Facts remain facts: used pads will outlive not only us, but also our great-grandchildren. This is because they take hundreds of thousands of years to decompose. But what to do? How to replace pads and tampons if you want to live greener? We know the answer!
Despite the fact that menstrual cups have been around for a long time, many do not even know about their existence. The good news is that recently they have become more and more popular, and interest in them goes far beyond the zero-waste communities. Let’s figure out together what it is and what its advantages are.
What is a menstrual cup made of?
This remedy is a small container or barrier that is placed in the vagina to collect secretions. They are soft and flexible, disposable (which is not very environmentally friendly, but convenient), as well as reusable, made of latex, medical silicone or other material.
There are small and large sizes, as well as different shapes of the “tail”. And basically they are all the same.
How to use a menstrual cup
Everything is both simple and not very:
- Before first use, boil the menstrual cup in clean water for five minutes.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before the procedure.
- For insertion, roll up the menstrual cup in one of the convenient ways and, rolled up, insert it into the vagina, where it should fully open to its original state.
- The cup should be completely, along with the tail, located inside the vagina. If the tail gets in the way, it can be shortened.
- When full or after a maximum of 12 hours, remove the bowl. This should be done like this: gently squeeze the bottom and slowly pull the bowl out. If you can’t get the menstrual cup out, slowly and gently pull it up by the tail, and only then grab the bottom.
- Pour the secretions into the toilet, and then rinse the bowl first with cold, and then with warm water with an intimate hygiene product.
- After these procedures, the cup can be re-introduced.
- After the end of use, sterilize the bowl in boiling water and store in a cloth bag or a special container.
Benefits of menstrual cups
Here’s why you should replace your tampons and pads with a menstrual cup:
- It’s economical. Medical grade silicone menstrual cups can last up to 10 years if properly used and cleaned! They are not cheap, but this is a one-time purchase that will pay for itself with prolonged use.
- It’s eco-friendly. A menstrual cup reduces waste from used tampons and pads. Did you know that you use more than 10 thousand intimate hygiene products in your life? They are sent to the trash, because they are not recycled, and they pollute nature. And with a menstrual cup, there is no such problem — you can always hand it over for recycling.
- Convenient for travel. No need to carry a pack of pads or tampons with you. A menstrual cup takes up much less space in a suitcase.
- Comfortable. A menstrual cup is more comfortable than pads because it does not create a compress effect, does not cause irritation or diaper rash. It’s also more comfortable than a tampon, which can make you feel dry.
- 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 link between toxic shock and the use of menstrual cups, so they are much safer than tampons.
- Convenient to use. The menstrual cup is more capacious than tampons, so you won’t need to run to the bathroom as often: it can be changed at most once every 12 hours. Also, menstrual cups are suitable for those who play sports. They, unlike gaskets, are completely invisible.
Disadvantages of menstrual cups
There are always downsides to every remedy, and here are some of the things you may encounter once you start using a menstrual cup:
- It is not always possible to properly change a menstrual cup outside the home. After use, it needs to be washed, and not all toilets have a sink in the stall.
- You also need to learn how to insert and remove the menstrual cup, which also requires a small amount of time.
Total two disadvantages against six advantages. It seems the choice is obvious. But that’s not all the ways to replace tampons and pads. Let’s move on.
Reusable (fabric) pads
This is the perfect remedy for those who are unable to insert a menstrual cup, but who really want to take care of the planet even during their period. 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?
Mostly 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, due to which the pad does not float, absorbs well and is not visible under clothing.
There are both panty liners and coarse panty liners for heavy flow.
How to use fabric 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 removed before washing. They don’t smell because the discharge dries up.
After — just wash the pads and dry, and then you can use them again.
Benefits of reusable pads
- Comfortable to wear and use. Cloth pads are much more pleasant to the body than disposable pads. They are made from natural materials, and inside there are several layers of fabric, so the pads breathe, do not let liquid through and are usually very soft.
- No smell. The menstrual flow dries up rather than accumulates, so you end up with an odorless stain on the fabric.
- There is no greenhouse effect. Ordinary padding does not “breathe”, so a greenhouse effect occurs and a breeding ground for bacteria is created. Just imagine: this horror comes into contact with the mucous membrane of the genital organs and the bacteria can even spread throughout the body. Horror! But the fabric lining breathes well, so this effect will not be.
- Eco-friendly. Reusable pads are not made from plastic and petroleum products, and for sterility they are also disinfected before being sold. Not only are they good for the mucosa, but they will also last up to five years, and after use they can be safely disposed of.
- economically. Cloth pads are more expensive than regular pads, but they pay off very well, because you don’t have to buy a new pack every month! You will save a lot and can spend money on something more useful.
It turns out that there are many much more convenient ways to manage during menstruation. So don’t be afraid to experiment.