|Who says menstruation can't be fun?|
For those who are unfamiliar, the menstrual cup is exactly what it sounds like: it's a cup, for your menstrual blood. Typically made from flexible silicone but also available in latex or natural rubber, the cup is folded and then inserted into the vaginal canal, where it unfolds to create a seal with the inner wall of the vagina. When used correctly, the cup remains securely in place and collects menstrual fluid until it is removed to be emptied via a stem or nub at the base. Depending on the quantity of flow, the cup may be left in place for up to twelve hours at a time (that's what the pamphlet says, but I recommend 6-8 hours max), and may be worn safely during high activity and overnight.
Most menstrual cups run between 30 and 40 US dollars. One cup may be used for 5 years before replacement is recommended. They are typically available in two different sizes: a smaller size for women who have not had children, and a larger size for those who have.
There are a myriad of reasons to switch to a menstrual cup for your cyclical needs. It's cheaper, more convenient, and eliminates huge quantities of landfill waste. The menstrual cup is safer than tampons. It is not disruptive to the vaginal environment, nor does it scrape the wall of the vagina as tampons do. It also facilitates a better understanding of one's own cycle, as the quantity, consistency, and color of the flow may be observed.
However, as a long-time user and advocate of the menstrual cup, I will tell you plainly that, if you are going to make the switch, you must dispense with your squeamishness about menstrual blood. Every 6-8 hours when you empty your cup, you will dump the contents in the toilet, rinse the cup out in the sink, fold and reinsert. This sometimes involves a bit of blood on your hands. It also involves venturing inside of your vagina for both removal and insertion. You can do this. It's okay.
I have used my Diva Cup for 3+ years and never once considered going back. Do it for yourself. Do it for the planet.