This blog post is talking about period cups and periods. If that bothers you then please don’t read on. But it might be helpful. This post is also a review post.
Menstrual cycles and managing periods are something that women do, from the age of 12/13 (sometimes older and sometimes younger) until they reach menopause. It’s part of our biology as women and we have made a lot of progress in what is available to help us. When I first started my period all we had was massive pads that resembled nappies, and tampons were something we didn’t talk about much and I had to learn how to use without much help or advice (due to being at boarding school, I am sure my mum would have helped if she had been able to)
Nowadays there are more options available to me and also my daughter and that’s a good thing. But we still have to fight myths, cost, and stigma. Hopefully, that will be a thing of the past one day. There are better products available now and thinner and more discreet disposable pads but the massive impact they have on the environment is a concern. They are full of plastics and chemicals that are not that healthy for our bodies and do not break down when they are disposed of. Environmentally-friendly disposable pads are very pricey so often not the best option either.
I personally prefer to use washable cloth pads. I stumbled across them when we started using cloth nappies for our children before either was as trendy or common as they are today and because of physical damage due to birth, I can’t use internal sanitary products.
But I am helping my teenager explore options for her, to manage her periods safely and conveniently. We are very open about talking about our bodies, and about periods and other health issues and I am honest with her but also want her to be comfortable and happy. Being a teenager is challenging, so I want to make this bit as easy on her as possible as much as I can.
She is very active and swims and does dance classes as well as having a very busy teenage life. Helping her to manage her period has meant exploring options like period cups.
I am much more pro period cups than I am tampons. They present little or no risk of toxic shock syndrome and can be worn safely for longer and at nighttime. They are cost-effective because you buy one and it can be used and reused and the impact on the environment is far less too.
Period cups do have issues that can make them less convenient. They do need to be rinsed and cleaned and stored properly. This can present with a level of squeamishness as a teenage girl.
We are currently using a period cup system from Sileu which comes with a menstrual cup, that also has a portable cleaning kit.
It comes in a convenient pack that looks pretty and fairly innocuous but works really well in terms of storage, cleaning, and managing the cup during your period. For a teenager this is essential. Ease, and convenience are big sellers when it comes to teenage girls. To be frank, messing around washing period cups in sinks is not something I would be that enthusiastic about, so persuading my teen to use a system like this meant it had to be easy and fuss-free.
It works really well and we both have been impressed at how efficient it is and because it comes in a neat little case, it all fits compactly in a bag.
Period cups do take some getting used to, to fit them and wear them, but if you have an open and honest relationship with your teen and are careful to talk to them about managing their bodies and are honest, it can be done. Them learning what works and what doesn’t and about their internal anatomy is important, and knowledge is power. Whilst it can be embarrassing to talk about our bodies we do need to.
Whilst I can’t use a period cup myself, I am enthusiastic about them, if they work, and I think they are a great concept in terms of less waste, convenience, safety, and ease when compared to what I had access to as a teenager. The initial costs are balanced out by being able to reuse them and not replace them with each cycle. It’s well worth considering them as an option for your self our your teenager for their period, and learning to use them to make less impact on the planet as well as for their convenience and comfort.
Whilst I have written this post, the teen is happy for me to share and says she does recommend that if you can, you should try a period cup if you haven’t before.