Usually, I use my menstruation undies during my period and am pretty against using a tampon at all. After I became addicted to surfing and diving and all things ocean, I needed to find an alternative to tampon for swimming.
The best alternative to tampon for swimming is a Menstrual cup. When used correctly, menstruation cups create an airtight seal that holds all the blood in the “cup” until you take it out.
Even during shark season on my heaviest day I feel confident that my menstruation cup will do the trick and allow me to swim, surf and all the other things I love to do in the water!
What is a menstruation cup?
A menstruation cup is a small silicone cup that you put in your Vagina during your period to catch blood.
It works for up to 12 hours, depending on how heavy your flow is.
They make less trash because they are reusable and can last up to ten years.
Toxic shock syndrome is highly unlikely. Only one case has been reported due to a menstrual cup, while many cases have been reported due to tampons.
How to use a menstruation cup
How to put it in
Simply fold it in half, pop it in, and rotate it a bit making sure it has taken its original round shape.
Make sure it’s comfortable. Leave it in for up to 12 hours. You can go about your business, go for a swim, surf, dive, whatever you want to do in the water (and out of the water).
When your ready to empty it, simply pull it out with the little tab, dump it, and rinse it or wash it and re-insert it.
Menstrual cups in the a public bathroom (Why?)
Emptying them in a public restroom seems a big concern of a lot of women. Though completely unnecessary, I have changed mine in a public restroom. I do not recommend it.
I am not a super shy or private person. It was still uncomfortable dumping out my blood and rinsing my cup in the sink next to somebody washing their hands. As yes it might smell a little. It’s blood that’s been sitting in a cup in a dark damp place for a few hours.
I’ve also in extremely crowded bathrooms while traveling or at work , dumped it in the toilet in the stall and wiped it with toilet paper. I do not recommend this method either as it also is absolutely unnecessary and remember, you still have to pull up your pants and open the stall and turn on the faucet. If your hands have blood on them it’s kind of difficult.
The great thing about menstrual cups is that you don’t have to change it all the time like tampons. so just leave it in until you get home. Why make things difficult for yourself?
- Take your time putting it in right before you leave your house.
- Do you (swim, dive, scuba, surf, water polo, whatever water things you desire).
- Take advantage that the menstruation cup can be left in for up to 12 hours and wait until you get home to change it.
- Dump it when you get home
- Rinse it/wash it
- Re-insert it
- And vuala!! No awkward moments, no bloody mess, life easier.
Are menstruation cups safe?
In all the years that menstrual cups have been on the market, there has been only ONE case of toxic shock syndrome . The woman who got it had a history of thyroid problems and she cut herself with her fingernail while inserting the cup. She told doctors that she used proper hygiene during the days she used the cup. Who’s to say she didn’t? Buuuut then again, who’s to say she did?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is caused by Staphylococcus. Staphylococcus is caused by bacteria that can’t survive in a clean place. I don’t wish to speak ill of anyone, but this story seems a little fishy. Small cut. Staph. TSS. seems pretty obvious what was the cause, but I am not a doctor.
I don’t think one case of toxic shock syndrome is enough to start getting alarmed about menstruation cups. Especially considering it is common knowledge that tampons DO cause TSS and are still used a good majority of the time.
Take your time and be careful while inserting it, practice regular hygiene and you should be fine.
In all the years I have been using mine, aside from slight spotting and little cramping (see menstrual cups causing cramps) , I have had no problems whatsoever. And honestly a little cramping is worth being able to do what I love while I am on my period.
Here are a few articles for further reading on studies done on them, the one TSS case, etc.
To wear a white bathing suit or not to, THAT is the question:
How well do menstrual cups work?
While they do work extremely well and they don’t typically leak, I don’t wear a white bathing suite.
Sometimes I’m in a hurry and don’t properly insert mine or make sure its made the “seal” before I leave the house. After that it’s too late. If you don’t put it in correctly, it might leak. It won’t leave you with a huge stain but you could spot your white bathing suite.
So why chance it?! Go with brown or black swimsuits for those days right? They do advertise that you can wear white while using menstrual cups.
Best place to buy a menstrual cup
I bought mine at a whole foods a few years ago in San Francisco; where to my surprise they only had one option and only two sizes.
After searching around a bit on the web, looks like Amazon is the best place to get them. They have a ton of different brands, sizes, and materials to choose from. They are also waaaaaay less expensive. Even the brand I bought ( DivaCup) is almost half the price on Amazon than what I paid in the store.
Best Menstrual Cup For Me for help in choosing one.
My next menstruation cup will no doubt be the Beaver Damn Menstrual Cup for pure genius in naming their product.
So bleed easy my friends!!! Have all the fun you want splashing around WHILE on your period!