Facts remain facts: used pads will survive not only us, but also our great-grandchildren. All because they decompose for hundreds of thousands of years. But what to do? How to replace pads and tampons if you want to live more ecologically? We know the answer!
Despite the fact that menstrual cups have existed for a long time, many people do not even know about them. It is gratifying that recently they are becoming more and more popular, and interest in them goes far beyond zero-waste communities. Let’s figure out together what it is and what are its advantages.
What is the menstrual cup made of?
This device is a small container or barrier that is placed in the vagina to collect discharge. They are soft and flexible, disposable (which is not very environmentally friendly, but convenient), and reusable, made of latex, medical silicone or other material.
There are small and large sizes, and also have different forms of “tail”. And basically they are all the same.
How to use a menstrual cup
Everything is simple, and not very:
- Before the first use, boil the menstrual cup in clean water for five minutes.
- Before the procedure, wash your hands thoroughly.
- For insertion, turn the menstrual cup in one of the convenient ways and, folded, insert it into the vagina, where it should fully open to its original state.
- The cup should be completely, together with the tail, located inside the vagina. If the tail is in the way, it can be shortened.
- As it fills, or after a maximum of 12 hours, remove the cup. This should be done like this: gently squeeze the bottom and slowly pull the bowl out. If you cannot reach the menstrual cup, slowly and carefully pull it up by the tail, and only then grab the bottom.
- Pour the secretion into the toilet, and then wash the bowl first with cold, then with warm water with a means for intimate hygiene.
- After these procedures, the cup can be inserted again.
- After use, sterilize the bowl in boiling water and store in a cloth bag or a special container.
Advantages of menstrual cups
Here’s why you should replace tampons and pads with a menstrual cup:
- It is economical. Menstrual cups made of medical silicone with proper use and cleaning can be used for up to 10 years! They are not cheap, but this is a one-time purchase that will pay for itself with long-term use.
- It is ecological. A menstrual cup reduces waste in the form of used tampons and pads. Did you know that you use over 10,000 intimate hygiene products in your lifetime? They are sent to the landfill because they are not recycled and pollute the environment. And there is no such problem with the menstrual cup — you can always hand it in for recycling.
- Convenient for trips. No need to carry around a pack of pads or tampons. A menstrual cup takes up much less space in a suitcase.
- Comfortable. A menstrual cup is more convenient than pads, because it does not create a compress effect, does not cause irritation or diaper rash. And it is also more convenient than a tampon, which can cause a feeling of dryness.
- Safely. Medical silicone, from which menstrual cups are made, is hypoallergenic and does not affect the microflora of the vagina. And scientists have not found a connection between toxic shock and the use of menstrual cups, so they are much safer than tampons.
- Convenient to use. The menstrual cup is wider than tampons, so you won’t need to run to the bathroom as often: it can be changed no more than once every 12 hours. Menstrual cups are also suitable for those who do sports. Unlike gaskets, they are completely invisible.
Disadvantages of menstrual cups
Each device has its drawbacks, and here are some that you may encounter after starting to use a menstrual cup:
- It is not always possible to correctly change the menstrual cup outside the home. It must be washed after use, and not all toilets have a sink in the cabin.
- You also need to learn how to insert and remove the menstrual cup, which also takes a little time.
Just two disadvantages against six advantages. The choice seems obvious. But these are not all ways to replace tampons and pads. Let’s move on.
Reusable (fabric) pads
This is the perfect tool for those who do not know how to insert a menstrual cup, but really want to take care of the planet even during menstruation. A reusable pad is not at all a diaper or a rag, as in the USSR, but a modern and high-tech product.
What are reusable pads made of?
Basically, reusable pads are made of cotton and fleece, some have a special membrane fabric inside. It does not allow moisture to pass through, but it “breathes” perfectly, as a result of which the pad does not steam, absorbs well and is not visible under clothes.
There are both daily and coarse pads for heavy discharge.
How to use cloth pads
Everything is simple: as usual. They are attached to the linen with the help of buttons, and after use they are folded into an envelope, placed in a special bag and taken away for washing. They do not smell because the discharge dries.
After that, just wash the pads and dry them, and then you can use them again.
Advantages of reusable pads
- Comfortable to wear and use. Cloth pads are much nicer to the body than disposable pads. They are made of natural materials, and inside there are several layers of fabric, so the pads really breathe, do not let liquids pass and are usually very soft.
- There is no smell. Menstrual secretions dry up instead of accumulating, so that we end up with an odorless stain on the cloth.
- There is no greenhouse effect. An ordinary gasket does not “breathe”, so a greenhouse effect occurs and a nutrient environment is created for the reproduction of bacteria. Just imagine: this horror comes into contact with the mucous membrane of the genital organs and the bacteria can even spread throughout the body. Terrible! But the fabric pad breathes perfectly, so there will be no such effect.
- Ecologically. Reusable pads are not made from plastic or petroleum products, and for sterility, they are also disinfected before sale. They are not only useful for the mucous membrane, but also last up to five years, and after use they can be safely disposed of.
- Economically. Cloth pads are more expensive than ordinary pads, but they are well worth it, because you don’t need to buy a new pack every month! You will save significantly and can spend money on something more useful or pleasant.
It turns out that there are a lot of convenient ways to do without pads and tampons during menstruation. So don’t be afraid to experiment.