” the entire time. But I always had a mental list of the things that would eventually replace the garbage I didn’t want in my life. From real food to ditching toxic chemicals – I’ve been on quite the health journey these past six or so years.
And still, it took me a long time to confront the one thing that I really didn’t want to change: My period.
Sure, I knew that tampons and disposable pads weren’t really eco-friendly. I mean, the average North American woman goes through more than 11,000 feminine products in her lifetime. And that more than 20 billion feminine hygiene products are flushed (they wreak havoc on pipes and plumbing by the way) or tossed annually… that’s more than baby diapers!
And if pressed, I would probably relent to the fact that there were much more healthy and less toxic ways of treating my period.
I was also well aware of more expensive, organic, chlorine-free disposable products. I knew some women who even use reusable pads or those weird menstrual cups. Yeah, I wasn’t going to go there.
I just didn’t want to deal with these things. I didn’t want to give up my perceived convenience. I didn’t want make this unwanted monthly visitor any more of a hassle, or mess, or expense than it already was.
But there’s no going back….
(Here is my warning to you: If you don’t want to change and continue living in ignorance, don’t read on. I won’t blame or judge you. Promise.)
I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it. Probably facebook. It was probably one of the “all-natural-hippie-lovin’” pages that I follow who posted something. But regardless, I came across an article where I saw this picture:
Hey, guess what!? That’s mold! On your tampon!!
MOLD! In a brand-new tampon! You know, the thing you shove up your “inner-most femininity” and keep it there for several hours. The place in your body with some of the most delicate and absorbent tissue!
I just sat there and stared at the photo, wishing I hadn’t seen it. Wishing I could go back to my blissful (but not-so-green) ways. But I couldn’t. Before I knew it I was stirring up an online storm, searching for ways to help my body (and the planet). Tampons are toxic, and maybe it was time to say goodbye.
In a flurry of fear I began researching. Maybe my tampons weren’t that bad. Maybe I could get by with a simple switch to a non-applicator version so I could always see the thing before inserting it.
Bad move, Robin. Bad move.
Instead of reassurance I learned the following about tampons:
- Most tampons are made from a cotton or rayon-cotton blend. Rayon is a synthetic fiber that is made from wood pulp. It is highly absorbent.
- Conventionally grown cotton may have been bio-engineered and most likely grown with a mess of pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides.
- Both of these fibers undergo a bleaching process before being made into tampons and even though this process has been improved to try and eliminate dioxins, trace levels are still being found.
What are Dioxins? I’m glad you asked:
Dioxins are an environmental pollutant and known carcinogenic by product of bleaching and manufacturing processes. It is now being found in our soil, air and water. According to the FDA, this may explain how rayon and cotton may always contain some dioxin. Some groups think even the improved bleaching techniques may contribute to some of the dioxins. Of course, the FDA says that levels of dioxin are so low there is no a cause for concern. But some doctors and others are not so sure. The concern is in the cumulative effect of even tiny amounts of dioxins coming into contact month after month with a very delicate part of our body.
Rayon is another tampon danger. Derived from wood pulp, it is also commonly chlorine-bleached and therefore may contain dioxins. Tiny fibers are often left behind in the vagina, causing, at the very least, irritation, and possibly more. Because rayon is so absorbent, women may leave tampons in longer than they ideally should, opening the door for bacterial growth and toxic shock syndrome.
Hmmm… this was not what I wanted to hear.
Finally, I gave in to my situation. I knew I wasn’t alone in thinking tampons are bad. Defeated by the information in front of me, I started looking up “safer” option. Here’s where my sleuthing skills took me:
My first instinct was to check out organic, chlorine free tampons (like these ones). This was definitely a better alternative. But honestly, I just couldn’t get the image of a landfill full of my monthly waste out my mind. Nor did I really want to spend more money than I already was on such an annoying part of being a woman. Next.
I read up a little bit on reusable organic cotton pads. Despite the fact that lots of women seem to enjoy these products, I just couldn’t let go of the idea of a more messy monthly experience. It seemed like more laundry and more dealing with that gross stuff that I could previously just toss away. Plus, I hate wearing pads. They feel like women diapers that often make me question every move I make for fear of leaking my woman goods to the world. I especially couldn’t handle the thought of using them throughout the night. No thank you.
