It’s easy to make the switch to more eco-friendly sanitary products
Megan, 21, is a student studying human geography, which includes a focus on areas such as current affairs and sustainability. She made the switch to a NuFlo menstrual cup while on her travels. Here she explains why:
“I was inspired to move to a menstrual cup before I went travelling to central America. I would be travelling by coach around the countries I visited, with journeys that can surpass 16 hours — not ideal for a woman in a hot climate and on her period. If I were to use a tampon I could risk TSS; if I were to use a pad I knew things could, in other words, become a bit ‘gross’. I planned to explore endlessly in my two months of travelling and didn’t want two weeks of bleeding to have any impact on my experience whatsoever. So I decided to use a menstrual cup on the trip as an easy, hygienic, sustainable and lightweight way to travel around without weighing my backpack down.”
Do you think there is a preconceived perception of menstrual cups?
“I do believe there is a perception that menstrual cups are just for hippies who want to save the world and can at times even be considered ‘dirty’(!). As well as this I’ve noticed lots of women have a fear of leaking. I understand these ideas, but they cannot be further from the truth.
I believe the reason people think they could be ‘dirty’ is the fact that it sits inside you all day and the idea of removing a menstrual cup filled with blood puts a lot of women off. It’s true it’s rawer and might not feel as ‘sanitary’ as using a tampon which you throw away in a split second. However, it’s worth getting used to and comfortable with the more animalistic sides of your body in order to know it better. I’ve found that since using a menstrual cup I’m more perceptive of maintaining a healthy flora.”
Where do you think women are lacking in their education of period products?
“Women are lacking in their education so much. At school I was only ever taught how to use a pad. I knew nothing about other options until I explored or heard via word of mouth. Menstrual cup brands however have done a good job of making it easy for newbies to learn how to use a period cup and which size to get. Traditionally girls are also getting advice from their mothers who have most likely only ever used pads and tampons in their lifetimes. As we’re traditionally used to using pads and tampons we’ve learnt to overlook any negative side effects of using them. We overlook or buy into sales of single-use plastic tampons and pads, continuously re-buying and stocking up on them. Women need to be taught that: menstrual cups can be cleaned easily and are not soaked in fragrance which could potentially impact your natural PH; they don’t leave any stray fibres behind; they rarely leak once you use the right size and know how to correctly insert them; you can have a lie in or go about your 12 hour day without fear of TSS and other bacterial infections.”
Any advice you would give to women who are cup newbies?
“Most importantly, I’d suggest making sure you have the right size for yourself by following the basic guidelines. I recommend once using a menstrual cup to practice or watch a video on how to insert and remove cups correctly. I’d also suggest wearing a pantyliner the first few times in case you’re scared of leakages and maybe carry a spare pad or tampon and knickers with you, if you really want to be backed up in case of an accident or misfortune. I’d also suggest putting your cup in first thing in the morning after showering. If you’re nervous about mess or blood remove it when you’re in the shower in the evening. Also just keep it dry and clean otherwise.”