It was about 5 years ago that I was reading every blog post and Facebook discussion I could find on the topic of ditching tampons for menstrual cups. I was dealing with some common period frustrations. Mostly related to overnight leaking and end-of-cycle dryness. It wasn’t that I was eager to switch up my period routine. Actually, it seemed easier to just keep using the same combo of tampons and pads that I had for the past 15 years. But I was a little bit curious after hearing about cups from some personal trainer friends.
Cups seemed “weird” in a way I couldn’t quite figure out, but I saw the same popular benefits emerging in every article I read. It soon became clear that cups were
- Better for the environment
- Way less expensive
- And the most practical overnight option
These were all great reasons and, yet, I still didn’t make the switch right away. I let some squeamish reservations creep up and wasn’t sure I was cut out for cup use after all. But that all changed after tampons made a summer vacation all but impossible.
Time for a Change
I’ve been a certified scuba diver for about 8 years. That’s when my mom and I got certified together and she’s been generous enough to take me on one dive trip each year (thanks mom!).
Somehow I’ve managed to be on my period on every. single. trip. How is that even possible? Whatever the reason, it meant that in addition to packing 50 pounds of dive gear, I was also packing boxes and boxes of tampons and pads.
On my first few trips, we would go out on a dive boat for 2-3 hours and then come back for a lunch break. I’d use the break to change tampons before one more afternoon dive. Changing tampons in a beach shack bathroom with a wet bathing suit to deal with isn’t the most fun, but it seemed manageable.
Things changed on the next summer’s dive trip. The hotel was far away from the reefs, which meant we left the property at 7:30am and didn’t return until 3:30 in the afternoon. We ate lunch on the tiny boat and our bathroom options were the small boat toilet or, well, the ocean.
My first day out was a heavy flow day and it was about as disastrous as expected. I didn’t want to change tampons on the boat so I just winged it and left one in the whole 8 hours. By the time I was peeling off my wetsuit that afternoon, I was dealing with “The Great Barrier Leak,” so to speak.
Yuck. Never again.
When I got home from that trip, I purchased a cup immediately, even though I was a full year away from my next diving adventure.
Switching for Good
Flash forward one year and it’s no surprise that spending all day out on the dive boat was no trouble with a cup. Unlike tampons, it’s safe to wear a cup for up to 12 hours. They also hold more liquid so I didn’t leak even on my heaviest days.
I learned another benefit too. You know that day where you think you’re going to start your period but you’re not quite sure? Usually I’d wear a panty liner on that day (because using a tampon before you start is a no-no), but that’s not an option under water.
I was able to put in my cup that morning and enjoy my time out and about all day, not worrying if I had started my period at some point in the day. When I removed my cup that night, it was news to me that I had started my period. It hadn’t affected my day at all!
Of course, the year in between those two trips was pretty great for cup wearing as well. It turned out cups were more comfortable than tampons for all of my more active hobbies like lifting weights, running, or going to a yoga class.
And now, almost 5 years later, there’s no way I’d ever switch back to tampons!
Are You Ready for your own Switch Story?
There are all sorts of good reasons to switch from tampons and pads to cups.
I hope by sharing my own personal reason for switching, you’ll think about things in your life that could be improved by using a menstrual cup.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a diver or out on the high seas. Whether you’re hiking from dawn ‘til dusk or just running errands all day on a Saturday, cups are the most convenient option.
If you’re looking to save money, reduce waste, or free up your day to think about something other than changing a tampon, cups are a great way to make your period a little less stressful.
By Megan Baird