Why I Ditched Tampons for Menstrual Cups

One of my goals for 2019 is to be less wasteful and reduce my carbon footprint, and I’ve already been working hard on a few things to do this. One of them being that I’m ditching disposable sanitary products like pads and tampons; and moving over to using menstrual cups.

Yeah, I had that same reaction that you’re probably having now… I thought they were weird, looked uncomfortable and possibly unsanitary. But I was oh so very wrong! I’m going to tell you all about why I think menstrual cups are great and why I’m going to continue to use mine.

There were some quite scary facts I learned that ultimately pushed me into ditching tampons and pads. 

Did you know:
  • Tampons and pads generate 200,000 tonnes of waste a year and are 90% plastic.
  • An average woman throws away 125 to 150kg of sanitary products in their lifetime.
  • In 2010, a UK beach clean up found 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline.
  • In the UK, 2 billion period products are flushed down the toilet a year.
  • A years’ worth of disposable period products leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kg of CO2 equivalents.
That’s shocking, isn’t it? I’ve been using tampons and pads for 15 years and didn’t realise I was doing so much damage to the environment. I started researching different re-usable and less wasteful period products and menstrual cups kept coming up. I watched YouTube reviews, read blog posts, and looked into all the different versions.

There are lots of different brands, types, shapes and sizes of menstrual cups to fit all types of vaginas. In the end I did an online quiz and looked at some comparison charts and decided the Saalt Cup would be a good place to start as someone with a high cervix, medium to heavy flow and my current activity levels.

The Saalt Cup can last for up to 10 years, so a heck of a lot less waste. It’s also BPA free, latex free and made from medical grade silicone. It’s non-toxic, unlike tampons and pads. It promotes the natural PH of your vagina and doesn’t cause dryness like tampons do. They can also be worn for up to 12 hours without emptying and last as long as 4 tampons – a massive win for someone as busy as me!

I’ve worn my Saalt Cup for one cycle already and I’m already happier using it than I was with tampons and pads. It’s easy to insert with different folding techniques. I use the C-fold which is where you basically fold the cup in half and it pops open when inside. Some people use the 7-fold or the punch down method. Once it’s inside I genuinely can’t feel it – I’ve been to the gym, worked and slept with it in and I’ve not leaked once. It genuinely does last 12 hours too, and I empty it on a morning when I shower and at night before bed… other than that I forget it’s even there.

The only bit I struggled to get used to was the removal of the cup. I have a high cervix, so it rides up a little. It means I have to work a bit harder to get it out by wiggling it down before I can squeeze it to break the suction seal and pull it out. I have found myself panicking a bit when trying to remove it, which probably doesn't help as it causes your muscles to contract rather than relax. I tried so hard on one occasion it made me quite swollen, but I'm determined to make it work for my next cycle. Between emptying, I just rinse it with water like recommended and then at the end of each cycle you can sanitise the cup by boiling it in hot water for 3-5 minutes or using isopropyl alcohol to wipe it down.

Photo from www.putacupinit.com
Overall, I’m really impressed. I love that I can’t feel it and can forget about my period for 12 hours. Well, forget as much as I can when I don’t have cramps. But not having to change a tampon every 4 hours is a dream. I feel better knowing I’m reducing my carbon footprint too. If you haven’t considered menstrual cups, you should certainly look into it. If cups aren’t for you, there are lots of other reusable options out there as well!