Why I Switched from Tampons to a Menstrual Cup

Hi friends!

You’re here because you want some knowledge on this topic and I’M SO HAPPY! The more we talk about this stuff and normalise it, the better! Periods should not be something we are ashamed of or shy away from talking about.  You guys really liked my article about why I decided to break up with my birth control pill, which you can read here, that I wanted to share more personal details with you in hopes that I can help anyone by sharing my experience or even to start that conversation with your doctor, partner or family and of course give you a review of the Diva Cup, which is the menstrual cup I use.

So I’ll admit this although it’s quite embarrassing… I was silly and thought that tampons were FLUSHABLE because they were just compact toilet paper – duh. Oh boy was I so wrong!

Here are some facts about Tampons:

  1. Tampons are made from a mix of cotton, rayon and polyester and use fragrance (in the scented variety).
  2. It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton (equivalent to 1 shirt or pair of jeans).
  3. Only 2.4% of the world’s crop land is planted with cotton but it accounts for 24% of the global sales of insecticide and 11% of the global sales of pesticides. Cotton is one of the most sprayed crops.
  4. It can take 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow one pound of raw cotton in the United States. (ps. That ratio alone is terrifying.)
  5. Most of these crops are GMO varieties so they can be resistant to pests.

When I found out that Cotton was one of the dirtiest crops, I decided to do some digging to see what my alternatives were.  There were organic tampons, some which came with no applicator so I have no idea how people manage to get them up there because I’ve never been able to or menstrual cups.  The most popular menstrual cup is probably the Diva Cup, which is the one I have (in model 1/pre-childbirth size).  I’d highly recommend this one rather than cheaper ones from Amazon. I just don’t trust companies that knock off original good products for cheaper ones like that.  Who knows where the quality went in them so I’d rather not risk it but it’s your call!

Diva Cup Diva Cup 1 Pre Childbirth (Packaging May Vary)
Image from company’s site, not my own.

I purchased a menstrual cup May 11, 2017 (thanks Amazon for that fact!) and tried it out my 2nd period.  Of course the first month I had it, I just stared at it daily, terrified to give it a shot.  Letting my return policy expire so I knew I’d have to suck it up and try it eventually.  Anyone else do this? It’s a great way to motivate yourself to do something 😉 !

I finally started it and for the next few months I used Tampons and panty liners half the time and the cup the other half of the time.  I say half because it was uncomfortable at first to get all up in your business…if you know what I mean, so I wanted to take it slow. Plus, I wasn’t good at putting it in yet so on days I was rushed I didn’t bother etc. AND since you don’t have to change it frequently unless your flow is SUPER heavy, you don’t really get that much practice in just 1 period.  I’d say it takes about 3 months to feel somewhat comfortable inserting/removing it.

Why I love my menstrual cup so much:

  • Not having to think about changing anything all day. It made my period feel like WAY less of a drag to only change 2 times a day (morning/night). It was like something I do like brushing my teeth – no biggie.  If you have a super heavy flow, you may need to change it more often but it can be in there for 12 hours so twice a day works for me.
  • It doesn’t burn! I always found that my vagina felt raw…(not sure how else to explain that), and burned a bit with tampons.  I don’t have a heavy flow most days so it would feel dry and just not cool…  With the cup, it doesn’t wick moisture away from your body so you feel exactly the same as you normally do!
  • The cups are made from medical grade silicon, they are re-usable, non-toxic and you aren’t polluting the earth with applicators and tampons that don’t compost!

What you can likely expect in the beginning:

  • You will likely leak (unless you’re pro at getting the suction of the cup in the first few tries).  Spoiler alert, I was not.
  • It’s weird to put your fingers all the way up in there…
  • It feels kinda weird at first (especially pulling it out).
  • Removing it may take 30 minutes – if you’re anything like me! (true story…of my first time – I learned fast don’t worry).
  • You may gag a bit dumping the blood into the toilet and then feel kind of amazed by your body, all at the same time!
  • You’ll realize that you bleed a lot less than you think you do.  My cup is usually about 1/4 or 2/3 full at most when I remove it.  Granted I don’t have the heaviest periods most of the time.
  • The cup will not get stuck or lost.  To remove it, you use the same muscles you use when having a bowel movement.  This pushes the cup low enough so you can grab it with your fingers, pinch the bottom and pull out.
  • Your mind will say relax but your body will be stiff.  Try to relax, it will make it so much easier to remove. I try to take deep breaths because it’s just natural to tense up.

Tips for a smooth experience:

  • ROTATE the damn cup once it’s inside like it says in the instructions.  If you don’t do this, you will leak.  This is probably the toughest because I find it hard to tell if the seal is perfect until it either leaks a bit or doesn’t!
  • Wear a thin panty liner until you’re a pro or if it makes you anxious to not.
  • When removing: grab it firmly with your thumb and pointer finger, take a deep breath, relax those muscles and PULL.  I spent legit 30 minutes on my first time because I didn’t realize not how hard you have to pull exactly but that it’s not a tampon string, you need enough force in that slippery environment to get it out (TMI – SORRY but you’re here sooo…) so with steady even force, grab and just pull (not yank).
  • Start by wearing it during the day only (up to 12 hours).  Give your body a break, get used to it.  Don’t think it has to be all or nothing. I took a few months to switch over.
  • Cut the bottom tip, if you need to.  Read the instructions, it will explain it but depending on the size of your cervix, you may need to cut the bottom part of the cup. Do this sooner than later, it makes it A LOT more comfortable.  Otherwise it will feel like it’s sticking out.

P.S. This post is not sponsored however, may contain affiliate links that offer me a small commission if you decide to buy after clicking my link, based on my recommendations above. Supporting my blog in this small way provides financial assistance to allow me to keep doing what I love, which is sharing better ways that women can serve their bodies while ridding toxins and chemicals in every day items. I hope you found this information useful and that it got you curious about the topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts below or you can always reach out to me on socials @balancingandie.

Sources: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/cotton/

Why I Switched from Tampons to a Menstrual Cup

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