I stopped looking for a bit. To be honest, I was scared. Frightened by where this new information and research was taking me. I knew what was going to happen. I just didn’t want to go there, yet. I needed a break.
I got up, did some yoga. Breathed in some clean air. And pictured myself in a happy place.
All that body lovin’ goodness just pushed me over the edge. And before I knew it was reading hundreds of menstrual cup reviews looking for the best menstrual cup.
Long story short – I now stand before you; a changed woman.
Ladies, I have greenified my period!
You know what? It wasn’t so bad. Or expensive. Or messy. On the contrary, it was good, more economical, and cleaner!
In fact, I love it.
Seriously. Hear me out.
The Best Menstrual Cup
I’ll get to some tips for picking out the best menstrual cup in a minute. But really, the best menstrual cup is the one you use. The best menstrual cup is the one that fits you and gets you to start seeing menstrual cups as awesome.
Because they are awesome.
Benefits of Menstrual Cups:
- Nothing to throw away meaning it’s way eco-friendly
- No risk of TSS
- No toxic materials getting absorbed by my precious female tissue
- No threat of moldy surprises
- One time cost since it will last for years (hello extra $$$ in my wallet!)
- You can wear it for 8 – 12 hours before starting over
- You can sleep easily, move freely
- Will not encourage bacterial transfer from the anal area as pads can
- Does not dry the vaginal wall or interrupt the natural lubrication process
That’s a pretty awesome list, don’t you think? It sure is! But I couldn’t get past the thought of sticking a cup up you-know-where.
Here’s the thing: I read review after review and everyone seemed to like their experience with the cup. The one thing I kept reading was “give it time. Give it three months and you will love it.”
So I did it. After researching brands, sizes, and softness factors I decided that the best menstrual cup for me was a Lunette – like this one.
The most popular menstrual cups is the DivaCup (which I tried, but found it a bit too bulky for me) which you can find here.
I found this guide super useful in helping me determine the best menstrual cup for me. I highly recommend reading through it to find the best menstrual cup for you.
Now that you’ve found the best menstrual cup – it’s time to use it.
When my cup came in the mail I ignored it for a week. My husband was all sorts of funny telling me “congrats” on my purchase. I finally pulled the thing out of the box, sterilized it, and secretly hoped that my period wouldn’t come so I wouldn’t have to try it. I didn’t have a lot of faith that this would be a good fit for me.
“I’m going to try it for three months before I finally give up and hate it. I know I will hate it.” This is what I told my husband.
Friday the 13th.
Wouldn’t you know it…. my monthly visitor came on Friday the 13th. Yippee. Thankfully the night before I had researched different folds for said cup. I came across my favorite, the origami fold. (gulp) Here goes nothing….
There were birds all around, but I never heard them singing….
…no I never heard them at all til’ there was youuuuuuuu!
Wow! Guess what? It wasn’t as bulky or awkward as I thought it would be. It was way easier than I had prepared myself for. By the second day it was a no-brainer. I love this thing! No seriously, I do!
Why I think menstrual cups are the best:
It’s cleaner. (This surprised me).
I wore it for 10 hours at night with no problem.
In fact, it was a whole lot nicer than my tampons. You can wear it on heavy days or light days. For me, I had way less leaking problems than with tampons
An unexpected side effect
Another thing I noticed was that I didn’t experience my normal cramping or bloating. My period was lighter and shorter than usual. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the product, but I did read other reviewers who noticed similar things.
To top off my whole experience, it will save me money and help me save the planet! All of a sudden I didn’t feel like I was compromising my health or my convenience. Am I in love my period now? No. Still glad to see it end. BUT I am be glad I saw that moldy tampon. I don’t usually like change that is motivated by fear, but in this case it ended up getting me on a better road.
What about you? Would you (or do you) use a menstrual cup? What do you think? What questions do you have about it? What do you think the best menstrual cup is?