“Ew, get that out of my pot!”
After my first cycle with a menstrual cup in 2017, I followed the cleaning instructions on the packaging: “wash with soap and water, then place cup in boiling water for 5 minutes to sanitize.”
My mom was not a fan of me cleaning my used menstrual cup in one of her cooking pots. She said something about me becoming a hippie and quickly left the room to buy a new pot.
Several years later, I’m still using a menstrual cup and have preached about my life-changing period miracle to anyone who will listen. I’ve converted at least two fellow menstrating humans to the cup life, and have inspired many others to learn more.
Plus, I got a free pot that I still use to clean my cup.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a small “cup” that collects (not absorbs) blood during a women’s period. It’s often folded and inserted into the vagina in a similar way to a tampon.
The typical cup holds the same amount of blood as about 4-8 tampons (depending on tampon strength).
Anyone can wear a cup! There are many shapes and sizes, so there’s likely a perfect match for you. Feels good to know there is such a thing as a perfect match, doesn’t it?
What are the benefits to a menstrual cup?
SO MANY!!!!! Let’s dive into them.
Reduced Risk of TSS
My dad was the first one to tell me about TSS (toxic shock syndrome). He bought me my first box of tampons because wearing pads to gymnastics was not ideal.
Apparently his friend in high school got TSS and he never forgot that, so before he gave me that holy box of tampons, he made me promise I’d never wear a tampon for longer than 8 hours and I’d interchange wearing tampons and pads. Dads…so protective, am I right?
Let’s be honest ladies….if you prefer tampons, then you prefer tampons and you’re only going to wear tampons…even if it’s not safe!
Well, you don’t have to worry about safety with menstrual cup. Most of them are made of medical-grade silicone, making them safe to wear. Yup, there’s no risk of TSS!
Jessie, a customer service representative from Lena Cup, told me “it is important to empty your cup at least every 12 hours to ensure that your menstrual fluid is not sitting inside your body for longer than this.”
I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know why it’s bad to keep menstrual fluid inside your body for so long, but the menstrual cup goddesses have spoken so I shall listen!
More Convenient and Comfortable
You only have to change the cup every 12 hours.
Let me repeat that again, since it’s so important and life-changing.
You only have to change the cup every 12 hours!!!
No more planning bathroom breaks between classes, date nights, or work meetings.
You only have to think about your period twice a day…once in the morning and once at night. That’s. It.
And it’s easy to forget about your period when a menstrual cup allows you to live your life without restriction!
- Go to the pool or beach. Your cup collects and prevents any blood from coming out until you’re ready for it to. No more soggy tampons or meticulously planning your beach vacation!
- Stay active. Hike that mountain, scuba dive deep, kayak through ocean waves, hike and camp overnight, and perfect your gymnastics beam routine. Menstrual cups should really steal Playtex Sport’s ad campaigns because, with a cup, you really can “play on.”
- “Forget-you’re-on-your-period” kinda comfort all. day. long. Once you find your perfect fit, the cup will fit and move so well to your body that you’ll forget you’re on your period. (Really!!)
- No scratching or itching. Did you know tampons and pads are made with plastic? Yuck! These unnatural ingredients rubbing on your cervix all day is not comfortable. The smooth and natural fit of menstrual cups leave your insides feeling smooth.
- No risk of leaks as long, as you change your cup every 10-12 hours.
Menstrual Cups are Better for Mother Earth and Your Bank Account
These cups are resuable, meaning they’ll be around for years to come.
Menstrual cups typically cost about $30. That’s the price of two tampon boxes! You’ll save hundreds of dollars annually. More money to travel!
Plus, they’re environmentally friendly. Switching to a menstrual cup automatically cuts pounds of plastic waste the average woman produces in a year.
At the end of its life (which you won’t have to think about for a while), research if any local recycling facilities accept silicone. If not, cut the menstrual cup into several pieces and toss into the landfill. I’ve also heard about burning cups, since silicone doesn’t release any toxic or otherwise hazardous fumes, but I’m suspicious of this as an option.
