As we find ourselves amidst an environmental crisis, a lot of us might be trying to hop on the eco-friendly bandwagon as much as we possibly can. As someone who eats my greens, smokes my greens (😉) and avoids unnecessary single-use plastic, it was about time that I started protecting mother nature in her prime time…my period. That’s why I decided to switch up my menstrual habits and test out some reusable period pants and a menstrual cup to see if an eco-friendly period is as realistic as it is ideal. We also spoke to Ida from OrganiCup to discuss the benefits of opting for a more sustainable period…
Most of my friends’ first reaction when they saw the menstrual cup, much like mine, was “how the fuck does that fit in your vagina?” “does it not get stuck up there?” “it freaks me out”. As someone who has used tampons a maximum of five times in my whole life, I was pretty intimidated by this phallic-looking cup that was somehow going to sit all up in my grill for hours on end. But I’d heard only great things and the prospect of no longer bleeding through a sanitary pad every couple of hours was highly enticing.
I’ve used them both for three cycles now and oh my wowza, they’ve changed my life. If I knew that I could’ve had periods like this since I was first visited by mother nature many years ago, then my teenage years would’ve been bliss. I’m honestly so excited about how easy and relaxed my periods now feel, I get so happy knowing that it doesn’t have to affect me the way it used to.
Before I first went on contraception, and since going off it two years ago, my periods have been super heavy. I was changing my pad every hour and would be up all night making trips to the toilet so that I wouldn’t overflow. Cuddling my boyfriend through the night would make me conscious in case we woke up in a pool of blood, which did happen once…but yeah, period’s come with a lot of emotional and physical baggage, so constantly fretting about bleeding through everything just isn’t what we need on top of all that, is it!
It took a bit of trial and error for me to get used to, but after that it’s easy peasy. You can pop it up there in the morning and not think about it until the afternoon/evening, you can sleep in it and not stress about Toxic Shock Syndrome, in fact there are no health risks that come with it at all.
The main reason why I could never wear tampons in the past was because of the inflammation it caused to my belly and the constant tingling/burning sensation that would linger for as long as it was inside of me. Pad’s were always my first option, but I wasn’t exactly satisfied with those either as I’m super heavy and they end up feeling like a wet nappy. But luckily the menstrual cup works for me!
As for the reusable pants…they are an absolute period hack in my opinion. I’ve been using the ModiBodi pants when I sleep and they are a miracle. They’re super comfy and, considering my heavy flow, they’ve never leaked. You can wear them throughout the day too, but I’m a thong girl and prefer to just cosy up in them at night.
We were lucky enough to speak to Ida from Organicup who gave us a little low down on what the menstrual cup hype is all about…
How did OrganiCup and the idea of creating an eco-friendly sanitary product alternative come about?
Well, the menstrual cup was actually invented in the 1930s, but we came across it in 2012 in an article series in a Danish national newspaper about the benefits of using the menstrual cup. We had never heard of anyone using it and, with all it’s benefits, this was kind of mind boggling to us…when you consider the amount of waste that’s created each month by disposable period products, the chemicals they contain that we put inside our bodies and that pollute our planet, and all the girls around the world, not just in developing countries, that stay away from school because they can’t afford period products or because they’re ashamed of their period.
What are the key issues around mainstream tampons and sanitary products?
Everyone should use the period product they’re comfortable with, that’s the most important thing to us, and cups are not for everyone. But I think the major issue is the waste single use products create and then there’s the health-related issue…some pads and tampons contain glue, perfume, etc. and they not only absorb blood, but also natural and necessary vaginal secretions.
What are the benefits of using more eco-friendly options, such as the organicup?
Well unlike disposable period products, the OrganiCup is reusable for years and it has a minimal impact on the environment compared to tampons and pads. The lifespan of the cup means potentially saving the environment the packaging and material waste of more than 2400 pads or tampons per user. To put that into context, the OrganiCup will save the environment for one truckload of waste in 10 years for every single person who switches to a cup.
Have you seen an increase in the amount of people using menstrual cups?
Absolutely, we are all becoming increasingly aware of what we put on and inside our bodies, and this is also reflected in our interest in sustainable period products- why should period products pollute our planet and contain harmful chemicals when it can be avoided?
What are the benefits of the menstrual cup (environmental and personal health)?
For sure, that it creates less waste, that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or mess with your pH value, but also that it’s super convenient, you can use it for up to 12 hours, do sports with it, sleep with it, swim with it- simply on your period without a worry.
Does a more sustainable period sound like something you could get on board with?
Here’s some of our favourite sustainable period products:
Happy International Menstrual Hygiene Day!