Menstrual cups are a popular choice for today’s conscientious woman: they’re eco-friendly and non-toxic. But are they safe? Below, we’ll share the menstrual cup dangers we’ve come across so you can see why they might not be a good fit for you and your period.
Living a healthy and non-toxic lifestyle encompasses every area of your life. First you clean up your diet, then your cleaning and beauty supplies… and then you realize: what should I do about my period?
From organic cotton menstrual products to mama cloth, alternative choices abound. But how is a girl to choose? (For a really good rundown of your options, check out The Soft Landing’s Complete Guide to Non-toxic Period Products.)
You may be (rightly) concerned with exposing your most delicate of tissues to chlorine and other hormone-disrupting chemicals. It’s a good reason to give natural period products a try.
The first and simplest thing to try is organic tampons, since most of us are used to conventional tampons. They’re convenient, safer, and comfortable, but, of course, you’ll have to make a trip to the store every month and, heaven forbid, you’ll occasionally run out! (Paging your husband: please make your way to aisle 13; your wife’s on her period. Cue dying of embarrassment.)
You can also try mama cloth (aka reusable, washable pads). Mama cloth is eco-friendly (nothing to dispose of!), convenient (nothing to buy more of- it’s always there!), and inexpensive (buy once & done), but many women find it gross and uncomfortable, and hate having to wash it.
If you’ve been interested in trying a menstrual cup, you may be interested in some surprising (or not so surprising) menstrual cup dangers so you can decide if a menstrual cup is for you.
Menstrual cup dangers
1. Blood is terrifying.
You may have read about menstrual cups and thought they sounded great, except this: at some point, you’ll probably encounter horror stories of women in public bathrooms, blood covering their hands like a scene straight out of Shakespeare. How embarrassing! How gross! Plus, blood is terrifying.
Who wants to actually touch a bodily fluid? Shouldn’t those types of things be kept under wraps? Everyone knows women menstruate, but we shouldn’t talk about it, right?
Truth: even if you’re a private person, we shouldn’t be so afraid to talk about a natural occurrence for billions of women, that women miss out on solutions that might make their lives better.
Reality: it’s a little gross, but definitely no more gross than dealing with mama cloth, and not much different than dealing with tampons. Yeah, you might have to get to know your good ol’ bod a little more intimately, but that can be a good thing. Bonus: it’s kind of cool to be able to SEE how much blood you’re losing. You can’t really do that with any other period product, as the others absorb the fluid.
2. You may enjoy your menstrual cup so much, you forget you’re on your period.
What’s that? My period…? I think it was last week. Wait… did I ever take my cup out?
One of the major menstrual cup dangers is forgetting you’re wearing one. So comfortable, so conforming to your body, menstrual cups can easily be forgotten and left for days or weeks!
Reality: you’re not likely to forget about your menstrual cup… except at night when you can comfortably sleep without worrying about leaks… or running errands without making a pit stop.
3. The disposable menstrual product industry will suffer.
This may be the greatest menstrual cup danger of all. What will the disposable menstrual product industry do if women start learning they don’t have to run out for pads or tampons every month???
And what about all the poor landfills that will be missing literally TONS of products each year?
It’s estimated that approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are being sent to North American landfills annually. On an individual level, each of the approximately 73 million menstruating people in North America will throw away 16,800 disposable pads or tampons in their lifetime. These products require hundreds of years to biodegrade, particularly if wrapped in the plastic bag commonly provided for this purpose as part of their packaging. In fact, every piece of plastic ever made, still exists to this day. (source)
Wait… almost 17,000 disposable pads or tampons? PER PERSON?
Those poor, poor landfills to miss out on nearly 17,000 disposable products per woman who switches to a menstrual cup.
Reality: the ease of pulling out a menstrual cup when your flow arrives and safely tucking it back away til next month is much easier (and more cost effective) than having to buy and dispose of period products month after month.
Benefits of using a menstrual cup
For many women, there isn’t actually a downside to giving a menstrual cup a try. Yes, there’s a learning curve, but you’ll get the hang of it. Then you can experience tons of benefits, including:
- cost-effectiveness- You can buy one, inexpensive cup and then not have to buy anything else. The cup will last for years before you even have to think about another purchase.
- comfort- while the initial insertion can be a little messy, once done, menstrual cups can be much cleaner and more comfortable than mama cloth, as well as the disposable products you may have used in the past.
- safety- because menstrual cups are made of food-grade silicone, you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in your reproductive organs. No more worries about chlorine and pesticides!
Are menstrual cups comfortable? In a word: yes- once you get the hang of them. It’s important to choose the right one for your body, based on your flow and body size (hint: not all companies base size on whether or not you’ve had a baby!).
If you’re having trouble with getting your menstrual cup set just right, you are not alone.
This guide is an excellent resource to help you choose the right style, size, and fold for you.
Don’t have time to read a long, drawn-out guide? We like the Lena cup, which comes in two sizes.
The company bases sizing on more than just whether or not you’ve had a baby. If you’re petite, you may worry that choosing based on the fact that you’ve had vaginal birth(s) might leave you with too large a cup.
The small Lena cup may be perfect because it’s designed for first-time users and those with lighter flows.
Check out the Lena cup here.
Trying a menstrual cup can be so scary, it may take years to work up the nerve to try it! Don’t be so worried- be brave and choose a better way to deal with your period.
Those menstrual cup dangers? They’re all in your head. Give it a try and experience period freedom.
Oh- and be sure to share by pinning the above image or using one of our links so friends can be brave too!