That’s approximately how many pads or tampons you will use in a lifetime.
My mind explodes when I think about how much waste this creates – not just from the products themselves but also from the additional plastic packaging.
Sanitary products take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Yup. Your used pads and tampons will quite literally still be floating around in landfill long after you have passed on.
And don’t even get me started on the toxins they contain … toxins that you’re putting inside your body.
Ladies, our periods are making a right royal mess of the planet.
So what’s the alternative?
Menstrual cups, baby!
What’s a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a small silicon cup that you insert into your vagina to collect your menstrual blood. It holds the blood inside the cup and when full, you simply tip the blood into the toilet, rinse and reinsert.
I’ve been road-testing the Lunette menstrual cup for almost a year, including while travelling in Walter the Campervan. The convenience, the health and cost benefits, the simplicity and the reduction in wastage means I won’t ever go back to using tampons.
But it sounds kinda gross…
I disagree. Shoving a piece of chemical-laden cotton inside your vagina is pretty darn gross when you think about it. So before you close down this page in disgust, hear me out.
Why I freaking LOVE the Lunette menstrual cup
+ Insert in the morning and forget about it!
You can leave the cup in for up to 12 hours, even overnight. On my heavier days, I empty the cup two to three times during the day and on my lighter days, just once.
This is truly my favourite part about the menstrual cup. It makes dealing with your period that little bit easier. You can wear the cup swimming or doing any other physical activity — just like you do a tampon.
+ Huge savings
A Lunette menstrual cup lasts for at least 10 years (sometimes longer). On a rough estimate, I was spending $15 a month on organic sanitary products.
$15 x 120 months = $1,800 compared to just $58 for a menstrual cup for the same time period. That’s a HUGE saving.
+ Environmentally friendly
My wastage has been significantly reduced. While I still wear a pad for extra protection on my heavier days, after this I don’t use anything but my Lunette cup. And you don’t have to go touching those disgusting sanitary bins in toilets. That’s a big win for me.
+ No drying out
Have you ever experienced that awful drying out of your vagina in the last days of your period when your flow is just enough that you still need to use a tampon but not heavy enough to completely soak it? Gah! This makes me cringe.
Unlike tampons, a menstrual cup does not interrupt the natural moisture in your vagina.
+ No odour
Pads are a breeding ground for yeast infections, bacteria and odour, something you don’t have to ever worry about with a menstrual cup.
+ It’s SUPER easy to put into place
Once you’ve mastered the insert, it takes just seconds to get the cup into place. Once it’s in, you can’t feel it at all and I often forget that it’s even there.
+ It’s so small you can keep it in your bag
The Lunette cup is small and comes in a cute, vegan-friendly storage bag. You can carry it with you in your handbag at all times. No more messing around with tampons and pads floating everywhere and no emergency dashes to the supermarket required!
Tips for beginners:
Just like when you first started using tampons, a menstrual cup takes a little getting used to. Here are some of the things I’ve learnt along the way:
+ The best place to insert and remove the cup is in the shower. The hot water makes the cup flexible and moist to insert and there’s no danger of accidental spillage when removing.
+ Practice first at home with a pad as extra protection from accidental leakages.
+ Find the fold that works best for you. I like the punch-down fold. It’s narrow enough to push into my vaginal opening and pops open easily once inserted.
+ Insert with the fold facing downwards. I’ve found this helps the cup to open and create a seal much more easily.
+ Twist it baby! Once the cup is inserted, you should be able to rotate it easily. This confirms that the cup has opened fully. I also like to run my finger around the outside of the cup just as a double check.
+ Learn the positioning of your cervix. Your cervix is located in the upper part of your vagina and is where the menstrual blood flows, through a pin-sized hole, into your vaginal canal. The menstrual cup is designed to sit below the cervix so it captures the blood. However, if your cervix moves lower during menstruation (I discovered this is the case for me and is the reason why I still wear a pad on my heavier days) or if the cup is too high in your vagina, you may experience leaks because the cervix is sitting next to the cup or below it. If you’re experiencing leaks you may need to feel around for your cervix and make sure the cup is positioned correctly. There’s more information on this topic over here. If you don’t experience leaks, ignore this bullet point completely.
+ Lastly – try, try again. It took me a couple cycles to get the hang of the menstrual cup but it was well worth it. If you don’t nail the insert the first time, keep trying. You will get there. And when you do, you won’t ever want to go back to using tampons again. Trust me on this one!
Win a Lunette menstrual cup
This giveaway is now closed.
Vaginal loving side note
While we’re on the topic of vaginas, check out this vaginal healing guide from our kinesiologist, Nicole Mathieson. This is a MUST read. It will help you connect, heal and learn to listen to the needs of your (possibly) long-forgotten vagina. It’s full of so many practical and useful tips. LOVE it!
Do you use a menstrual cup? What brand do you use and what’s been your experience?
Want to use a menstrual cup but have questions? Pop your questions in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help wherever I can.
12 steps to cosmetics so natural you can eat the ingredients
This little how-to is the sixth instalment in our series on how to green your bathroom by swapping to completely natural and cruelty-free cosmetics.
Switching to a menstrual cup means much less wastage, huge savings and a toxic-free alternative to pads and tampons.
Stay tuned for part seven, where we’ll be talking homemade toothpaste.
We’re also volunteering to be your human guinea pigs, so if there’s something natural cosmetics-related that you’ve been a-ponderin’, hit us up in the comments.
Check out the other steps via the links below:
- Step 1: Bathroom stocktake – get our handy free worksheet to help you work out how naughty or nice your current cosmetic brands are.
- Step 2: Homemade exfoliating coffee and cinnamon soap – how to recycle used coffee grounds into a luxuriously exfoliating and all-natural homemade soap.
- Step 3: How to cleanse your face with nothing more than oil (and a little apple cider vinegar) plus tips on dealing with adult acne.
- Step 4: Whipped organic chocolate body butter – how to create an intensely moisturising body butter using only three-ingredients.
- Step 5: How to go no ‘poo – ditch store-bought shampoo and wash your hair using only bicarbonate soda and apple cider vinegar.
- Step 6: Menstrual cups – less wastage, less stink, less toxins. The better alternative to pads and tampons.
- Step 7: Natural homemade toothpaste – whip up your own toothpaste using everyday ingredients you probably already have floating around your pantry.
- Step 8: Oil pulling – swill a little oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes each day to improve dental health and a whole heap more.
- Step 9: Dry body brushing – get healthy, glowing, soft skin using this simple exfoliating technique.
- Step 10: Healing face and body butter – how to make your own naturally-scented and powerfully healing face and body moisturiser.