Tech Magazine

Now is a great time to invest in a menstrual cup

One of the most discussed products during the coronavirus pandemic is toilet paper, which has become a panic buy item and a subsequent subject of ridicule, so much so that bars are selling them alongside cocktails and some Americans are pivoting to bidets.

But there is another sanitary product that could see the same empty-shelf fate as toilet paper: pads and tampons. As the reality of how long we will need to self-isolate hits us, those who menstruate may feel it necessary to stockpile these products. In fact, it has already started to happen: 

Given the potential for a shortage, now is a great time to make the switch to a menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups are made of silicone or latex rubber and inserted into the vagina. Rather than absorb blood (and other fluids) like a tampon, cups collect blood. Some cups, like the DivaCup, are shaped almost like a wine glass with a stem at the bottom. Nixit, which claims to be a revolutionary menstrual cup, is bowl-shaped. 

Unlike pads and tampons, cups can last for years if cared for properly. Though how many years depends on who you ask. Lunette recommends replacing every 1-2 years, while Nixit is more vague, though says multiple years.

Rachael Newton, founder of Nixit, said that customers have been describing pads and tampon shortages and tagging the brand to let their followers know about the alternative. 

“My understanding, from what we’ve been tagged in, is that they [pads and tampons] are going and shelves are clear in some places,” Newton said in an interview with Mashable. 

A pad and tampon shortage is just one reason to invest in a cup. In a statement to Mashable, Procter & Gamble, the parent company of sanitary product brands Always, Just, Tampax, and L., said they are committed to serving their millions of customers as well as the health and safety of their employees: 

We are taking the right steps to safeguard our workplaces through appropriate social distancing and work-from-home protocols. These protocols are in line with WHO and CDC recommendations, were developed with our team of in-house medical experts, and are continually refined as we learn more about the epidemic. For our manufacturing plants and distribution centers, where work from home is not an option for most of our employees, we are taking preventive measures that allow these facilities to continue to operate safely, protecting the health and safety of our employees while effectively delivering the business need to serve our consumers and customers.

We have thousands of P&G employees working around the clock to continue serving consumers as many of our products play an important role in maintaining healthy habits and a healthy home environment, both critically important at this time. We are maximizing production and distribution capacity where possible to ensure we can get products to as many consumers as quickly as possible.

In this unprecedented time, having employees “working around the clock” may not be enough to quell fears.

What’s more, transitioning to a cup can be easier now that we have to stay at home. In month one of the three-month Nixit Plan, the company recommends using the cup on lighter days and overnight — the idea being that you’ll be in your own bathroom. “The more comfortable you become and the more you go know your cycle,” Newton said, “the more confident you are to use it out in public.” 

Because of social distancing, it’s likely you’re using your own bathroom now more than ever. That makes it an ideal time to learn how to use a menstrual cup. “You are home all the time. You’ve got your own bathroom. If there’s anytime you’re going to try one, now’s a great time,” said Newton.

Not to mention that cups have other non-pandemic benefits as well: They are better for the environment, your wallet, and your body. They can also last 12 hours at a time as opposed to four to eight hours for a tampon. 

While it’s too soon to know exactly how long we will have to self-isolate, it’s become more clear that it will take at least several months. This means several menstruation cycles. Rather than worry about whether stores have sanitary products in stock, buying a cup may give a slight peace of mind — and right now, any peace of mind is priceless.