You may think that my frugal thinking has gone a little far but hear me out….
The traditional tampon is a very expensive “necessity” that women around the globe sometimes have to struggle with in order to buy on a monthly basis. A box of tampons and a pack of liners or pads can set you back around $10 bi-monthly. That works out at approximately $60 per year- all which could be much better spent.
Price aside, tampons have a lot of risks associated with them. Looking at a pack of “Tampax Compax” that I have to hand, there is a warning that:
“Tampons are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death.”
Furthermore, there is a leaflet inside the pack explaining the scary symptoms of this disease! This info can also be found in the TSS & Tampon Safety section of the Tampax website.
Tampons are also related with other health issues. Health Canada says:
“Tampon use is associated with an increased risk of vaginal dryness and vaginal ulcers, especially if the tampons that are used are more absorbent than is needed to control menstrual flow. There is also a risk of serious hygiene problems if tampons are forgotten and not removed on time”.
Expensive and risky, and full of hassle. It’s a wonder anyone uses them!
So What is the Alternative?
I present the reusable Menstrual Cup!
It’s quite a neat device. Although its been around since the early 1930’s, it has not yet fully caught on to consumer tastes.
Yet as far as I can tell, this is the most frugal, the most environmentally-conscious and possibly the most hygienic menstrual off-the-shelf product available.
Various companies make them, but they all work in the same way. There is a barrage of positive, glowing reviews for this product across the web.
How does this Menstrual Cup work?
The menstrual cup is easily inserted at the base of the vagina. Its bell shape acts exactly as you would imagine: It captures any menstrual blood that flows from the vagina comfortably (some women disagree they are comfortable), cleanly and without leakage (No more pads to accompany tampons!). When the cup is full, you remove it, empty and clean it before reinserting.
Why would you use the Menstrual Cup instead of traditional tampons or pads?
This list really could go on and on. With a frugal focus, here are some of the main points.
- At an average cost of around $25-$40 per cup, and the cup’s life span of up to 10 years, your savings could be around $550 over the ten year life.
- They can be worn for up to 12 hours, depending on how heavy the flow
- Due to the fact that you would only discard this recyclable device once every 10 years, the environmental impacts are far less than traditional disposable methods
- You can safely wear the Menstrual Cup while you sleep
- Its concept is that Menstrual cups catch and contain. They don’t suck (or absorb) like tampons. Thus there is no interference with the body’s individual menstrual flow (i.e. the risk of drying out the vagina’s natural fluids and defenses).
- They don’t have to be removed every visit to the bathroom, only when they need to be emptied and cleaned.
- Many have markers to allow you to measure how much menstrual blood is cycling. This can be helpful monitoring your health in some circumstances.
How and Where can I get myself one of these snazzy Menstrual Cups?
There are quite a few brand choices and they are made of various materials from natural rubber to silicon. Different brands may suit different people’s preferences. You should also pay attention to size (check out the multi-brand size chart here). This is a possible 10 year purchase, so it’s worth researching and reading the websites of the manufacturer.
Some of the major brands include: Mooncup (The Keeper), DivaCup, Ladycup, Lunette, Femmecup and Miacup.
Diva Cup is the only cup approved by both the FDA and Health Canada, but it is recommended for change once per year. Mooncup seems to be the most popular brand and is FDA approved, lasting up to 10 years-definitely more frugal!
You should be able to buy Menstrual Cups at local pharmacy’s for around $30-$35. However, as always, I recommend saving even more money and buying online.
I found them on Amazon for some great prices:
Diva Cup On Amazon (affiliate link) – Only $29.99 with free delivery.
The Keeper Moon Cup on Amazon (affiliate link) – Only $23.49 with free delivery.
Disclaimer: Ok, so I am a man so you may think I have no business talking on these things and of course you may be right. I did talk a lot with my partner about this post and tried to make sure that I represent this alternative fairly. I would however LOVE your thoughts and opinions, also other alternatives and advice.
A tweet, facebook like, stumble or add to any social network would be great, if you like the post
Menstrual Cups page on Wikipedia – Contains a little more info and a great multi-brand size chart.
Planned Parenthood – They have great information on all sexual and reproductive issues.
Menstural Cup post on TFP – I got some cool users’ opinions and information from here. Worth reading, for sure.
MoonCup – The official site. Has some great information.
DivaCup - The official site. Full of useful information.