Tampons are by far the most popular period product on the market today. They have a lot going for them. Tampons…
- Work well at preventing leaks
- Are convenient, and it’s easy to carry a couple of them with you when you’re not at home
- Can be disposed of very easily
- Are readily available at your local store or online
However, they also come with some significant negatives to them, including the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, toxic chemicals, the waste they create, as well as the expense.
The good news is that there is a better, more natural alternative: the menstrual cup. Let’s get into some details about why you might consider ditching the tampons and making the switch to a cup.
Reason #1: Toxic Chemicals
Many popular tampon brands contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals in them. Phthalates and dioxins are the main concerns. Even though the amounts are small, exposure to this stuff can add up over time, leading to some serious health effects.
A big part of the problem is that many governments don’t require manufacturers to disclose what’s in tampons and disposable pads. For example, the FDA in the USA considers tampons to be medical devices, which is how companies are able to not tell consumers about these toxins in their products.
What about menstrual cups? You’ll be well on your way to a toxic chemical free period experience! The top-quality ones are made from medical grade silicone which is safe to have inside your body.
Reason #2: Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome
There are thousands of cases of TSS from tampons each year. When you take into account the number of users, the overall risk if very low. This is especially true if you take basic precautions such as changing your tampon every few hours.
However, the risk with a menstrual cup is even lower. To date, there’s only been one confirmed case of Toxic Shock Syndrome being caused by a menstrual cup.
Reason #3: The Environment
The average person uses more than 10,000 tampons in a lifetime. That’s a lot of waste going to the landfill. This is particularly true for the tampons with plastic applicators.
Compare this to a menstrual cup which can last for 5-10 years. A handful of menstrual cups vs thousands of tampons? I’ll take the menstrual cup any day of the week!
Reason #4: Menstrual Cups are more Natural
Tampons absorb everything. Menstrual fluid, as well as any natural lubrication that you might have in your vagina. Maybe you’ve had the experience that by the end of your period, your vagina is dry, scratchy and irritated?
Menstrual cups collect, rather than absorb menstrual fluid. This allows your vagina to maintain a far more natural state, helping to prevent things like yeast infections.
The other benefit to menstrual cups is that you’re able to track your period more easily. This can be useful information for your doctor to have if you need to see them about something related to your menstrual cycle.
Reason #5: You can Save Money
Last but not least, the final reason you might consider ditching the tampons is money. The average person spends thousands of dollars on period products in her lifetime.
You can reduce this in a big way by making the switch to a menstrual cup. Consider this.
Most people use an entire box of tampons during a period, with a cost of around $5. A menstrual cup costs $30, but you’ll “break even” in just six months. Then, you’ll have years of “free” periods ahead of you.
Ready to Ditch the Tampons?
There are more than 100 menstrual cups on the market today. It can be difficult to find the right one for your body type, but here are a few tips:
- Expect to spend $20-35 USD. There are cheaper ones, but they’re usually very flimsy and don’t work that well.
- Amazon is a great place to start. Check customer reviews carefully, especially the 2-3 star ones.
- If you’re younger, and haven’t given birth vaginally, you’ll want a smaller menstrual cup.
- If you’re older (above 30) and/or have given birth, you’ll want a larger cup.
- The best cups are made in North America or Europe from medical grade silicone or TPE
- Some of the best brands to consider include: Diva Cup, Mooncup, Lunette, Lena Cup, Super Jennie, Anigan Evacup, and Sckooncup.
Jackie Bolen is a tree-hugging, friend of the Earth who can usually be found hiking the mountains, paddling the oceans or drinking coffee around Vancouver, Canada. She hopes that one day, a reusable period product will be found in the hands of every single menstruating person in the world. You can find her at: