If you haven't noticed, menstrual cups are having a moment. Although they have been around for decades, this alternative to pads and tampons has gained popularity as the organic and green movements continues to build momentum. Once considered a product only your super crunchy aunt would use, women are now learning the health benefits of the menstrual cup and starting to rethink their options for dealing with their monthly flow.
The biggest difference in tampons and menstrual cups is the way each product helps you manage menstrual blood. Tampons use cotton to absorb the blood, while menstrual cups collect the blood, which is disposed of later. Since menstrual cups first came on the market in 1932, they have been praised as an economic and eco-friendly choice. But now that more research has been done, the health advantages are making it to the top of the list for women who are considering using a menstrual cup. Since the menstrual cup is made without chemicals, deodorizers, or dyes, it is thought to be the safest in the feminine hygiene category.
If you think it may be time to toss the tampons and try something new, check out these five reasons menstrual cups are a healthy choice.
1. Less Skin Irritation
Since most tampons and pads contain bleach and other toxic chemicals, women may experience vaginal irritation — or even have an allergic reaction — when using these products. As Mind Body Green pointed out, the menstrual cup is free of common irritants, meaning you are less likely to have a skin reaction that causes you discomfort.
2. Lower Risk Of Bacteria Growth
The reason tampons need to be changed every eight hours is to reduce the risk of increasing the levels of bacteria in the vagina. When the vaginal flora (good bacteria) is disrupted, it can lead to infections. A study published in the Journal Of Women's Health found that menstrual cups do not effect vaginal bacteria, making it a healthier choice for menstruating women.
3. Decrease In Vaginal Dryness
Sometimes tampons can be overachievers, absorbing your body's natural fluids along with menstrual blood. This can cause dryness and chaffing of the vaginal walls, according to Slate. Since the menstrual cup only collects blood, it allows all those necessary fluids to stay put.
4. More Sleep
According to Lily Cup's website, you can leave your menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours. This means you don't have to wake up in the middle of night to empty and clean it — which means more sleep for you during those tiring days of your period.
5. No Tearing
Tampons can cause "micro-tears" in the vaginal lining, which isn't just painful, but can up the chances of infection. As Healthy Women reported, since they are made from soft materials (such as silicon) menstrual cups will not cause vaginal tearing, making them the more gentle option.