7 Things You Should Know About Menstrual Cups

25 August, 2020
They're hygienic, comfortable and relatively inexpensive over the long term. Menstrual cups have become the perfect solution for a lot of women.

Menstrual cups were first marketed in 1930, they have undergone big changes. Today, they’re made out of the best materials, always seeking maximum comfort and safety for the women who use them.

From adolescence to menopause, you’ll have to live with this event every month.  This could mean excessive spending on pads or tampons. For this reason, many women have opted for an alternative: menstrual cups.

In recent years, menstrual cups not only help avoid using disposable products that generate waste and cause more pollution, but they also allow you to save on menstrual products. Would you like to know more?  Keep reading.

1. What are menstrual cups?

what are menstrual cups

The menstrual cup can be used to substitute normal tampons or pads.  They are small devices that catch menstrual flow and can stay in the body for up to 12 hours.

The most modern menstrual cups are made with medical grade silicon or latex.  Women who are allergic to latex should choose cups made with silicon to avoid medical problems.

We recommend you read: The menstrual cup, alternative to tampons

2. How are menstrual cups used?

When inserting the cup, it’s important to take your time and figure out which method works best for you.  

This will take a few tries before discovering which technique is best adapted to your body. It’s very normal and you shouldn’t worry because it gets easier with practice.

Steps to follow

  • Unlike tampons or sanitary pads, which absorb menstrual flow, menstrual cups catch it and prevent it from leaving the body.
  • So all you need to do is insert the cup into your vagina and leave it for 8 to 12 hours, depending on its capacity.
  • After that time, you simply remove the cup and empty it.  For good hygiene, it’s a good idea to wash it with clean water before re-inserting it.
  • If you can’t do this, it’s not a huge problem. Just remember to wash it the next time.

3. Reasons to choose menstrual cups

cup

  • You can use them for up to 10 years. While you may have to buy pads or tampons monthly, menstrual cups are completely reusable for 10 years.  This means you’ll save tons of money on feminine products, you’ll help the environment. All of this while staying extremely comfortable.
  • They have a high capacity.  Are you worried about leaks?  Do you often have a heavy period?  In this case, menstrual cups have a bigger capacity than pads or tampons. Tampons absorb only 5 mL and pads absorb 10 mL, while the cup can hold 30 mL.

Very low risks

  • Leaks are unlikely.  Because menstrual cups are made with silicone or latex, they very easily adapt to the shape of your body.  That’s why it’s easy to do any sort of physical activity or sport without any problems.
  • The chances of having some sort of adverse reaction are minimal.  Infections are a common fear when using pads or tampons, which does not happen with menstrual cups.
  • You just need to make sure that you do not use materials that you’re allergic to. A small percentage of women are allergic to latex. If this is your situation, use a silicone cup.

4. They’re relatively cheap

You can buy a menstrual cup for anywhere between 20 and 60 dollars, depending on where you buy it.  They usually come with a cloth bag that you can store them in when you’re not using it.

If you consider that medium-quality cups can last up to 5 years, and high-quality cups last up to 10 years, that’s a pretty good deal.

5. They’re easy to maintain

menstrual cup

The materials used to make menstrual cups are easily cleaned and maintained:

  • At the beginning of your period: when getting ready to use your cup for the first time or when you’re about to start your period, remove it from the bag and boil it in water for 3 to 5 minutes.  This process will eliminate any residue or contaminants. You can then use your cup with confidence.
  • During your period: it’s important that you wash your cup every time you empty it.  Simply use water from the tap.
  • Once your period is over: wash the menstrual cup again.  If you like, you can use a neutral soap as well. Make sure that you clean it well.  Then store it in the cloth bag that came with it and keep it in a well-ventilated, fresh, and dry area.

See also: The natural remedy of ginger for menstrual cramps

6. Menstrual cups come in different sizes

Every woman is different and when it comes to feminine hygiene, you need to choose the right product.  When looking for menstrual cups, you’ll find that there are several different sizes.  The smallest ones are best for women that have not had children, while the larger sizes are great for women with kids.

This is because after giving birth, the size of the vagina changes slightly.  Before buying your menstrual cup, do some research on the different sizes and characteristics of each cup.

Benefits of menstrual cups

More and more women are choosing to use menstrual cups for all the advantages we’ve listed.

In addition, they are safer because they simply collect menstrual flow instead of storing it. Therefore, there’s no risk of contracting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare bacterial infection associated with misusing tampons.

However, if you’re not sure if you can use them confidently, consult your gynecologist. They can clear up any doubts you might have.

  • Stewart, K., Powell, M., & Greer, R. (2009). An alternative to conventional sanitary protection: Would women use a menstrual cup? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443610802628841
  • Juma, J., Nyothach, E., Laserson, K. F., Oduor, C., Arita, L., Ouma, C., … Phillips-Howard, P. A. (2017). Examining the safety of menstrual cups among rural primary school girls in western Kenya: Observational studies nested in a randomised controlled feasibility study. BMJ Open. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015429
  • North, B. B., & Oldham, M. J. (2011). Preclinical, Clinical, and Over-the-Counter Postmarketing Experience with a New Vaginal Cup: Menstrual Collection. Journal of Women’s Health. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2009.1929
  • McDermott, C., & Sheridan, M. (2015). Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome caused by tampon use. Case reports in critical care, 2015, 640373. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/640373