August 5, 2014

That Time of the Menses.

So obviously no one really likes getting their period. Let's face it, except for when you jump for joy when you get it because you realize you aren't pregnant when you don't want to be, they suck.

I especially don't like them because I turn into the absolute worst person in the world when I get my period, my ex can attest to that, and on top of that they are SO insanely wasteful...or were, I should say. I used to go through a box of Organic cotton tampons per month. Organic tamps and pads are still better than non-organic ones, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want pesticides in my hoo-ha, but thanks to a gift from Alden, author of the blog Ecocult, I now know there is a better, less wasteful option: a menstrual cup.

A menstrual cup is a medical-grade silicone cup that you insert into your vajay-jay, where it collects blood throughout the day. You only have to empty it once or twice per day into the toilet, rinse it with some castile soap, and re-insert. I cleaned it and inserted it right before work, once when I got home, and then again before bed. There was even a night when I kept it in all day until bed time and it was absolutely fine, no leakage whatsoever! Oh, and another great part? Unlike tampons, you don't have to remove it every time you go to the bathroom, it just stays put!! To remove you just tug on the little silicone “string” at the end and it comes right out.

(Disclaimer: there is a weird suction cup sound that happens when you do this which was pretty funny and weird the first time, but you get used to it.)

Best of all? It is a one-time $40 investment that yields a waste-free period for about ten years.

Let’s look at the economics of a menstrual cup …

Menstrual Cup:
39.99 x 1 purchase for ten years = $39.99

Organic cotton tampons:
$7.00/box x 2 boxes/month = $14.00/month x 10 years = $1,680

For a net savings of: $1,640

Using a menstrual cup pays for itself after THREE MONTHS. I don’t know about you, but I can think of a lot of things I could use $1,640 on.

So let me make this short and sweet: Menstrual cup good. Buy it. Use it. Your life will be easier, periods less gross, and life a lot less wasteful.

51 comments:

  1. hey, women aren't the only people who menstruate! people with uteruses can be men, women, non-binary, etc.

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    1. You are so absolutely right. Thank you for keepin' me in check! You rock!!!!

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  2. I have been using the Luna Cup for about 6 months now and absolutely love it! (I first tried the Diva Cup and didn't like the feel of that one, plus I couldn't get the hang of "spinning" it after inserting.) I haven't had a single leak with the Luna Cup and it's sooo comfortable.

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    1. I have heard that about the Diva Cup too, but everyone is shaped differently so i'm sure different cups work better/worse for different people. I agree about the cup, I think it is SO comfortable and I totally forget it is there!

      Have a great day!
      Lauren

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  3. I love my cup. My periods have improved as well :) Have you tried cloth pads yet?

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    1. Hi Erin,

      I haven't but have wanted to! Do you have any suggestions?

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    2. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MimisDreams

      I use these, great prints and super comfortable! Plus she's a friend ;)

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    3. partypantspads.com (My friend... yeah ladies promoting each other!!) She's got some really cute organic prints. Also, she'd love your blog!

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    4. I cut up an old flannel shirt and made my own from a pattern I found online. No regrets.

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  4. I've used my diva cup for 1yr+. Wish I'd discovered it sooner. My daughter is 8 now. when her time comes, I'll introduce her to all options and hope she picks a cup.

    ^^^^ Anonymous: thanks for the tip, the Diva works "fine" but I'd love to see if the Luna feels different for me too!

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    1. Hi! I think it's so awesome that you will introduce your daughter to it! I wish I knew when I was younger :) I love my Lunette cup, although I haven't tried any other brands, but since I haven't had any problems and it works well for me, i'm not going to get another one. Plus I think it is a little smaller than other cups.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Lauren

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  5. Hi Lauren,

    I'm a pads sorta girl so I've been weary of using these cups, especially since I assumed you'd have to clean them out in public/at the office. You said that you clean and insert in the morning, then do the same when you get back from work. How do you....go to the bathroom in the middle of the day?

    I've tried the cloth pads but I found they move around too much for comfort. They're a great idea, though. I should probably try a set from a different Etsy seller.

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    1. Hi Kasey,

      Thank you so much!! You brought up an awesome point that I totally overlooked and is probably my favorite part about using a cup - when you go to the bathroom it totally stays in place! As opposed to tampons that you have to change every time you go, this can just stay put. It is wonderful especially because I don't want to deal with all of that at work, it just feels kinda germy to me.

      Let me know if you find cloth pads that work well for you - I would probably just use them in place of the cup when I sleep.

      Thanks for your comment!!
      Lauren

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    2. Hi, I've just found your blog I think what you're doing is so awesome! I was wondering about periods, glad you made this post!

      I don't think I could use a cup myself, I find the idea of emptying and cleaning a little cup of blood a bit icky. But you know you can leave a tampon in when you go to the bathroom? If you've put it in properly it stays right where it is!

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  6. Hey Lauren!

    Suggestions for you and other commenters re: reusable pads. My favourites are from Party In My Pants (lol) -- they're SO thin, you don't even realize they're there. However, they are on the pricier side. An Etsy seller called 'yurtcraft' comes in second, and is more affordable. I think it's so fun to choose your patterns, it made the process of switching over to reusable pads that much more enjoyable!

    They're are lots of tutorials online on how to best clean the pads and keep them stain-free too, which is super helpful.

    <3

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    1. Hi Julia,

      Thanks so much for these suggestions! I am so excited to look into them :)

      X
      Lauren

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    2. www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LillyaPads is my personal favourite. And she makes custom orders too. Though I've found cloth pads and bike riding don't go so well together....
      And a wet bag (I got mine from monkeyfootdesigns) is a must, of course.

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  7. My daughter introduced me to the Diva cup about 10 years ago. She was working on tall ships in the BVI's and you can NOT flush tampons down the toilet on a boat and you can't fling it overboard, so.... I have since introduced about 30 people to the cup. I even informed people at an Earth Day festival... they had no idea.

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    1. Hi Judith,

      A menstrual cup is the best decision ever, I love it!

      Lauren

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  8. Hi,just found your blog and have been reading it the whole day, so interesting :)
    So glad to hear that Lunette has made its way outside Finland :)
    I have used my Lunette-cup for about 7 years now and i think it is the best thing ever invented. I have tried two other brands of menstrual cups, just out of curiosity, but feel like Lunette is definitely the right fit for me. Sometimes I literally forget that i have it on, it's amazing!

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    1. I love Lunette too! I am so happy with mine!

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  9. You have some great info in your blog-Thanks for writing! Just a quick question though- why were you removing your tampon every time you used the bathroom? I've never heard of that being necessary...want to make sure I'm not missing something!

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    1. Haha - I got grossed out by it - it seemed like the more sanitary thing to do.

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    2. I was *just* wondering the same.thing. I was like, "Holy crap, have I been doing something wrong all these years?!". Made me question my entire existence.

      Thanks for the closure. ;)

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    3. Or you replace your tampons just b/c you feel they are full of uhm, discharge fluid.
      Like in every hour. OR half an hour, for that matter :(
      Which arises some really serious doubts about the convenience of cup for me.

      A Hungarian mother of two.

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  10. Hi, really love your blog. Thank you for opening my eyes to waste! I've been using a menstrual cup for ever (really, over ten years -can't remember a time when I didn't), but when I got pregnant with my first I knew I had to think of something else for after birth. The mens cups aren't recommended then to avoid infections. So I was making cloth diapers for my baby from recycled materials and used the leftover bits to make my own reusable pads. Still use them every now and again, hough he's six ;) Here's what I did: bought old wool jumpers and flannel pj's from a flee market. Put the jumpers in a very hot machine wash so the turned into felt. Used a winged pad as a model, made mine slightly longer because I figured there's going to be more blood after childbirth than during menses... Then simply sewed together one layer flannel (with wings), one layer felt (no wings) and one more layer flannel (with wings). Sewed over the whole thing a few times so the felt would stay in place. Put snap fasteners to the wings and voila: works like a charm. Also recycled fleece works well. But flannel is best next to your skin.

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  11. I've been using The Keeper for about 13 years now - and it's great! I love hearing of others using a menstrual cup!

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  12. I also have only this one wish: that I had discovered it earlier and not when I'm nearing my thirties. I've used a Femmecup for two years now and I can't even understand how I could put up with pads and tampons for all those years (well probably cuz I never knew about alternatives until I received the cup as a gift). So gross, expensive and unfriendly to ones hoo-haa and the planet. Yay for cups!

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  13. I think this is the best invention for women EVER. Every woman should use it!

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  14. I was on board for using a menstrual cup but unfortunately they are not for everyone. I have a compromised immune system and after wearing it and cleaning religiously I developed a severe infection that took months to clear up :( It's too bad because I was really excited to find a product that reduced waste and saved money.

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  15. Partypantspads.com Check out her awesome cloth pads in adorable prints! Down with waste!

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  16. I use cloth pads from Kawaii because they are the cheapest. Not as stable as disposables but they do the job. I use tighter underwear to stabalize them on heavier days and I have to wear longer shirts to cover my behind when I wear tights because the imprint my underwear makes. But it's worth it not to make waste. There are more comfortable looking more expensive brands but they just don't fit my budget. Kawaii also makes cloth diapers...they are pretty descent for the price I use them on my baby.

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  17. Note: People with IUD's can't use menstrual cups because it might pull the IUD out.

    Also, that is a MASSIVE amount of tampons. TWO BOXES A MONTH? Do your boxes have like, 3 tampons in them? Is this a typical average? I buy a box of tampons maybe twice a year. Also I have an IUD so my flow is increased, but I can't fathom using so many tampons.

