This post is not about photography. You will be REALLY happy it is not about photography. And honestly, it is really geared towards ladies only. I want to talk to you about menstrual cups and lets just say I do not beat around the bush. (No pun intended.) I am passionate about finding ways to contribute less waste and I want to share this step with you. Because it’s weird, maybe a little icky, and people do not talk about it very much.
Does this make me a superhero?! Kidding.
It feels like by the time I master my period will be about the same time she dries up. So, let’s see if we have some common experiences in our past.
Tampons were terrifying at first, so you went to pad land. You checked every chair you stood up from in school and basically just accepted that this was the way of the world for you now. Then some event came up like a friends birthday party and dun dun duuuuuuuunnnn! You had to master the tampon which did not go well the very first time…but, you got the hang of it.
After you get the hang of a tampon, you can’t imagine how ANYONE would willingly choose pads. You settle in, pick a favorite brand, and stash one pretty much everywhere. Purses. Gloveboxes. If the end of the world came and tampons somehow became a powerful form of currency, you would be living the good life.
The truth: Tampons have chemicals in them (jury is still out on how bad those chemicals really are, if at all) and are pretty darn wasteful. Take a second and picture all the tampons you have used so far just piled up. Picture them unused for this exercise because… yuck. I’m no scientist, but based on some of the stats I’ve seen, the average woman menstruates for about 38 years. (Let that settle in for a moment. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.) Using a tampon for all of those years is likely to produce over 60,000 pounds of garbage. Sixty…thousand…pounds. That’s roughly the weight of a school bus.
Enter: Bloody Buddy.
I’d been curious about menstrual cups for a while, mostly because of the waste factor with tampons. I have worked step-by-step to eliminate wasteful behaviors in other parts of my life, but could never bring myself to give up the ol’ trusty cotton mouse. I mean, I love the environment and all, but some things just feel like too much of a sacrifice, right?! Plus, I had really only heard of one brand and that brand was pretty expensive.
Then about a month ago, the topic somehow came up with a friend of mine. A normal friend. Not a hippie. She does not have dreads. She does not grow all her own food. She does not compost her own poo. I think I’ve even seen her use plastic water bottles. (gasp) I mentioned that I always wanted to try a menstrual cup and she surprised me by telling me she uses one! I realized I knew a real-life person that used one of these contraptions and she did it because it worked better/leaked less for her than tampons did. I asked her where she got hers and that was how I first heard (and cringed at) the name Bloody Buddy.
I hopped on their website, placed an order, and vowed not to buy any tampons so I would have to give it a shot on my next cycle. Lucky me, my next cycle fell on pretty horrific timing, but it allowed me to really give the Bloody Buddy a test drive.
I woke up to find “shark week” had returned and it was time to put up or shut up about this cup idea. The instructions said to boil it first to sterilize it and so I did. I carefully practiced folding it, propped a foot up on the toilet bowl, and away we go. It went in much easier than I anticipated. Very similar to the first time I tried a tampon, I quickly realized I probably did not insert it far enough and gave it another go. Aunt Flo had come to visit the same day I was heading out of town for the weekend to visit my best friend…who is a guy. A gay guy. Someone who basically wants very little to do with vaginas and so I was very happy to think I would not have to dispose of a million tampons while I was at his house. Because let’s be honest…I would have flushed them. Day one involved a full day at work followed by about five hours on a plane. Day one was FLAWLESS. I was pretty terrified to take it out and clean it the first time, but that part really is not as bad as you think it would be. It was DIFFERENT than I expected. I have a very heavy flow and I expected a lot more than what was really there. I mean… I expected Carrie at the prom to play out. But, really not too much when you see it for what it really is.
I think I got lucky on day one. I took a shower and tried to pop BB back in and I just could not get it to feel right. It kept feeling like it was leaking and finally I realized it was. Nothing terrible, but any leaking at all is not what I signed on for. I went to the bathroom and I concluded that it never really unfolded (you fold it to insert). I re-adjusted and immediately could feel it was in the right position and all was well from that point forward. I learned that the sitting position works much better for me than propping a leg up. Pro tip: RELAX. You have to figure out a way to relax. I realized I kept tensing up without even knowing it and that makes things way more difficult.
We decided to do a five-mile hike. Talk about a TEST. I learned from my mistakes on day two and did my best to make sure the cup unfolded. For some reason, I just could NOT get comfortable with it. I wondered if maybe my downstairs was a tad sore since this was all new. I fiddled for a bit and couldn’t get it so I actually look it out, washed it, and reinstated again. Hazah! That time, again, I could immediately tell everything was where it should be. We headed out for the hike and everything went perfectly. You really do forget about it if it is in the right place.
- Less waste
- No need to find a way to dispose of used wrappers or tampons. Ever been to someone’s house only to realize they did not have a trashcan in the bathroom?!
- Set it and forget it. It is actually OKAY to leave these in all day (12 hours). I am not going to say that never happened with a tampon, but you certainly are NOT supposed to do that with a tampon.
- Cheaper. You can get a two-pack of Bloody Buddy Cups for $20. That is about 3 boxes of tampons for me.
- These could be an amazing option for women in developing countries if they have access to clean water.
- If something were to be off about my cycle, I think I would be far more likely to notice.
- You can use it anywhere from 5-10 years!!!
- You certainly have to get up close and personal with yourself. I think this would be a little more intimidating as a younger gal or someone who has never been sexually active.
- It is slightly less discrete than a tampon if you are trying to hide it as you get to the restroom. But why hide it? Walk to the bathroom with it above your head shouting, “Bloody buddy, coming through!” I bet people will get out of your way.
I am still getting the hang of inserting it just right. This is the most I have probably ever touched my own vagina in my life. It is a little frustrating sometimes, but I am getting the hang of it more and more. I feel great about having a more waste-free period. When I think, “I didn’t use a single tampon,” I feel SUPER proud. I have been a tampon-flusher most of my life (scold me later), so this is certainly better for my plumbing!
Try it. That is the best advice I have. The absolute worst that can happen is you waste $20 and let’s be honest, we have all wasted $20 on less noble endeavors. If you made it through this entire post, you must be pretty curious about the Bloody Buddy party. Here is your invite! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!!
If you are a Prime member, you can snag it on Amazon with free shipping!
If you decide to give it a try, please let me know! If you have any questions, I am basically an expert now. 😉 Living a more waste-free life can feel like a lost cause due to all the waste around us, but remember, every little bit counts. Then think back to that mountain of tampons we talked about at the beginning…………..yeah. You can make some serious impact with this one step! Go for it!
Photo Credit: Bloody Buddy