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Women's hygiene products for menstrual care have greatly evolved since ancient times when the only viable option was to use rags. Today, menstrual cups have significantly triumphed over other products used during period protection such as sanitary napkins and tampons. Menstrual cups or moon cups as they are commonly called, are cost-effective, convenient, comfortable, and eco-friendly. These moon cups have quickly become the most preferred option by women across the globe.
With the increased popularity of moon cups, there are more and more models, varieties, and brands being created every day. Due to the overwhelming amount of menstrual cups available in the market, it can be a challenging task to sift through multiple brands when looking for the one that suits your needs and preferences best.
In this article, we’ve delved into how menstrual cups work, where you can buy one, and what are the benefits of using these cups.
Stay tuned to learn more!
A menstrual cup is a reusable period product that’s worn inside a vagina, either below or around the cervix. The cup is useful during menstruation because it’s used to catch the menstrual fluid inside the vagina instead of absorbing it once it's out. It’s a great alternative to replace those you find on the shelves such as disposable pads and tampons.
The menstrual cup usually holds more than one large tampon that allows extra freedom the entire day. If a menstrual cup is properly positioned, it’s undetected. It can’t be felt or seen.
Depending on your flow, you can safely use the menstrual cup for up to 12 hours. The cup should be periodically removed to be emptied and cleaned. After the cup has been emptied and rinsed, it can be reinserted immediately. Since the menstrual cup usually collects the flow rather than absorbing it, it will not in any way interfere with the delicate bacterial and pH balance in your vagina.
A menstrual cup comprises different parts including stem, seal, base, body, air holes, rim, and secondary rim.
Here are some common questions and answers about menstrual cups.
You might think that menstrual cups are a hot new trend or new invention. But in truth, these cups have been in existence since the 1860s. These menstrual cups were designed for insertion into the vagina but could be attached to a belt. Different types have been invented up until 1932 when a newer style menstrual cup was then created by two midwives namely Perkins and McGlasson.
However, it was until 1937 when Leona Chalmers patented the first usable menstrual cup. This new invention was made of latex rubber. Even though we now understand how practical and hygienic a menstrual cup could be, at that time people were not comfortable or familiar with such an idea. Nevertheless, during the second world war, there was an acute shortage of latex and the production of the menstrual cup was stopped. But after the war, Chalmers made a few changes and then patented the new design.
A Tassaway brand of the cups was introduced in the 1960s, but it was not successful.
The Keeper was introduced in 1987, and this is the time that the cups made a great turnaround. This new menstrual cup was made of latex rubber. However, the Moon Cup was made of silicone and introduced 15 years later. These cups are still available today.
Many brands of menstrual cups have been created over the past few years, each featuring a different design. These menstrual cups come in different colors, sizes, and shapes with different diameters, firmness, rims, and stems.
While this gives users an extensive variety of options depending on their needs and wants, choosing the right menstrual cup can be a challenging task for a beginner.
A menstrual cup might seem large at first sight, but it's folded into smaller shapes before use. It’s then inserted in the same way as a tampon with no applicator inside the vaginal canal.
The menstrual cup then unfolds and creates a seal just around or under the cervix.
The flow then collects into the menstrual cup and remains there until the user removes or chooses to empty it. Many companies recommend emptying your menstrual cup about 12 hours or two times a day depending on your flow.
To remove the cup, just bend down using your pelvic floor muscles and bring the menstrual cup close to the vaginal opening. You should then use the stem to properly wiggle the cup for you to reach the base. Once you’re able to reach the base, pinch it so that it releases the seal and wiggle the cup. Empty the contents, rinse and then reinsert as necessary.
Here’s a guide on How To Use Your Menstrual Cup.
If you choose the right shape and size, and it’s inserted correctly, it can’t be felt or seen, then it will be comfortable.
The menstrual cup will collect the flow rather than absorb it and will not interfere with the delicate bacterial or pH balance inside your vagina. Also, this means it's less drying and might be more comfortable since it does not absorb the body’s natural lubricants.
Many companies indicate that their menstrual cups can last up to 10 years with the right care. That’s correct! You might only need a single menstrual cup for the next 10 years. That’s lots of savings.
Since menstrual cups can be reused, there are less disposable moon time products discarded in the landfills and ultimately this means less pollution.
Menstrual cups usually hold more than your regular absorbency pad or tampon, so they don’t need much attention the entire day. Many companies show that you can use the menstrual cup for up to 12 hours depending on how heavy your flow is before you can remove, empty, and rinse it. The menstrual cup can then be reinserted and stored safely for the next period.
