My introduction to menstrual cupswas my best friend admitting to me that she likes to check out the blood that catches in her DivaCup while she's in the shower.
"It's not as f--ked up as you think," she argued. "In fact, it is the most natural part of my body and the essence of being a woman." She's right, of course, but I've always been a tampon fan—that argument alone didn't sway me. But, when I asked another friend why she uses menstrual cups now, she said: "I felt like I could picture the tampons piling onto a landfill and contaminating my body with all sorts of chemicals." OK—now I'm sold.
The flexible, bell-shaped cups (in silicone or latex) have existed since the 1930s, but aren't nearly as popular as tampons. Though a 2011 survey found that 91% of women who tried menstrual cups said they'd continue to use the cup and recommend it to others. I wouldn't go that far, but these 10 women gave their thoughts on why you should consider a switch:
“You don't have to agonize over tampon sizes and guesstimate how many to shove in your bag. There is no forecasting; [you] just put the DivaCup in and you're good. It’s an entirely self-sufficient one-time purchase. —Lauren, 25
“Menstrual cups don't contain any harmful chemicals that can leach into my bloodstream— I don't have to worry about TSS. They eliminate the majority of environmental waste in the equation, and they hold a whole lot more blood than any bleached cotton product I've ever tried! After your first hour wearing one, you will not even know that it's there. Also, if you suffer at all from dehydration, the [cup] unequivocally leaves me more lubricated than a tampon.” —Lindsey, 26
“They don't cause that cotton-mouth-like feeling in your lady parts like tampons do.” —Jessica, 29
“Switching to cups has saved me a lot of money. I change it once every 12 hours and the rest of the time I forget I'm even on my period. It's pretty freeing. I love seeing all the blood that gets collected, it's strangely very fun.” —Setareh, 23
“I love menstrual cups because I'm saving money and being nicer to my body.” —Amanda, 23
“They don't leak, you never run out, and you don't have to sneak out of a work meeting with something up your sleeve. You will have a new best friend for life.” —R.W., 38
“I only have to change it twice a day. Inserting it took some getting used to but once I mastered it, it's quick and easy. I spend less time thinking about my period when I use the cup. I love not having to spend hundreds of dollars on pads or tampons.” —K.T., 21
“My cup has all of the conveniences of a tampon: being able to go swimming, play sports, but with the additional benefit of never running out.” —Lindsay, 32
“On an island-hopping vacation, I tried a menstrual cup because I knew I wouldn’t have the convenience of a bathroom. After a couple tries inserting I got the hang of it and I was amazed by how well it worked! My cup is completely painless and feels secure. Best of all, it is an absolute life-saver for unpredictable days or spontaneous weekend trips.” —Melissa, 25
“My cup is a vortex of wonder. The advantage of avoiding chemicals and bleaches that reside in tampons sells the product itself—it’s a much healthier option for managing my period. I feel connected to my body. Instead of pulling a soaked string attached to a smelly wad of cotton out of my vagina, the cup allows me to examine just what is actually coming out of me once a month.” —DJ, 25