Every month, you expect a visit from Aunt Flo, also known as the Girl Flu or Code Red. You probably have a go-to stock of pads and tampons or both, different sizes and thicknesses for different days. You might even rearrange your wardrobe because “these sweatpants are all that fit me right now” — afraid you’ll leak onto your skinny jeans. But what if there was another alternative? What if you could use something to “catch” your flow and leave it be for up for 12 hours, leave it in while you use the bathroom and only need one of these per cycle – would you use it?
Why a cup? Menstrual cups are becoming a more popular choice among women for several reasons. The cups are often made of silicone and created with limited chemicals, control heavy flows better and reports have shown a decrease in cramping symptoms. The University of British Columbia conducted a study of women who normally use tampons during their periods, but had them switch to the cups. Four cycles later, 91 percent of the women said they will continue to use the cups as well as recommend them for reasons of ease and comfort. (via College of Family Physicians Canada)
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How it works: The cups are flexible, yet sturdy. You fold or roll it up, insert it into the vagina and rotate it slightly as it opens up, sealing the edges. You shouldn’t be able to feel it. You can go to work, the gym, pick up the kids, run to the store, make dinner and pour a glass of wine before you have to think about taking it out again. Once you remove it, the contents are emptied into the toilet and all you have to do is give it rinse under warm water before reinserting it. Now, if you’re at work or in a public place, it might get awkward trying to rinse your cup in the sink. So, that’s something you’ll have to take into consideration.
No waste: So, how many times have you or someone you know called the plumber for a toilet clog only to find out a slew of feminine care products were the culprit? Even if you toss the tampons and pads into the trash, they tend to stink up the bathroom or attract the dog (don’t act like this has never happened to you).
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Cups are green: There’s an environmental side to this choice as well. Market research shows a woman will use 11,000 tampons or pads throughout her lifetime. So, with a little math, there are approximately 157 million women in the US, according to the 2010 Census. Each woman menstruates for an average of 38 years, resulting in 1 quadrillion sanitary items in landfills. Heavy! Click here to learn how to reduce your contribution to landfills by keeping a journal.
Yet, many women still have hesitations when it comes to trying the cup, and understandably. Putting a foreign object up your womanhood should not be taken lightly. If you’re already using tampons, the process is very similar. One of the benefits to using a cup is you can reuse the same cup for years! Yes, years.
There are several different brands with varying molds, sizes and benefits:
Numbers and figures: The cups are 1.5 to 3 inches in length and an average of 1.5 inches in diameter. It is to be noted that cups are not to be used for the bleeding following childbirth or for cyclic discharge, but for menstruation only. The average cost is $25 to $35.
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