Tempted to be part of the growing menstrual cup community? We have carefully curated this article to give you the low down with regards to the most common FAQs as to what exactly is a menstrual cup and why everyone has been raving about them. Below contains everything you need to know about the menstrual cup revolution (and yes – we do mean revolution).
What is a menstrual cup and what is it made out of?
Simply put, a menstrual cup is a reusable bell-shaped feminine hygiene product, which is inserted into the vagina and is used during a woman’s menstruation period. A menstrual is a reusable alternative to other products us women use everything. Whereas opposed to absorbing flow (like a traditional pad or tampon) it rather catches and collects it inside the vagina. Usually, a menstrual cup is made from medical grade silicone (but not always – as this is brand dependent). The silicone makes the cup flexible enough to fit comfortably inside the vaginal canal and durable to last for years.
What are the health benefits of using a menstrual cup as opposed to using disposable tampons and pads?
There are so many health benefits for switching to using a menstrual cup. Menstrual cups are not associated with toxic shock syndrome (TSS) (which is often associated with tampons) and menstrual cups do not cause unary tract infections (UTI’s) or yeast infections. As mentioned, menstrual cups are made from medical grade silicone. The silicone material makes the cup a much safer option compared to tampons and pads. This is because the silicone does not absorb the body’s natural moisture. Tampons on the other hand absorb around 35% of the body’s natural moisture, which creates imbalances within the moisture levels in the vagina. Additionally, unlike tampons and pads, due to the silicone, menstrual cups contain no bleaches, absorbency gels or deodorizers.
What are the positive environmental impacts of using a menstrual cup?
Panty liners, pads and tampons (including their packaging) generate over 200 000 tons of waste per year. This is extremely worrying considering the fact that majority of these products are made out of plastic. Meaning that these products take centuries longer than the lifespan of the individual who use them to degrade. Menstrual cups on the other hand are reusable for several years. Additionally, when it is time to dispose of your menstrual cup, the cup is not hazardous to the environment as they are made from silicone, which comes from silica (a type of sand).
How easy is the menstrual cup to use and can you feel it?
To be honest, it may take a couple of times of practice to get used to inserting the menstrual cup correctly. However, once inserted right, you should not be able to feel the cup at all. For many women, it can take a couple of cycles to get the knack!
How long can I wear my menstrual cup for?
Just to give you a rough estimate, the average menstrual cup is able to contain up to three times more flow than tampons and pads. Making it possible to wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours. This means that most of us would only need to empty our cups in the mornings and evenings (eliminating those awkward bathroom runs at school or work). However, this is dependent on your flow.
Does the menstrual cup smell?
It is important to understand that blood only has an odor when it comes into contact with oxygen. So, with that said, the answer is no, your cup will not smell. However, if you leave your cup in for more than 12 hours (which is not recommended) then only once it has been removed you may notice an odor.
Can I exercise while wearing my menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups are perfect to use to exercise with without worry (this includes swimming). Although, a firmer cup is advised in order to ensure that the menstrual cup will stay in place against any intense muscle contractions.
Which brand, shape, style and size is right for me?
Just like body shapes, menstrual cups are not a “one-size fits all” situation. It is important to understand that there are a large variety of different brands available, with different shapes, styles and sizes.
Some of our favorite menstrual brands include:
Mooncup is a menstrual cup brand which is manufactured in the United Kingdom. Mooncup is Vegan Society certified and is one of the world’s top ten most ethical companies. The Mooncup menstrual cup is made from medical grade silicon and comes in two different sizes, being Size A and Size B. Size A is recommended if you have given birth vaginally or are 30 years and older, while Size B is recommended if you have not given birth vaginally and are under 30 years old.
The Fair Squared Menstrual Cup
Based in Germany, Fair Squared is a brand which creates personal hygiene products and cosmetics with the aim to reduce inequality in world trade. Fair Squared have created a menstrual cup to add to their growing product range of products. As opposed to silicone or plastic, the Fair Squared Menstrual Cup is made from fairly traded and natural rubber from Sri Lanka. The Fair Squared Menstrual Cup comes in two sizes, being medium and large.
Intimina Menstrual Cups
The Swedish female intimate health brand Intimina have created a variety of different menstrual care products, which include, the Lilly Cup One, the Lilly Cup, the Lilly Cup Compact and the Ziggy Cup. As an overview, the Lilly Cup One has been created for beginners of all ages; the Lilly Cup has been created for women with a high cervix, the Lilly Cup Compact has been created for women with a lower cervix; and the Ziggy Cup which can be used during sex.
To end off, we manage so many things in our lives, from our work, to our family to our exercise routines. One area which is not openly talked about is how we, as women, manage our menstrual health. The current spotlight on menstrual cups have made it more important than ever for us to be educated in terms of understanding the variety of options available in terms of managing our menstrual wellbeing.
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