Public Cervix Announcement
I've been using the Lunette menstural cup for over two years, and I'm happy to report that me and my female anatomy have never been happier. While some might consider menstruation an innapropriate topic to discuss, periods are a part of life, and I believe there is no shame in bleeding and talking about it openly. Break the period taboo!
Before the cup, I used tampons. Sometimes they were the organic and non-bleached ones, but mainly I used an unscented one with a plastic applicator, because they were easier to insert. I'm excited to share with you how I go with the flow using a menstrual cup, and how doing so is better for my body, the environment, and my wallet.
Menstrual Cup & How it Works
Menstrual cups are reusable cups typically made from felxible medical grade silicone. They are folded and then inserted inside the vagina to catch menstrual fluid during menstruation. Menstrual cups hold 4-8x more than a tampon, and don't absorb your bodies natural moisture. The cup sits below the cervix. You'll get to know a little bit more about your unique cervix, switching to the cup. I use the Lunette cup which is safe, comfortable, and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. It also lasts for several years.
Lunette & GladRags
Picking a Cup
There are a quite a handful of menstrual cup companies out there to choose from. I think the Lunette is amazing, but you can always take this quiz that helps figure out the best cup based on your body. I just took the quiz for fun and it recommend I use the Lunette cup! I was impressed. I picked the Lunette cup because the silicone doesn't have any toxic additives. It's BPA-free, latex-free, is made in Finland (super high standards), and complies with U.S. and Australian standards, is hypoallergenic, and free of heavy metals and phthalates. I also love Lunette's mission and values - they are committed to taking care of people and the planet! Read more about how they give back.
Health & Environmental Impact
The majority of tampons are made from conventionally grown and genetically modified cotton that has been sprayed with pesticides. Cotton is also extremely water-intensive. It takes 20,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton. The cotton used for tampons is often bleached and synthetic chemicals and fragrances are added. All of these toxins are absorbed by our bodies (the vagina is one of the most absorbent parts of the body). Plus the risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) from tampon use is a legitimate concern. Every year, American women throw away 7 billion tampons and 12 billion pads. The average woman will throw away 300 pounds of feminine products in her lifetime. Tampon applicators are also a common item found during beach cleanups. Mother Jones reports that during a 2014 beach cleanup of around 70 beaches, 3,000 plastic tampon applicators were collected. Marine animals often mistake plastics for food and starve to death, because the plastic obstructs their digestive tract.
Bleeding every month is expensive. According to Brooklyn, if a woman uses 12 tampons and four to five pads per period, that’s roughly $50 per year. By switching to a $25 menstrual cup, you could save $475 over ten years. That’s $1,187.50 over the next 25 years. It also really enrages my uterus that tampons and sanitary napkins in 37 states in America are considered a luxury item and taxed (sometimes over $.66 per box). But products like Rogaine and men's razors are tax-free. The tax on tampons and sanitary napkins is completely gender biased. Stop taxing my vagina!
I get a lot of questions about what it's like to use the cup, and wanted to share my personal experiences with you.
What cup do you use? I use the Lunette cup.
How long have you been using a menstrual cup? Over 2 years.
How long did it take you to get used to the cup? It took me two cycles. Inserting the cup can be a little tricky to get used to at first, but practice helps, and it's totally worth the adjustment period.
I find it hard to insert the cup. Any tips for making it easier/more comfortable? Yes! I use organic and unrefined coconut oil to lube up the cup, and that works great. Any non-toxic and aloe based lubricant is another option. Make sure you're using the right cup size, too!
How do you get the cup out? Breathe, relax, and go slow until you get the hang of it. I kegel the cup down and then gently pull on the silicone tab.
How do you clean the cup? Lunette recommends boiling their cup for 20 minutes before the first use. After your cycle is over, dip the cup in boiling water. I wash the cup in between uses with cold water first, and then warm water with non-toxic, unscented, and palm oil-free soap. It's best to avoid perfumed soaps with unknown ingredients to wash the cup. You don't want to throw off your PH or compromise the mucus membrane of your vagina.
Can you feel the cup? Nope! As soon as the cup is properly inserted, it's like it's not even there.
Can you leave it in overnight? Totally. however, I don't bleed a lot while I sleep so I prefer using my GladRag reusable cloth pads overnight.
Have you ever taken out the cup in a public restroom? Yep. When I was in an airport, I took out the cup, dumped the blood in the toilet, rinsed my cup out in the sink, and then put it back in my body. I personally have no qualms about doing this in public. I'm respectful, hygienic, and I'm practicing self-care. I don't think periods are gross or something to talk about in whispers- they are nothing to be ashamed of. As my boyfriend says, "periods are life, babe." It feels good being with a person who embraces my body just as much as I do. We are strong, badass, and beautiful, and most of us bleed, so let's embrace it and support each other.
Can you swim, bike, run, and workout in general? Definitely. I bike to work every day, go surfing, and do hot yoga while the cup is up. I would avoid doing headstands, as you don't want the contents of the cup to flow back into your uterus.
I have some leakage, what's up with that? Every body is slightly different, and depending on the position of your cervix during your period and the cup you're using, you could experience leakage. Leakage could also be a indicator that you need to empty the cup or go up a cup size. If you have a super heavy flow and are worried about leakage, wearing a thin reusable organic cotton pad can ease the mind. I haven't experienced leakage with the Lunette cup.
How often do you change it? It's safe to wear the Lunette cup (and most other menstrual cups) for up to 12 hours; however, I usually change mine after 8. It all depends on your flow. Once you've used the cup for a couple cycles, you'll be able to figure out the needs of your body.
Any other tips? I love having a bidet attachment, especially for washing up while on my period.
I find using the Lunette cup freeing - I don't even notice it's there. It's also convenient, and I don't have to stop what I'm doing and go to the store to buy tampons or pads. I've gotten to know my body better, and embrace my period. I mean, we can bleed for days on end and not die. That's pretty effin cool.
Do you use a menstrual cup? What are some of your thoughts about mensural cups or periods in general?