Have you heard of menstrual cups?
Menstrual cups are bell shaped, made from medical grade silicone and are inserted into the vagina. The cup will hold menstrual fluid which you then tip away e.g. down the loo, you then rinse and or wipe the cup before reinserting. Cups can last up to 12 hours between needing to be emptied (depending on your flow and the size of cup you use). On average a cup hold 3 times the amount a regular tampon can.
There are quite a few perks to using menstrual cups, the most notable being that they’re reusable. Many menstrual cups can be used for years. Instead of spending money on disposable each month that ultimately get sent to either landfill or incineration, you can save some cash by using menstrual cups.
Unlike tampons, menstrual cups don’t dry the vagina. This preserves the healthy bacteria that protect you from vaginal infections.
Menstrual cups aren’t associated with toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is a rare, life-threatening condition linked to tampon use.
Menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, such as bleach and dioxin. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some dioxins are known to cause cancer in humans.
Many women report having less severe cramping when using cups, although no clinical studies have been performed to support this.
Menstrual fluid develops an odor when exposed to air. Cups eliminate this issue.
Most women report that they don’t even feel the cup when it’s in place.
Reusable menstrual cups are environmentally friendly. The Women’s Environmental Network reports that each year more than 400 million pounds of sanitary pads, tampons, and tampon applicators end up in landfills.
So lots of positives, are there downsides? Well yes there can be. You need to be comfortable with your body. You need to know that sometimes finding the right cup for you might take a few tries (there are groups you sell cups that don’t suit you in though). There is a learning curve, you may well need to wear a pad as back up for a few cycles until your used to using your cup but practice does make perfect.
Whilst you can by cheapy cups from China etc it’s highly advised not as you really can’t be sure that the silicone is medical grade and therefore safe.
So where to start if your thinking of switching to a menstrual cup? I highly recommend taking the following quiz.
The following Facebook groups are also fantastic for information and support:
The following YouTube video is a nice resource for showing different ways to fold a cup for insertion.
Many thanks to Beth Kean for writing this very informative page for the website.