These benefits make the menstrual cups ideal for a full day, long days of work, and overnight protection. You get to do everything your heart desires with no interruptions.
Tampons are said to absorb everything including the body’s natural secretions. However, a menstrual cup collects the menstrual flow and does not in any way interfere with the delicate bacterial and pH balance of the vagina's natural lubricants. With the best menstrual cup, you can say goodbye to the painful, dry removal.
Once the blood comes into direct contact with the air and is allowed to dry, the bacteria starts growing and ultimately creates a bad odor. Since the menstrual cups collect the flow rather than absorb it, the blood is normally kept in a liquid state. After the cup is removed, contents are then emptied. The cup can be washed, reused, or even stored for future use.
Although one menstrual cup will cost you more than a package of sanitary pads, perhaps more than even two packs, the overall cost is less. This is because if you find a perfect menstrual cup, you won't have to buy another for the next 10 years. With proper care, you can use the same menstrual cup for about 10 years.
Like everything else you’ll learn, it may take extra practice. For some people, inserting, using, or even removing a menstrual cup comes easy. However, for other people, it could take extra cycles to get used to it.
While it might be easier to just dispose off a sanitary pad or tampon, it might not work the same way when it comes to menstrual cups. Since menstrual cups usually hold more than the regular absorbency pad or tampon, which means you don’t have to deal with lots of things. However, if you’ve got a light flow, you may be able to use the menstrual cup all day up to the time you get back home. Also, you can check out a high-capacity cup for extra retention. If you find that you may have to empty the cup in a public toilet, then you can bring some water or just wipe it using a paper towel.
If you’ve got an IUD insert, there’s a possibility that the suction of the cup can interfere with the IUD by pulling it out of place.
If you’re reluctant to try out menstrual cups or you’re new to them, we’ve got a few tips and tricks that will take you from a beginner to a pro as soon as possible. These tried and tested shortcuts will definitely put you on the right track about taking advantage of this incredible invention.
Switching from disposable menstrual products to the menstrual cup might add an extra spin on the menstrual cycle. It’s pretty hard to overstate exactly how much. If you take into consideration that menstruation is something that every woman has to go through each month, it’s easier to see exactly how big an effect a change into a better product can make. After you’ve gotten used to wearing the menstrual cup, you’ll love how much safer and simpler it is to use these as compared to disposables. Moreover, you’ll save money each month since you don’t have to purchase packages of one-time use pads or tampons. Furthermore, you’ll be doing something great for the environment by keeping all these disposable menstrual products out of landfills.
Whether you’ve just started to have periods or it's something you’ve had for many years, you most likely have leaked onto bedding or clothing. Also, you might have come across the term ‘rinse with cold water first’. It’s largely because hot water sets in stains.
Also, this could be true for the light-colored cups. Although it does not impact the performance of the cup, staining might be a nuisance to some. To successfully prevent staining, you should rinse the menstrual cup of all blood traces with cold water. Once that’s done, you can then raise the temperature to get better cleaning. Some people prefer boiling their cups after every period, but that’s just a personal preference and isn’t always necessary. If you choose to boil the menstrual cup, ensure to set the time to about 3 or 5 minutes after the boiling begins to make sure you do not burn the cup.
Once the cup has been correctly inserted and positioned comfortably, you can bear it down with the pelvic floor muscles (PFM). You can then use a wet cloth or wipe to clean the base of the menstrual cup.
This rids the area of any blood that could otherwise leave some spots on your underwear and make you think the menstrual cup is leaking.
Whether you’ve got artificial or natural nails of any length or kind, you can be scratchy and pointy and might make removal or insertion of the cup more challenging.
When inserting the fingers, overlap the nails. Tuck the thumbnail under the pointer nail and then place the rounded surface against the labia before insertion. As you try to reach further in, the nails and fingers will separate just like a flower in blood and allow you to properly pinch the cup's base or stem.
Also, you can check out the finger cots to properly protect yourself from any cuts. Moreover, consider investing in a cheap nailbrush to use when washing your hands to remove the spread of germs or infections.
Although menstrual cups usually hold more volume, based on your flow, you might find yourself in need of emptying the cup even before you get home.
In case there’s a family restroom or private bathroom, this might make things easier. These usually tend to be larger and include an extra toilet with a sink.
If the only option you have is a multi-stall restroom, you can then carry the inconspicuous water bottle to rinse the cup as well as your hands, carry some wet wipes and place it in a bag or pocket, grab a few paper towels, wet them and carry them around.
