In a world of fast fashion, palm oil and David Attenborough, I’m a typical millennial – swinging between being a vego-leaning reusable coffee cup owner and that drunk ordering chicken nuggets. But the news that the plastic in a packet of sanitary pads is equivalent to four single-use bags is sobering, even when it isn’t being delivered in Dave’s dulcet tones. Enter: the menstrual cup.
You probably remember it as the menstruation solution that elicited the loudest chorus of ‘eww’ during sex ed. Popularised around 20 years ago, the silicone ‘cup’ is designed to sit in your vaginal canal and collect, rather than absorb, your period blood. Presented with a solution that swerves the huge environmental impact, I decide to give it a go and start with a menstrual cup.
: Is It Safe To Have Sex While Wearing A Menstrual Cup?
My first impression is along the lines of ‘square peg; round hole’ – next to a tampon, it looks huge. I study diagrams before I feel confident enough to try it. The first time, I put it in too high. Since it works by forming a seal on your canal wall, this can lead to leaks.
I discover my error after a workout first thing and leaking all over my leggings (inserted correctly, a menstrual cup can be worn while you exercise). To be fair, the instructions specifically state not to put it in too high – it sits much lower than a tampon – and, with the help of an online tutorial, I get it right second time (I know because I can’t feel it at all). After a few bathroom checks, I feel pretty confident and leave it in all day at work, removing the need for a tampon-up-the-sleeve situation entirely. How often you empty it depends on your period – four hours for heavy, up to eight for light – and while I preferred to change it at home, it’s doable on the move – just empty it into the toilet and rinse before putting it back in.