More and more, we hear about the negative effects of tampons on your health because of their toxic components. But women do not want to give up their comfort. What options do we have?
Let’s learn about the menstrual cup, an ecological, economical, comfortable, and overall, healthy, alternative to tampons.
Risks of Tampons
Tampons have some toxic substances among their ingredients.
One of the ingredients is asbestos, a mineral substance that increases menstrual bleeding, causing more use of tampons, and it is also carcinogenic. Because it is sold to ingest orally, it is not considered illegally, but since we put tampons inside of us, in contact with your uterus’ mucus, your body directly absorbs it into the blood stream.
Another toxic ingredient is dioxin, which is used to whiten the tampon fibers. This is also potentially carcinogenic and can change your immune and reproductive system, besides being a factor that can cause endometriosis. Various studies and even organizations have already declared that being in repetitive contact with this substance is dangerous.
Lastly, tampons also include rayon, an absorbent element that can cause toxic shock.
So why aren’t tampons prohibited?
Since tampons are considered as products that are not consumed, the toxicity that they can cause is not taken into account. However, there are many women that use them frequently, and we just have to calculate approximately how many hours you spend using a tampon throughout your life in order to understand that continuous contact would be enough to guarantee that them not having any toxic or potentially dangerous substance.
On the other hand, pads also contain dioxin, but at least in their case they don’t come in as direct contact with your vagina.
In the ecological market, you can find some tampons that are made with 100% natural cotton with no whitening processes, but the negative side is that they tend to be expensive.
The Menstrual Cup
Fortunately, we have an alternative for conventional tampons and pads as well: the menstrual cup. It is made with silicon and has the shape of a cup. It is flexible, which allows you to bend it easy to put it in your vagina. Once it is inside, it collects the blood without absorbing it. When you take it out, empty it into the toilet and wash and clean it with soap and water, and then put it back in. After your period, you can sterilize it well by boiling it with water and save it until your next period. You can also clean it occasionally with hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or natural soap.
Advantages of the menstrual cup
- It is ecological, because it is made with silicon and lasts for approximately 10 years
- Economical, because it does not need to be thrown away after each use
- It is healthy, because it does not contain any toxic substance
- It is practical, because you can use it in the same way as a tampon without having to make a change
- Helps you prevent infections like cystitis, unlike pads
- Cups have an approximate capacity of 30 mL, which is more or less a third of a woman’s total blood during menstruation, which is why you don’t need to change it as frequently as a tampon or pad
- It helps you relate healthily with your menstruation, without taboos, and know your amount and natural rhythm of menstruation.
Types of Cups
There are various brands of menstrual cups on the market. You can find them easily in natural product stores or on the internet.
In general, there are two sizes. One for younger women or who haven’t had children, and another that is slightly bigger, for older women or who are mothers.
How Are they Used?
When you buy the menstrual cup, you will find detailed instructions inside, although there are also videos on the internet that will help you. Basically, you will squeeze the wide part of the cup in order to introduce it right. Once it is inside, let it go so that it opens. In order to take it out, gently pull it from its base.
It may be a little difficult at first, but you will quickly learn how to do it easily.
Images courtesy of Zane Selvans and Greencolander