Moreover, to keep the flow from settling at the bottom of the toilet bowl, lay a few pieces of toilet paper on the water surface before you dump the contents. This helps keep the secretions from sticking to the toilet bowl if you try flushing it away.
Although you may not normally have a sensitive urethra or bladder, you might find removing the menstrual cup painful. Some women describe such as a sharp pain, stinging feeling, or burning.
Now since you’re armed with the right tips and tricks, you can head straight to using one. It might take a few times to learn more about the body and exactly how it works with the menstrual cup, but you should never feel discouraged.
Here’s a beginners guide on How To Use Your Menstrual Cup.
Menstrual Cup Vs. Disposable Menstrual Products
Still not sure whether to use a menstrual cup or continue with the common disposable menstrual products? Here is a step-by-step comparison of these products to help make the right decision.
Disposable Menstrual Products
Many menstrual cups can be reused. With the right care, the best menstrual cup can last for up to 10 years. This means users can spend about $40 on a cup once every 10 years
Used only once and then discarded. You can spend lots of money every month on these disposables.
A menstrual cup can be safely worn for up to 12 hours everyday, depending on how heavy your flow is. An average menstrual cup usually holds about 30ml
Many tampon brands say that you can replace the tampon at least every 12 hours whether you have to or not. The super absorbency tampon can hold between 9 and 12 ml of blood.
You only need one menstrual cup even while out of the house, and you’ll most likely be wearing it, so you will always have a menstrual cup handy
If you choose to use the disposables, you might have to ensure you carry the extras with you. You’ll also have to make some frequent trips to the store to ensure you’ve got everything you need
If your menstrual cup fits properly and is well placed, it disappears inside the vagina and can’t be seen or felt
Tampons might not be felt once inserted, but you might have to deal with the string. The pads are usually worn outside the body. They might be somehow bulky, and might be easily seen through clothing
A menstrual cup does not remove your body’s natural secretions, meaning it remains lubricated and its easier to remove
We cannot say the same applies when removing a tampon. Incase the tampon isn’t saturated, it might dry and even scratch, burn or create some micro tears as you try to remove them.
The menstrual cups usually collects the flow and don’t necessarily interfere with the bacterial or pH balance in the vagina
The tampon absorbs the flow and anything else, leaving you dry
Even though the menstrual cup might end up with a certain odor after being used, it can be easily washed and cleaned even before storage
Pads and tampons are usually placed in the trash, where they can dry and start emitting a very foul odor
The menstrual cup can be worn during different activities including swimming
Tampons can be worn during nearly every activity. Nevertheless, tampons have been said to absorb ocean or pool water when swimming. Also, sanitary pads might stop you from swimming.
The menstrual cups unfold in a vagina to stanch the menstrual flow. These bell-like devices are as effective as tampons and sanitary pads, but less expensive.
Many women haven’t heard about menstrual cups, but some might know these products by brand names such as moon cups or diva cups. They are flexible devices made of latex, rubber, or silicone that are inserted into the vagina to capture the menstrual blood. The cup is left for up to 12 hours before being removed, emptied, rinsed, and then reinserted.
View our Menstrual Moon Cup collection here.
Which is the best menstrual cup for beginners?
Menstrual cups aren’t one-size-fits. A person’s cervical height plays a major role. Some menstrual cups might be more comfortable for new users who are just getting started. One that’s narrow and of medium strength is a great option. If a user isn’t familiar with her cervical height, the best thing they can do is trying a menstrual cup with an average length, one that’s easy to reach.
Which is the best menstrual cup?
Every woman is different and we all have different experiences with any specific cup. The notion that one cup works for a friend, doesn’t mean it will also work for you. The best menstrual cup is one that’s easier to fold, more comfortable to insert, and also worn.
Why use menstrual cups as opposed to disposable products?
This depends on your personal preference. The menstrual cup might not be the most ideal option for every person. But there are numerous benefits to using the menstrual cup over other disposable menstrual products. People switch to menstrual cups for different reasons such as comfort, undetectable, longer protection, to save money, convenience, and less waste.
Are menstrual cups comfortable?
If you find the right menstrual cup in terms of firmness, shape, and correct size, then it will be so comfortable that you might even forget you’re on your period. It’s for this reason that it’s always important to schedule to remove and clean the cup after every 12 hours depending on your flow.
Can a menstrual cup be used by any woman?
Yes, as long as an individual is fully comfortable with inserting the cup and using it does not go against their religion, beliefs, culture or otherwise, then you’ve got every right to use one. People of all sizes, shapes, walks of life and ages use menstrual cups.