But Aren’t Menstrual Cups MessY?
The first few times may be difficult, awkward, or messy, just like when you first got your period and were testing out pads and tampons. Change takes time.
Personally, it only took one cycle to become comfortable with a cup. I recommend starting when you’re at medium or heavy-bleed, because the extra moisture will make inserting and removing the menstrual cup easier.
There are lots of YouTube videos suggesting insertion methods as well as tips for removing the cup. You can play around with different methods to find what works best for you.
The website Put A Cup In It offers a lot of great advice on all things menstrual cups. I recommend looking at their FAQs and videos for more information!
How Travelers Can Clean Menstrual Cups On-the-Go
Since it’s only necessary to change the cup every 12 hours, I’ve rarely had to change my cup while in transit.
On those rare occasions, here’s my best advice:
Decide Between a Bottle or Wipes
Many menstrual cup companies sell wipes specifically for cleaning cups. I have loads of them somewhere in my room, but I never use them. Some people prefer them, and I’m sure they work, but I personally think they’re expensive and wasteful.
Instead, I bring a bottle of water into the public bathroom stall with me and use that to clean my cup over the toilet.
In countries with clean water, I’ll refill a reusable water bottle. If the water isn’t clean, I’ll rinse it with water from a plastic bottle.
Get a Bidet…..Or Use A Lot of Toilet Paper
Personally, I find having a bidet makes the clean-up process easier, cleaner, and more environmentally-friendly (less toilet paper use).
I own the Tushy Travel bidet (which you can get here). It’s perfect for travelers! When I’m on my period, I can easily store the bidet in my purse.
Remember, you would only have to carry the bidet around with you if you know you’ll have to change out your cup in a public restroom. Otherwise, you can keep it in your accommodations all day! (unless you want to use it to clean after #2, which is also valid)
Before entering the public restroom, fill the Tushy Travel bidet with water and bring it into the stall with you.
If you prefer not to use a bidet, prepare to use a lot of toilet paper to clean up “down there”. Ensure there’s plenty of toilet paper in your public restroom stall before removing your cup. You may even consider bringing a roll of toilet paper with you, just in case.
How to Find Your Perfect Fit
Most people know of Diva Cup, which was actually my first menstrual cup ever. But did you know there are hundreds more variations?
I didn’t know this, so I suffered for several cycles with a not-perfectly fitting Diva cup. I questioned why people sing the praises of menstrual cups while doing jumping jacks at the gym and physically feeling the cup slide up and down inside me.
Hint: You shouldn’t feel your menstrual cup once it’s inside.
Finally, I took to the internet and found the Put A Cup In It website. It is the holy grail of menstrual cups, answering all your questions, showing videos of how to comfortably insert and remove it, explaining how to safely clean the cup, and more (including coupons!).
Put the best part of the website is the quiz. They’ve analyzed and reviewed hundreds of menstrual cups and created this quiz to help you find your perfect menstrual cup match.
After taking the quiz, I was recommended the Lena Sensitive cup (plus a few others). I’ve worn this cup ever since (2 years now!).
(Well, I actually had to replace my Lena cup because my mom’s dog dug through my suitcase, found it, and ate it. Such a weirdo. My mom was horrified, despite the cup being clean. Anyway, the dog was still healthy after the snack-time and I bought a new Lena cup)
I’ve recommended this same quiz to friends starting their menstrual cup journeys and they’ve found their perfect match too.
Time to Switch to Menstrual Cups
I strongly encourage every menstruating human I know to switch to menstrual cups. I swear by them.
They can seem scary and weird and different at first, but I promise if it is the right period product for you, then you’ll quickly fall in love with it too.
If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or write me an email. I’d love to hear from you!
Do you wear a menstrual cup? If so, what’s your favorite benefit? Comment below!