The Menstrual Cup
The Menstrual Cup: Why I am never buying tampons again
I recently decided to try the menstrual cup.
Not to be confused with a KeepCup, which I asked for when I stepped inside one of the health shops in town to buy one. The lady behind the desk looked confused, so I added, you know for menstruation. She smiled awkwardly, KeepCup is for coffee, she said. I think you’re looking for the Mooncup.
It was actually the OrganiCup I was looking for. Mooncup and OrganiCup seem to be the two popular brands. I decided to go with OrganiCup because I liked the packaging. And Instagram seemed to have made my mind up for me with daily sponsored ads from OrganiCup showing up on my feed for months.
The first time I came across the menstrual cup was when I was researching essential packing items for my month backpacking on the Camino. Mooncup kept appearing on Camino blog posts. What the hell is that? New tab, google “Mooncup”. It is a female hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem. I packed tampons in my backpack.
But the menstrual cup followed me, as all good Google searched items do. First was on the Camino where a friend I made spoke highly about her menstrual cup. She said it was the best change she has ever made. I watched a TedTalk by surfer Sophie Hellyer, who is passionate about cleaning up our planet, and I thought yes the menstrual cup makes sense. Then Instagram stepped in, knowing I was on the fence, it sought to single-handedly convince me to make the change. Buy one OrganiCup, get the second free (why do I need two?), discounted offers and the hashtag #plasticfreeperiods became commonplace on my Instagram feed.
Why did I want to switch?
Number one reason is for the environment. (Halo slowly coming into soft focus above my head). According to OrganiCup, we will each use around 11,000 disposable tampons and/or pads in our lifetime. Pads contain plastic and most tampons have single-use plastic applicators. The OrganiCup can be used for up to 10 years. Our use of tampons and pads for that period (ahem) translates into about a truckload of waste per lady. Which I think OrganiCup should think about including in an advertising campaign, a picture of a truck emblazoned with a sign saying “Sarah’s Period 2008 - 2018”.
Second reason is to avoid chemicals. Most tampons use non-organic cotton which has been saturated in pesticides and insecticides. They also have chemicals such as dioxin, chlorine and rayon in them. By using tampons we are exposing our most sensitive parts of our body to these harmful substances.
Third reason is cleanliness. I hate everything to do with tampons. What are we supposed to do with them after? I feel a pang of guilt flushing them down the loo, still unsure if sewage systems can handle them but going ahead and doing it anyway.
So these were my three reasons. And my experience this month with the menstrual cup? Wonderful.
The first insertion was a little strange. You fold the flexible silicon over into a C-shape and insert. The stem shape at the end takes the place of the tampon string and admittedly, this took a little getting used to. Now that I’m used to it I thank the eco-friendly manufacturers for no more string dangling between my legs and slipping out of my bikini while on holidays. It can be left in for longer than a tampon (up to 12 hours). It is clean and tidy, you just empty it and rinse it under the tap after use. And you can use it for years. Goodbye unsightly boxes of Tampax crowding up my bathroom shelves.
Before you ask I am not working for OrganiCup on a commission paid role. I chose this Danish brand because they come across as passionate about saving the environment. They use recycled packaging, organic non-bleached cotton for the little storage bag and all instructions are printed on the inside of the box so there is no extra waste. Trust the Danes for a clever design.
It is a big change from what we are used to, and change is never easy. We don’t like change. But I think this is an important one. By switching to the menstrual cup we are saving the planet and there will be no need for your personalised truck headed for the landfill site.
I am a menstrual cup convert. Thank you friend on the Camino, thank you Sophie Hellyer and thank you Instagram for shoving it in my face and convincing me to try it. I hope I have done the same for you.
You can find OrganiCup (€24) in most health shops. I got mine in The Health Store in Dundrum Shopping Centre. You can buy online at www.organicup.com. Mooncup can be bought in Boots. There are different OrganiCup sizes: Size A (if you haven’t given birth) and Size B (if you have). This is the link to Sophie Hellyer’s TedTalk https://youtu.be/U3tRlu2P-XM.