    Another sustainable option are those natural sponges. I dislike tampons so I've been thinking of switching to sea sponges. There are also washable thin pads that I use for sleeping or when the flow isn't very bad. So I really maybe use 2-3 tampons during a period.

    I weirdly feel that it's more "clean" if I clean it myself as opposed to something that comes out of individual packaging.

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    1. I used various cups (the Keeper and later the Luna cup) with my IUD for about six years. My midwife okayed it and I never had problems with it pulling out the IUD or causing infections. I never had the sensation that it was tugging on my IUD. The only reason I stopped was because I removed the IUD to get pregnant again.

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    2. I have an IUD, and use a menstrual cup, and am a gynaecology doctor so I can say with some certainty that it's totally ok to use an IUD and a cup together. A cup is in fact far less likely to pull on the IUD strings than a tampon...

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  18. I haven't been interested in blogs till I found you! Very inspiring, many things to read!

    This conversation made me think of the ecological cotton pads I use.
    I find that together with the cup make a fantastic combination. I also wanted to mention that I've been using a IUD since 8 years and never had problems with the cup, I never felt that I would pull out the IUD..
    I got the pads in Spain, I'm sure there is something similar in the US, or maybe someone can get an idea from it and make them!

    http://www.maripuritijeritas.com/

    Great blog, once again, I'll keep reading! and thanks

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  19. Just wanted to say be careful about leaving the cup in so long. The, uh, freshness of the blood doesn't last and can turn septic if you wait too long between cup washings.

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  20. I had one of these a few years ago called the Diva cup. It was supposed to last a really long time too, but I got three months out of it before the silicone around the lip started deteriorating. I was really disappointed in cost v. shelf life.

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    1. I've heard castille soap (or any oil-based soap) and silicone don't mix well and cause the silicone to degrade. Maybe that was your problem? I wash mine with a non-oil-based bar soap and if it's discolored, I add baking soda to the boiling water when sanitizing. I've had my diva cup for over three years with no problems.

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  21. Well, I didn't know the "freshness of the blood" mattered that much... when you use menstrual tampons, I agree with that, but with a cup ?
    The truth is I don't leave my cup inside for more than 12 hours, in general... but it happened once (I simply had forgotten it ^^).

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  22. I switched to a menstrual cup in February. I first chose a Lady Cup, but it wasn't quite the right fit for me. I found out about Lunette and got in contact with them. Since I'm from Canada, shipping costs from the U.S are ridiculous. (not to mention the exchange) They did as much as they could to make sure that I was able to purchase it trouble free. It's an amazing cup. I realized after the switch how much waste periods actually create. One small change to reduce a whole bunch of waste. If you guys out in cyberspace have any questions about Lunette or cups in general, DM me. Thanks for creating such an awesome blog Lauren.

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  23. I used one (the Keeper) for the last 10 years before menopause took care of my periods. I can't say enough good things about menstrual cups - as others have said, one tiny change eliminates a whole lot of waste, and it's a great move economically also.

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  24. I used one (the Keeper) for the last 10 years before menopause took care of my periods. I can't say enough good things about menstrual cups - as others have said, one tiny change eliminates a whole lot of waste, and it's a great move economically also.

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  25. Wow love the idea of the menstrual cup. I have never heard of it before and I think that it is a genius concept. Another idea for every women out there who wants to live a zero waste life is that I would recommend getting an IUD. I know that it is not for everyone but let me tell you why. For the women who are sexually active or not, the IUD is a very reliable birth control. It usually stays in place for 5 to 10 years (depending on the brand that you chose) after being inserted. The IUD is also amazing because it stops your periods (IUD Mirena only). So no pill, and no period right? Adding to that you save a lot of money on not having to buy the pill and on not having to use tampons and pads every months. I have one myself and I think it is amazing and I have not used a tampon or a pad for a very long time.

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  26. You guys have totally inspired me! I WILL try a menstrual cup!! x

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  27. Dear Lauren,
    Have you heard of shethinx? Whats your opinion? Thank you!

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  28. A little over a year ago I found your blog and bought a Lunette cup. I had a lot of trouble with the Lunette, so I wanted to find a cup that fit better. The Lunette is so rigid, I swear it gives me cramps. And I would only sometimes manage to get it inserted properly. This was after several months of trial and error. Anyway, I read that people reuse Softcups although they're supposed to be disposable. So I tried Softcups, and I'll use one during my period and then throw it away at the end. (Washing it really well and reusing during one period seems ok to me, keeping it forever does not.) But here I am throwing plastic away when I had been trying to avoid that! I love Softcups, but what do you think? Are 12 soft cups in the garbage in one year better than a bunch of tampons? I'm never going back to tampons, but I also don't want to invest in another cup that's not going to fit right. I need opinions, stats, or something here!

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Thank you for your comment! <3 -Lauren

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