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Well EmpowHER readers, it is time to start a new adventure. When I first began writing, I recounted my personal experiences researching and testing out birth control options. I lead you through food adventures exploring potential overlaps between healthy and affordable diets. I even snuck ridiculous references to my own sex life into these articles (see if you caught them…) much to my father’s embarrassment! Now I’m ready to take another dive into a realm of women’s health currently unfamiliar to me; alternative menstrual products. And you’re coming with me! Think of this exploration as a journey into the vagina. We’ll all learn together!
For several years I’ve been very interested in the menstrual cup but procrastinated fully investigating it. After beginning preliminary research, I can’t believe I waited so long!
First a brief overview: The idea of a menstrual cup has actually been around since the 1930s. Like tampons, they were developed as an alternative to the bulky buckle-on pads women wore to stem their flows around the turn of the century. Somehow, these cups were lost in the shuffle and only re-gained popularity recently in hippie hotspots and communities of avant-garde women’s health enthusiasts.
Basically, the product is a small cup you insert into your lower vagina (similar placement to a tampon). The cups are made of a hypo-allergenic material and designed in different sizes to fit a woman’s body at every age and stage. Just like tampons and pads, there are actually several different brands and types of menstrual cups to investigate. Some are disposable, (ex: Softcup, Instead) but most are meant to be re-used (ex: Mooncup, Divacup, the Keeper).
These reusable cups are awesome for several reasons:
1. They save you money. Think for a second how much money you spend each year on tampons or pads – close to $100, right? Imagine what you could do with all that money instead. (In my case – pay rent! Relatively important.) If economic downturn isn’t a good reason to research cost-cutting strategies, nothing is.
2. They reduce the amount of waste you produce. How many tampons or pads do you use during each period? Maybe 20-30?