Quitting Tampons: Everything You Need To Know About the Cup Life

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A menstrual cup (anyone else hate the m word?) is a soft silicone cup that you wear internally like a tampon, but rather than absorbing your period, it "collects" it. For - no kidding because I tested it - TWELVE hours. *praise hands*

There are a lot of reasons to quit tampons. Among them are toxicity, leakage, comfort, and environment. The list goes on from there. The perks of the cup life are just as numerous. Here are the ups and downs I found by making the switch.

First of all, most brands offer two sizes of cups. Choosing a cup can be related to your age, your comfort preference, or what kind of flow day you're having. I chose the small Saalt cup to start with and learned that for my heavier days the "regular" size may be more sufficient. On regular days, the small holds what it needs to for a whole day and then again a whole night. Miraculous little thing. 

When it comes to getting the cup, well, where it needs to go, it's something to get used to but isn't particularly difficult. There are a couple of folds you can learn and which you like to use may depend on how easy it is for you to fold and hold, or how narrow you'd like the insertion point to be. Once it's in, you do a quick check to make sure it's unfolded itself by giving the stem a little tug, and an easy fix if it hasn't is to press on the edge of a fold. Then you're ready to go!

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To empty the cup, you remove it (I'm about to get to that), and dump it out in the toilet, then clean it in the sink with a gentle soap. I went all out and also bought the wash that Saalt makes for mine to use at home, but in public restrooms I'll use what's available. So you just dump it, clean it, and put it back in. The feeling of not having to carry a bevy of tampons has been the most freeing feeling!

Ok, here's the one thing I struggled with at first, but have now successfully overcome: removal! Imagine squatting like a baseball umpire on the floor of a (blessedly private) public restroom, reaching for the thing and coming up with nothing. I know it's in there somewhere. Exactly where could it have gone and can I just ask it nicely to come out...? Yikes. That was a scary moment in my life. I was seeing emergency rooms and extraction tools. Not necessary, though. If your cup does work it's way upward beyond your grip, practice those Kegels and your body naturally pushes the cup downward where you can reach it. Give it a sqeeze to release the seal and gently pull it out. Pro tip: I practiced getting it out in the shower the first few times. There's something about that that made me less nervous. 

I'm going to shout out the company I got my cup from. They're called Saalt. Founded by two women, Saalt isn't as well known as some other brands but their team and the community of Saalt women are incredibly helpful, and they offer a two cycle guarantee to give you time to get used to your cup. The pretty packaging doesn't hurt either. Even better, for every purchase, Saalt helps provide improved period care and education opportunities to women and girls in need.

And since we're all friends here... questions? I'm happy to answer anything you want to know!  

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Self-development expert and Entrepreneur Kimberly Novosel first came onto the Nashville fitness scene as the creator of Verticity indoor cycling studio. A published author and columnist, an accomplished speaker, and a sought after entrepreneur, Kimberly currently co-owns outdoor adventure company Alternate Routes, is Co-Owner and Editor here at Elsewhere, and has a new wellness studio concept in the works.