Here I am, again! With Plasticfree July tip numbeeeeer 6.
And it is a big one. Maybe even my favorite one. But it’s one that still a lot of people find a nasty topic. The period cup (Dutch: de menstruatie cup). For some reason talking about menstruation is still a taboo. Which I find ridiculous because it is as natural as it can get. Most women have it, it’s the reason we can grow human beings in our womb. So yes, it is bloody. But it is a BLOODY miracle. Not at all something nasty.
Impact of tampons/pads
First of all. Normal tampons and menstrual pads are full of pesticides, chloride, plastic & other toxic synthetics. Let me tell you. This is absolutely not something you want in or close to your glorious vagina. I mean. Why would you? It is obviously seriously bad for you. You probably have experienced pulling out a tampon and having pain? And what about freaking TSS?
(source webmd: Toxic shock syndrome is a sudden, potentially fatal condition. It’s caused by the release of toxins from an overgrowth of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, which is found in many women’s bodies. Toxic shock syndrome affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons)
Listen girls, tampons and menstrual pads. It’s something you want to stop using, like, RIGHT NOW.
Secondly, let us talk about the trash side of the story.
A woman uses around 7.000 to 10.000 tampons/pads in her life. And obviously these are not recyclable. They ALL end up on landfill.
These next numbers are not correct, it is just a silly guideline as an example:
Okay so, at the moment we are with 7.530.000.000 people on this planet (which is already insane). Lets just say half of them are women so 3.765.000.000. Maybe half of them are kids, women who don’t have their period anymore or women who don’t have access to period products, so 1.882.500.000. So if you multiply 1.882.500.000 with 8500 tampons. Well, when I typ that into a calculator, it even freaks out.
That is a lot of trash, ladies. A loooot of trash.
And trash you can easily avoid. By switching over to an item that has no negative impact on your health. It’s a win-win situation. For you and for the planet.
Why the menstrual cup is beyond amazing
- You can use it up to 10 years, so no landfill !
- It’s made of 100% medical grade silicone, so it’s doesn’t affect your health.
- You only have to empty it once in the morning & once in the evening. So you never have to worry again if you’d leak or if you forgot your tampons. Nooop. You’re good. All day & all night.
- You can sleep naked. Plus your intimate part is clean and smell free. So, your partner will be experiencing benefits as well. Wink Wink.
- No more bloody trash in your bin for others to ‘enjoy’.
- When you are visiting people, you don’t have to throw your tampons in their bin. Or even a worse scenario we all have experienced before: being in a toilet without a bin!
- You can easily go swimming. Without absorbing water, so you can just leave it in afterwards.
- You don’t have a huge pad you can see in your undies or a silly string hanging out.
- So easy to travel with. No need to pack all those tampons and pads.
- When going to a public toilet, no awkward sounds of ripping your menstrual pad off/open.
- You have your period less longer because they put a synthetic in tampons/pads that makes you bleed more. This way you have to buy more tampons/pads. Some companies really have no morals.
- You don’t feel it during the day, except sometimes for the first 30 minutes when it has to get into place.
- …. !!
How to use a period cup
This is obviously very important. When your period comes through and you are about to use your cup, always start by boiling it 5 to 10 minutes in water. Make sure the cup is completely under water and it may not reach the bottom of the pot. After your period, you sterilize it again. So, you do it twice during your period cycle. Once in a while it’s good to add a spoon of vinegar or baking soda to the boiling water, this way you make sure your cup looks bright new. If you know what I mean.
First of all wash your hands and wash your cup with hot water or with an intimate soap. I always use an intimate soap, just to be extra sure.
You have different ways to fold the cup to insert it. The more common ones are the C-fold and the punch-down method.
For me personally the C-fold didn’t do the trick. I am all about the punch-down fold. I wet the ring a little bit and then it is so easy to insert.
For this, you have to go into a squad position, or just sit on the toilet. Relax. Then insert until the whole cup is inside you (the stem has to be inside as well), release it and it will pop open. Normally the cup has made a vacuum seal. To check, reach in and feel if the cup is round. If you feel a small dent, just rotate the cup a bit so it pops open completely. If not, it might leak a bit. So make sure it is inserted correctly.
All our bodies are different, so if the stem is always sticking out with you, you can cut off a little piece. I do not recommend this, only if you really have problems with it. The longer it is, the easier it is to reach.
If you are afraid in the beginning that you would leak, I recommend wearing a washable cotton/bamboo panty liner until you feel comfortable enough wearing your cup without. If you wear it correctly, it won’t leak.
You can leave the cup in all day and all night. Which is p-r-e-t-t-y freaking awesome. If you bleed very heavily, you might have to empty it once more.
The same routine: Relax, squad or sit on toilet.
Then you push with your tummy/abdominal muscles so that the cup lowers. You reach in and grab the stem with your thumb and your index finger. You pull it slightly until you can reach with your middle finger the base of the cup. Push against the base and the vacuum will be released, and then pull to remove. Because the cup will pop open when removing you might feel a slight discomfort, but it only lasts a second.
EMPTYING & WASHING
Once your cup is removed, you can empty it in the toilet or collect in any other way you fancy (as a fertilizer for example). Then again you rinse it off with water (or wash it with intimate soap like I prefer). If you find yourself in a bathroom with no sink, clean out the cup with some toilet paper and rinse it later in the day. In my webshop I currently have wipes for these situation, but once they are sold out, they won’t come back in stock, because it’s again trash. These wipes are handy though when you travel to a country where you are a bit afraid of the condition of the water.
And then you just repeat the previous steps. It’s that easy! 🙂
Just make sure to sterilize before your period and after your period ends. And store in a cotton bag.
How to choose the right size
There are plenty of menstrual cup brands out there. In al different sizes and shapes. The first cup I purchased was too small for me, which made removing it so hard because I couldn’t reach it. So finally I researched that and I discovered a brand that had cups which were a bit longer. And now, boy oh boy, I LOVE MY CUP. It is as easily removed as it is inserted. Organicup, works like wonders for me, so it’s the brand I sell in my webshop as well. You have size A en size B. If you haven’t had children before you should take a size A. If you did have vaginal birth, you should go for size B.
That’s it for today! I know it’s a long one. But it is such an important one. Menstruation is something so natural, it should NEVER be a taboo. And the environmental & health impact of tampons/pads are just too big to simply ignore. If there is one zero waste swap you should definitely make, it’s this one!
Spread the message!
It would be wonderful if you’d share this blogpost.