By Stephanie Sampson
I know that as women we are sometimes uncomfortable talking about our time of the month and that we feel it’s gross. I used to dread getting my period. I hated having to carry around feminine products and changing them out in public restrooms. I remember trying to secretly sneak tampons in my sleeve and hoping no one noticed. I spent numerous nights laying in bed wondering if I was going to get Toxic Shock Syndrome. I can’t even count the times I had to make a late night run to the store to restock. I despised the fact that I had to spend $10 a month on feminine products. It was out of my control. But I am here to change that stigma that menstrual cups are embarrassing and messy. I am here to share the story of how a menstrual cup changed my life.
It is astonishing how many women do not know about menstrual cups. Before I made the switch I heard that menstrual cups were messy, hard to insert and were just plain weird. But throughout my process I learned that as long as I followed the directions, I did not come across any problems. I will admit that my first day using a menstrual cup was not pretty. I remember opening the box and asking myself how that thing was going to work. I was even a little scared to be honest. I discovered that if the cup was not properly sealed or if it did not open completely once inserted, then I experienced leakage. But once I got the hang of it I found it easier and cleaner than tampons. Now that I have joined the “no-tampon community,” I’m hearing a lot of women sing praises about their menstrual cup.
The first prototype of a menstrual cup was introduced to the United States back in the 1970’s. The idea was very creative but not very practical so most of them did not make it into the market. Back then, the cup was attached to a belt that rested on the hips. The first modern day menstrual cup, similar to the ones we have today, was invented in 1937 by American actress Leona Chalmers.
Her patented design was made so that women couldn’t even feel its presence. It allowed women to wear light, close-fitting clothing and still gave them a sense of comfort that time of the month.
During one of my late night runs to the pharmacy, I was browsing through the aisles and I stumbled across the Diva Cup. I am always looking for ways to reduce the waste I send to landfills, so, when I saw a reusable menstrual cup, I decided to give it a try.
After several attempts I can safely say that I have successfully mastered this cup without any leaks or discomfort. After spending time researching menstrual cups, I would like to share some of the benefits I have found switching to a menstrual cup.
- One menstrual cup will last a long time
There are many menstrual cups on the market today, but all of them are made of 100% medical grade silicone. With proper care, I will only have to replace mine every 10 years! Which is great for my wallet and creates less waste!
- It saves money
I purchased my menstrual cup for about $30, which will save me approximately $4,000 in my lifetime.
- Less late night pharmacy trips
Since switching to a menstrual cup, I will have 11 less emergency trips to the pharmacy this year.
- More convenient
I used to hate the feeling of a tampon. I felt like it just made my cramping worse and made going to the bathroom a hassle and unsanitary. But when inserted correctly, I can’t even feel the menstrual cup. The best part: no strings attached!.
Many people aren’t aware of this, but tampons and pads contain many dangerous chemicals in them that can be very harmful to the body. Menstrual cups do not contain latex, BPAs, dyes, or any other additives. I am at peace knowing that I won’t ever get Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- Convenient for traveling
I am constantly traveling whether it is a week or a weekend out of town, and I love that I only have to pack one menstrual cup instead of packing pads, panty liners, and tampons just in case I get my period while I am away.
- Gives the opportunity to learn about your body
I have always been embarrassed and ashamed about my period, which I am sure many other women are. But a menstrual cup forced me to learn more about my body and how it works. It took a little while getting used to using it, but now that I know I am never going back.
This week I discovered something that completely changed the way I looked at my menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycles may seem inconvenient now, but trying a menstrual cup might change your experience. Being a woman is so much easier now for me. I can go swimming, hiking, running, and practice yoga without worrying whether or not my pad will bend with my body or if my tampon string will show through my swimsuit. Taking this step has made me feel more empowered, confident and beautiful by allowing me to take the drivers seat during my menstrual period. I now feel that having my period is just another day and that I am privileged to experience being a woman. So, whether or not you decide to become part of the “no-tampon community,” you now know that menstrual cups may not be as scary, messy, or difficult to use as you might have heard before.
There are a lot of different kinds of menstrual cups out there with lots of instructions on how to use them. If you’re thinking of making the switch, check out one of my favorite videos on How to use a menstrual cup.