When I first heard about the menstrual cup, I was seeking to get rid of tampons, which happen to be bleached, mostly tested on animals, and carry a risk for toxic shock syndrome.

After I found out that tampons weren’t helping us girls out, I set out to find something else besides pads that could help me out at that time of the month. That was when I stumbled across the menstrual cup.

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There’s a fabulous community of women online that will happily introduce anyone to the menstrual cup. Some girls are ready to make the switch—others need some convincing. I was ready to switch, and ordered my first menstrual cup after reading about it online.

The menstrual cup is a small cup that usually comes in two sizes—small and large—made out of medical-grade silicone or natural rubber latex that is inserted into the vagina, catches the menstrual flow, and then is removed and emptied when full, or, after up to 12 hours.

The biggest thing to keep in mind about the menstrual cup is cleanliness, as not washing our hands or the cup when taking it out or inserting it can increase our risk for urinary tract infections (which, sadly, happened to me my first summer with the menstrual cup). When taking it out or putting it back in, we have to be diligent about washing our hands first and washing the cup. I use natural castile soap to do both.

This article was republished with permission from elephantjournal.com.

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