Unfortunatly there is still a lot of taboo surrounding periods and whilst I accept they're not exactly dinner time topics of conversation we really shouldnt be shying away from talking about them.
They suck, they contribute to plastic waste and pollution and they cost money. But approximately half of us have to deal with them and they are just part of life. Whilst I can't take the pain away there are ways of making a bad day slightly better.
I switched to plastic free alternatives a year ago and whilst the thought of it grossed me out and freaked me out in equal measures I'm delighted I made the change. Firstly it's saving me money, I had an initial outlay for a menstrual cup and some reusable towels but haven't spent a penny on periods in months. WINNERRRRRR.
Then there's all that plastic and waste I'm saving. All sanitary products contain plastic, are individually wrapped in plastic and cannot be recycled. I dread to think how many plastic applicators I've contributed to the planet. But no more.
I'm not going to lie, it took me a couple of months to get use to the change but I've got a few tips to share if you're looking to do the same.
The switch to reusable and washable panty liners and pads was fairly easy. They do feel slightly bulkier than the plastic counterpart but as they are made out of natural fibres it got rid of that plastic sweaty feeling along with "period smell" the plastic counterparts had.
It was then the turn of the menstrual cup. The cup felt quite stiff at first and was a bit awkward to get in for the first couple of months however by the third month it was a lot more squishy and easy. I'd recommend using it like a stress ball before your first use - maybe not in the office but at home. Once its softened a bit you'll find it a lot easier to insert. Another way is to run it under hot water to make it a bit softer too
Secondly I didn't do a full switch straightaway. I would use it once a day and tampons for the rest of the time until I was happy using it. Now I use it pretty much all the time as you can leave it in for 12 hours so I can plan changing it around toilet access. I've done sport in it and haven't had any leak issues.
Another tip is getting the stem right. The first time I used it, it was too long and felt awkward. After trimming the end a couple of times I got it right. Obviously everyone is different so trim to suit your own lady bits. Oh and just trim a bit at a time and try it - you can always chop more off.
Between periods I have a dedicated cup for cleaning and use a sterilising solution for hygiene purposes.
Overall my periods have been less painful, this may be coincidence but I do know of a few other ladies who've said the same. I still hate periods though - grrrrrr.
Good luck ladies - you can do it.
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