Reasons to switch to a menstrual cup

Written by Milly Evans, editorial assistant at Patient, activist for inclusive sex and relationships education and founder of I Support Sex Education. This article was originally published on Our Progress Project in August 2017.

For period-having humans, menstruation can be inconvenient, expensive and disruptive. I switched from using sanitary pads to a menstrual cup (mine is from Mooncup) around six months ago and I'm not exaggerating when I say that this product has literally changed my life. If you're looking to be convinced to make the change, look no further.

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1. Cost: a menstrual cup will usually cost around £20, depending on the brand, and since they last for 10 years, you could save yourself around £500 by not buying pads and tampons during that time.

2. Comfort: once the menstrual cup is inserted correctly, you can't feel it at all because it sits low in the vagina, much lower than a tampon. And since the cup collects blood, rather than absorbing it, vaginal dryness is heavily reduced, there's less odour due to reduced bacteria and some people even report fewer, and less severe cramps. Menstrual cups offer protection for between 4-10 hours, and can even be used at night and during sports such as swimming.

3. Environmental impact: one cup could replace 3250 tampons. The manufacturing of disposable menstrual products is both resource and chemical intensive, and with the amount of plastic and packaging used on and in menstrual products, it takes centuries to degrade even one tampon or pad, only adding more and more rubbish to landfill.

4. Health: as the cups are made from medical grade silicone, there's no concern about the harmful chemicals and synthetic fibres of tampons which produce toxins absorbed by vaginal mucous. Unlike tampons, menstrual cups have no risk of causing micro-tears in the walls of the vagina.

5. Get to know your body: you'll get used to putting in a menstrual cup by figuring out the shape of your vagina and what is comfortable for you. You'll also learn more about your cycle. It's reassuring to be able to see the measurements and realise that the amount of blood that you lose each month is actually very small. You also become more aware of how the period itself works as you can see the changes in the colour and amount of blood over the week.

6. No leakage: the menstrual cup forms a light seal, preventing leakage! And as long as the cup is emptied every 4-10 hours (dependent on brand, Mooncup recommends 4-8 hours), you can wave goodbye to stained underwear and sheets.

With all of these reasons, what's holding you back from making the switch?

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