It wasn’t until I was 15 that Aunty Flo first came to visit. While she doesn’t cause me days of pain and cramps oh boy does she mean business. This heavy flow of mine made me forever conscious of being protected. Pads were never enough and would sometimes move around in my underwear so tampons were my best friend. I was always the girl who carried spares around as well because I was constantly afraid of leakage. It also meant that while I was curious about re-usable products I was reluctant to trust them. How could that tiny cup contain my blood? How would a reusable pad not start to smell and be noticed by others?… What if I attract bears!?
Why is it important to talk about period products on a blog about ethical lifestyle? Well, according to Bustle, menstruating women experience around 450 periods and goes through 11,000 tampons and pads in their lifetime. Each of these tampons and pads comes with a plastic wrapper and with more than 12 million females in Australia alone these things add up fast.
Let’s also think about how many of these products get wrongfully flushed down our loos and go straight in our beautiful oceans. 1.5 billion sanitary products are flushed down the toilet every year, and if not there, they end up in
Time to switch to reusables.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I took the plunge and bought my first reusable period product, a menstrual cup from Juju. Since then I have tried reusable pads as well as period underpants and finally, I think it is time to share my experiences. Some of them good, some of them bad, all of them bloody. Let’s begin.
I have so far tried two brands: Juju and Lunette. The Juju cup was my first and is a made from a clear medical grade silicone and very flexible. I bought model 1 which is recommended for women under 30 who have not given birth. There are four different sizes and you can use their guide to work out which one is best for you. Most of the time it worked perfectly and while I did struggle to insert the cup at first, I got the knack of it and find it easy to take out while in the shower (where I can easily wash it out, wash myself and replace the cup) and also in a toilet (as long as there is a sink in the cubicle so I can clean up).
I actually find that this means I stay a lot cleaner and feel fresher than when using tampons as I make sure to wash myself and the cup with every use. At the beginning of each period, you also boil your cup in water to make sure it is sanitary. One of my early thoughts was that I may be grossed out when confronted with my own blood but actually, I feel closer to my own body and more in touch with what it is going through. This is the way it was meant to be.
Like I said most months the juju cup is perfect, but there are occasions where I insert it wrong, or for whatever reason a trickle of blood escapes, and so, for this reason, I wanted to try a second cup. This time I opted for Lunette. The cup is slightly larger, thicker (harder to bend) and is purple instead of transparent. Because of the thickness it proved slightly harder to insert but I was able to get the hang of it. For a while, this cup was my
Changing on the go
I work in a building that makes this quite easy, and at home, it is also fine. Trains and planes for example also always have cubicles with sinks too so I find traveling with the cups stress-free. In other scenarios, I often look for large toilets or disabled toilets as these are always self-contained.
Now that I have two cups, I will carry the spare with me in a little silky bag that came with it. Normally, I have no need for the spare as I am able to wash out and change the original cup throughout the day. But just in case I find myself needing to change and cannot find a private sink I like to have the spare. In that scenario I would go to a regular toilet, empty the cup and wash clean as much as possible with toilet paper (or a wipe if they are in my bag) and swap the cups. I put the used cup in the other cups little bag or carry a spare bag with me and make sure to wash them both well when I get home. Sort of hard to describe but I hope that makes sense.
One great thing about these cups is that they can contain a great deal more blood than I realized. While I used to go through 3 tampons a day, I can confidently wear my cup throughout my entire work-day if needed. The maximum capacity for my Juju cup is 22ml and for the Lunette is 25ml.For health and safety reasons it is not
Each cup should be boiled before and after use (not each time you use it, just the beginning and end of your period) for an amount of minutes specific to the cup (my juju cup is left in water for around 3 minutes while the lunette is soaked for 5) and use clean water to wash when changing. While I do not often use soap, Juju
There have been a few occasions where I had to use tampons in the past few months and each time realised just how much I hated them. The plastic wrappers, the rough feel of the cotton, how quickly they seemed to be full and leak into my knickers. Menstrual cups are definitely here to stay.
How to pick your first menstrual cup (Video by Precious Stars Pads)
How to apply
Negatives to consider:
– Occasionally leaking does still occur and so when I know my period is heavy I often reusable pads or period underwear as well. I have covered these in another blog post here.
– The price of a cup is around $50, the same as 112 regular sized organic cotton tampons from TOM (a good choice if you still want to use tampons) and since you definitely cannot return a cup if you have inserted it and it doesn’t fit I completely understand the worry of spending a large amount of money on something that may not work for you. I took that risk and it paid off BUT in the meantime I discovered the size guide from Juju and this incredible youtube channel that gave me a lot more detail and confidence so I
Why I love them:
– I complained in the negatives that they are expensive but actually, it is a product I can use every day of my period for years and after only six months (or less in my case) it pays for itself. So to
– Application (while sometimes tricky) is always smooth and never causes irritation.
– No more walking to the toilet with a bag… I know it may be a silly reason but I don’t need the whole office to know my cycle. Although I would sometimes hide the product in my pockets or even my boot (pro-tip right there)
– I love how fresh I feel all day and don’t worry about leaks or smells.
– It can be left in for 8 – 12 hours so great for sleeping and busy days.
– You can wear them in the sea! and with no risk of a pesky tampon string sneaking out of your bikini.
I appreciate that a cup is not perfect for everyone. But it’s perfect for me. I also use period underwear and reusable cotton pads on their own, or as a second line of protection during my period. Learn more about these here.
And check out heaps of ethical period options here.
There are affiliate links used in this blog post, which means that if you choose to use them and make a purchase I may make a small commission at no expense to you. A huge to