I'm a huge advocate, in case you haven't notice, for Britain giving the Tampon Tax the boot; however, in chatting to people about periods and my use of a menstrual cup (and I'm pretty insistent people listen to what I have to say when I'm off on one) I've realised just how many people have the same question - why a menstrual cup?
In school when I learned about periods it seemed as though I had two options - tampons or pads. Having listened to many a horror story about dry tampons, girls contracting TSS and women who had to have tampons medically removed, I opted firmly for the latter. This didn't really work for me - and after two years of seemingly changing pads every hour on the hour in order to feel clean, I got a public facing job which meant I had to stand on a till during 8 hour shifts with only a few breaks, and that meant back to the drawing board with my sanitary products. So, I went in search for an alternative - what did porn stars use to help with their period? What did those who didn't believe in disposable sanitary products use? After ten minutes of searching I was given a solid three more options on top of the two school taught me about - a menstrual sponge, a cloth pad and a menstrual cup.
I picked the least gross seeming to me - I didn't want to wash cloth pads, and I didn't really like the idea of using a sponge - and so I ordered a menstrual cup. I'll be honest with you - the first few times, I fucked it up. The cups are smaller than you'd imagine, you fold them down to a more comfortable size, pop them inside yourself, check they're up and the leave them to collect the blood for a few hours. How can you mess that up, you may ask? Easy. The hardest part of using the cup, in my opinion, is figuring the knack of making sure that it's completely popped open inside yourself or it will leak - and the first few times I messed this up (although I can attest for the fact that, once you've done it once, it's simple to do again and again). For this reason, I was disheartened and chucked it to the back of the cupboard.
A few months later, enough was enough and so I dug it back out, gritted my teeth and gave it another go. This time? I got it. It just seemed to work this time over - and my god did it change my life. Suddenly I didn't have to wear the world's longest pads overnight and swap them out to avoid leakage, suddenly I didn't have to make excuses to nip out on a break to swap my pad over so I didn't leak in work, suddenly I could go my whole period without feeling wet. I imagine if you've used tampons, this is how you feel anyway - only with the added bonus that these suckers can be kept in for a solid 8 hours at a time, in my experience.
So why a menstrual cup? From £12 for a year's worth of protection, it will save you a ton of money, it feels cleaner, it's reusable, it requires swapping less, it's eco friendly, they come in tons of sizes with different removal methods in order for you to feel as comfortable as possible, you can sleep in it. Overall, the question you should be asking in my opinion is; why not a menstrual cup? If you want to take a look for yourself, I'd recommend taking a peek over at Feminine Wear, not sponsored - just a great company with good customer service.
Have you ever tried a menstrual cup? Would you?