A Menstrual Cup or Period Cup….What is THAT? Plus 10 Amazing Benefits of Using Menstrual Cups
If you have never heard about a menstrual cup or a reusable period cup – unfortunately you are not alone.
Although there are many reusable menstrual products available on the market today – DivaCup, Mooncup, the Keeper, Lunette, and several other brands – the majority of women still are not even aware that there is an ALTERNATIVE to tampons and sanitary napkins.
I too was in that group, until a couple of years ago, when I learned about menstrual cups. I did not buy one back then (I had other things on my mind – like being pregnant and having a baby), and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I finally made the switch. I bought a Mooncup UK brand (unfortunately, the manufacturer no longer sells cups to the US due to disputes over the trade name with another period cup manufacturer).
Back then, buying menstrual cups online was your only option. Today, period cups are available in more and more pharmacies and stores.
All I can say is “Wow!”
What a difference a Period Cup makes!
So, What Exactly Is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is form of reusable menstrual protection. It is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluids. Once in place it forms a seal, preventing blood flowing out of the vagina by collecting it in its “cup” shaped reservoir.
Unlike a tampon which absorbs the blood along with the vagina’s natural secretions, a menstrual cup simply holds the fluids until you remove it – so they do not dry out the vagina and do not hold the Toxic Shock Syndrome risk that tampons do.
Most of the period cups, including the Mooncup, Divacup, Lunette, and others, are made from medical grade silicone, is latex-free and contains no dyes, toxins or bleaches. It’s also great for women with sensitive skin.
A menstrual cup is a conical shaped cup made of flexible material, such as rubber or medical grade silicone, which is inserted into the vagina to catch menstrual blood. It is worn lower in the vaginal passage than a tampon and with only a little practice is simple to insert and remove.
Although there is a learning curve, it’s not difficult to learn how to use it. If you’re not too squeamish, you’ll find that it’s extremely empowering to take charge of that aspect of your reproductive health.
With many of us becoming aware of the effects of our lifestyles on the environment, lots of women are choosing to use menstrual cups as an alternative to standard sanitary pads and tampons.
One woman uses up to 22 items of sanitary protection every period. Regardless of your flow, you only need one menstrual cup, and it lasts for years and years, making it the most economical sanitary product for menstruation you can buy. A menstrual cup may be worn up to 12 hours without needing to be emptied and after removing and a quick wash with hot soapy water, it is ready for reuse. In between menstrual periods it is recommended that the cup be sterilized in boiling water.
Do your own calculation…Multiply the number of pads/tampons you use each month by twelve. Then, multiply that figure by 41 years – the average woman’s menstruation span. For example, let’s pick the figure of 4 tampons/pads per day, for 5 days. That’s 20 disposable products per cycle. Twelve cycles per year equals 240 tampons/pads per year. Okay, now if you menstruate for 41 years…that’s close to 10,000 tampons/pads you’ll use in your lifetime! Using a cup eliminates almost all of this waste.
That’s something you can feel good about – even when you’re crampy and grumpy!
10 AMAZING Benefits of Using a Menstrual Period Cup
The benefits of using a reusable menstrual cup are enormous, especially for the environment. Here are 9 of them, in no particular order:
1. ECO-FRIENDLY. Just consider this: on average, one woman will use over 11,000 tampons or disposable sanitary pads in their lifetime, which will end up in landfill or in the sea. There is no packaging waste each month and no waste sanitary products thrown into landfill as you simply wash and reuse your cup. And the products used in these cups like silicon are available in plenty, so it does not deplete any resources.
2. COST EFFECTIVE: Consider the monthly cost of pads and tampons versus the one-time cost of a menstrual cup.
3. EASY-TO-USE and comfortable, needs emptying only 2-4 times a day. Can be used during the night and during sports activities.
4. EASY-TO-CLEAN. The lining of the cup is totally smooth and the tab is flat, so cleaning is extremely easy.
5. SANITARY. Can be sterilized by placing in boiling water for 2-5 minutes.
6. FITS ALL WOMEN. Available in different sizes and can be used by all menstruating women, with the exception of post-natal bleeding due to the risk of inflammation. Can be used before first sexual intercourse and also with an IUD and contraceptive ring.
7. IMPROVED PERIODS. Many women (including me) find heavy flow and even cramping are reduced when they switch to a menstrual cup.
8. COMFORTABLE. Once you insert it, you won’t even notice it’s there. They do not make you feel damp or uncomfortable as it is worn within the body. The cups can hold more than tampons and result in less inconvenience. Plus, it does not dry the vaginal mucus membrane.
9. SAFE. FDA approved. No outbreaks of vaginal candidasis, cystitis or toxic shock syndrome have been linked to the use of menstrual cups.
10. CONVENIENT during travel. Since you are using the menstrual cup, you just need to carry one single cup rather than going for all the stock of your sanitary pads. This makes traveling more comfortable without any tensions of throwing the waste or washing of the cloth.
In my humble opinion, menstrual cups is the best thing that ever happened to feminine hygiene products. They are comfortable, clean, easy to use, great for any kind of physical activity such as riding a bike, running, swimming, and snowboarding–you’ll completely forget it’s there.
When you do it for the first time, it may take a couple of attempts to insert the cup and then take it out. It may look like a challenge at first. However, once you try it once or twice, it’s really not much more difficult than inserting or removing a tampon. If you are having any difficulty and just don’t seem to get it right, read manufacturers instructions, or ask more experienced users a question at one of the forums.
Give it a try, and you may never go back to tampons and pads again.
Menstrual Cup Brand Comparisons
Read more about menstrual cup products on my blog.