Dealing with menstruation is no fun – and the expensive, unsustainable, single-use tampons and pads many of us use certainly don’t make it feel like more of a breeze.
Menstrual cups are a great alternative to single-use products, mainly tampons. They’re becoming increasingly popular for their many benefits, especially among those concerned about their health or environmental footprint.
In this article, we’ll share the pros and cons of menstrual cups you may want to consider if you’re thinking about giving them a try, as well as the basics of using a menstrual cup.
The list of perks related to the use of menstrual cups goes on and on – many regular users hail them as revolutionary and life-changing. So, what’s the hype all about?
1) The first clear advantage is the sustainability aspect. Menstrual cups are meant to be reused for many years to come – depending on the brand, they can last you for up to 10 years. This helps you avoid a lot of single-use products, which you’d be sending to the landfill. You also just need one menstrual cup for all this time, contrary to other sustainable menstruation blood collection methods such as period underwear or reusable pads.
3) Tampons can also lead to dryness due to the fact besides menstruation blood, tampons also absorb the naturally lubricating liquids which keep the vagina healthy. Additionally, tampons also often contain chemicals such as bleach, which further negatively affect your intimate health. Menstrual cups don’t dry out the vagina or introduce any chemicals to it, making for a healthier choice for your body.
4) If you’re often experiencing unpleasant smells during those times of the month, menstrual cups can also help with that. These odours develop when menstruation blood is exposed to air – something menstrual cups help prevent.
5) Lastly, when the menstrual cup is inserted properly, it shouldn’t cause any discomfort – in fact, you shouldn’t even feel it. Additionally, some people also report decreased menstrual cramps when using a menstrual cup, although there is no scientific evidence to support that.
The benefits of using menstrual cups certainly outnumber the negatives. However, there are a few things to consider before you decide to give the cup a try.
The main problem you may be experiencing with a menstrual cup is some difficulty learning to insert it properly in the beginning. This highly depends on each individual – some people may learn how to insert the cup with a perfect seal during the first few days, while it may take others a few cycles to learn.
The best way to deal with this is to apply some water-based lubricant on the rim of the cup. The cup will glide easily into our desired position. Do consider wearing a pad or period underwear along with your cup for the first few months before you’re sure you can insert the cup in a leak-free way.
Using menstrual cups
First, you’ll need to select the right cup for you. Menstrual cups come in two sizes. Usually, the smaller one is recommended to people under 30 years of age who have not delivered vaginally, while the larger size is made for people of 30 or more years, even if they haven’t delivered vaginally.
Some of us may experience unusually heavy or long menstrual periods. Many women have heavy flow days and cramps when they have their period. Your flow is so heavy that you’ll need to change your tampon or pad every hour for at least an entire day. You also have cramps so severe that they stop you from doing your usual activities.
Heavy periods are sometimes caused by subtle health problems, and they can lead to other health issues. If you soak through a pad or tampon every hour or so on a regular basis, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help.
However, the sizing may vary depending on other factors too – the best way to find out is to consult with your gynaecologist.
Inserting the cup
Before you prepare to insert the cup, it’s best to have some water-based lubricant on hand to aid you. It’s also important to always wash your hands properly before inserting the cup. Then, follow these steps:
1. Apply lubricant (or water, if you don’t have access to lubricant) to the rim of the cup.
2. Fold the menstrual cup in your preferred manner. There are many different folding methods to suit us, which are usually shown in instruction leaflets you’ll get with the menstrual cup. The C fold is perhaps most popular but try what feels more natural to you.
3. Insert the cup, rim-up, into the vagina. Once inserted, it should sit below the cervix.
4. Rotate the cup to ensure it has created an airtight seal.
Here’s more tips for ladies with tilted uterus as well.
Taking out the cup
After up to 12 hours (ladies with heavy flow may empty the cups approximately every 6 hours depending on each individual), it will be time to remove the cup. Again, make sure your hands are washed before doing this. Follow these steps to ensure all goes smoothly:
1. Insert your fingers into the vagina, getting hold of the step or base of the cup. You may be able to remove the cup just holding the stem but the base will provide you with a better grip.
2. Pull the cup lower down the vaginal canal.
3. Pinch the base of the cup to release the seal. Alternatively, you could also insert a finger alongside the edge of the cup, releasing the seal by pulling the cup away from the vaginal wall.
4. Once the cup is removed, empty it and thoroughly wash with natural, unscented soap.
Are menstrual cups a good choice for me?
We’re all different and so are our bodies, which means that what works for one of us may not work for another. Here’s a quick run-down of who menstrual cups are usually best for:
• Users of tampons or other insertion methods of menstruation blood collection
• Those concerned about their environmental footprint
• People who experience dryness and irritation during their period
• Active people, who travel or work out often
On the other hand, there are some people who may not love menstrual cups, despite their many benefits. This group could include:
• People allergic to rubber or latex
• Some IUD users
• People who have experienced toxic shock syndrome in the past
• Those who have recently undergone gynaecological surgery, labor or miscarriage
Rest assured menstrual cups are made of 100% silicone. This prevents any allergic reactions from latex rubber.
If you’re thinking about giving menstrual cups a try, now is certainly a great time to do so, as more and more brands are appearing on the market. I like to recommend the Intima and Fun Factory fun menstrual cups available at Pink Lifestyle www.PinkLifestyle.com. They are an amazing option for anyone wanting to give menstrual cups a try for the first time!