What is a menstrual cup and why on earth should I care?
Hey folks. I’m going to tell you why we would all do well to know about menstrual cups. The short story is, they are a reusable alternative to tampons. Why should this be on your radar? Are you a woman, or a person with a wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter? This is a smart little tool to manage menstrual blood that lends itself perfectly to prepping. It can be used for years, boiled to clean, weighs almost nothing, and is tiny to pack. All that, and no one ends up covered in blood.
I see three main reasons to use a menstrual cup. It makes a household less dependent on regular access to products, it saves money and waste, and is good for vaginal health.
The average woman has about 500 menstrual cycles in her lifetime and that means lots of money spent on products that require replenishment. She will spend about $2,200 on tampons and panty liners in her lifetime. To free up that money for other things, I propose using a menstrual cup, not only as an emergency backup, but as the default way to deal with menstrual blood.
The saved money could then be allocated to preps focused on less likely situations. I’m not going to say that Canada geese are plotting a violent beastial takeover. I will say that they look at humans sideways, shit everywhere, and are needlessly dickish, such that I can only assume there is some intentional intimidation going on. Point being, now you have freed up money to either put toward your 15th flashlight, or beastial take over preps. Those are your two choices.
Now, I feel the most applicable perk to preppers, is an increase in self-reliance. Personally, I decided to try a menstrual cup to reduce the number of products I needed to buy. I don’t like the idea of being dependent on so many things that can run out. Anytime I can decrease that dependence, I feel a little more stable.
Lastly, caring for vaginal health is especially important if one can't access a gynecologist for annual exams or treatment for infections. A cup doesn’t dry out the vagina or affect its ph level the way tampons can. This means fewer infections and a more happy feeling vagina, and that is no small thing. I would venture to say that happy feeling vaginas would benefit most people, in one way or another.
I’ve tried a few different brands of cups. There is a learning curve with these, and it will be different for each person, depending on the shape of their body and the cup they try. The cups are made of silicone and have a conical shape, with a slightly rigid rim on the open end. You fold the cup like a taco, insert it so that it is completely inside, where it will pop open and form a seal with the walls of the vagina, thus catching the blood. You can run, swim and sleep while wearing one, for up to 12 hours, or as few as 4, depending on flow. Happily, you can barely feel that it is there, if at all.
The first cup I tried was the Diva Cup. It’s Canadian made, costs $24 on Amazon currently, and tends to get very positive reviews. However, I experienced lots of leaks. But I knew to expect this as a beginner learning to use it, so I experimented with my folding technique and how far I inserted it, but couldn’t get the leaks to stop.
Next I tried the Lena cup, which is made in the USA, and costs $25 dollars currently on Amazon. Its shape varied from the Diva cup slightly, but was still an upright conical shape. My experience with it was similar to the Diva Cup, leaky. So with both the Diva and Lena, I ended up wearing a liner with the cup, to handle leaks. I was looking to have zero need to buy products each month and zero waste. This meant the Diva and Lena cups were both fails.
I decided to try the Fun Cup, with a notably different shape from the other two. Still conical, but curved. It’s made by Fun Factory, a German company that makes sex toys. (So, if you are popping over to their site to check out the cup, know that you will encounter bright colored sex toys. It’s also available on Amazon, which is distinctly less fun and colorful.) This cup is sold in pairs and comes with a travel/ storage bag with a magnetic closure. A magnetic closure, for Pete’s sake. It’s cool. It costs $40 for the two cups and the bag.
The Fun Cup was the big winner for me. And having two, you can keep one cup in the storage bag and throw it in a purse, a backpack or glove box of your car. The other can be kept at home or in your vagina, a great place for putting things.
If you are interested in using a cup, or think a woman in your life would want to, consider addressing it now. In the same way you practice with your camp stove to make sure you know how to light it and cook on it, these cups need to be practiced with. It takes time to experiment with technique and placement. Better to get comfortable and competent now, before you are stressed, dirty and bloody. So, fold it up, cram it in there, and prepare yourself.