For years, women have been using pads or tampons during their periods. But upon the conception of menstrual cups, women have been given another alternative from the first two options.
Menstrual cups are your go-to reusable product for menstrual blood. Although it may look intimidating at first, with practice and adjustments, using a cup would be a practical and easy method to collect menstrual blood.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a reusable feminine product made for vaginal hygiene. It is a small and rubbery material made to be inserted inside a woman’s vaginal wall to collect menstrual fluid during her period. Many women use it because of their longevity, and it’s more eco-friendly than tampons and pads.
Depending on a woman’s flow, she can use the menstrual cup for up to twelve hours. With the proper maintenance and care, this cup can last up to a few years. Also, it is easy to sanitise and maintain and is relatively safer than tampons.
Menstrual cups are made to last for a long time. Some are even made specifically to last for an extended period than your usual menstrual cups.
Since these cups are reusable, they are less prone to end up in a landfill, getting clogged up somewhere they shouldn’t be, and cutting up trees for production than the available alternatives. However, if you are worried about sanitisation, there are menstrual cups that are meant to be disposable. Make sure to always read the label so you would know whether they are disposable or not.
Another advantage of menstrual cups to other products is its absence of undesirable odour. You will not be worried about a foul smell that may lead to embarrassing situations. This is mainly due to the fluid not getting exposed to air, thus, the absence of odour.
Unlike menstrual cups, tampons absorb all the fluid inside your vagina, including the blood. This can disturb the ph and bacterial balance of your vagina, which can cause further problems.
Also, since menstrual cups are more reusable, they are less prone to changes than tampons. Tampons need to be changed every four to eight hours, while menstrual cups can last up to twelve hours, making your trips to the bathroom less frequent.
If you are worried about having less intimate time with your partner while wearing menstrual cups, you don’t need to worry. Intercourse is still possible while wearing a cup. It’s more of a personal choice if you want to pull it or not during intercourse. And the best thing about this aspect is that your male partner will not feel anything during intercourse. That said, the intercourse will be less uncomfortable.
After all the advantages mentioned above, nothing tops a menstrual cup’s easiness in usage. This is true for women who have used tampons without applicators. Also, if you have used a diaphragm for birth control, you’ll have less trouble in using menstrual cups.
The basic as to how to insert menstrual cup is to fold it until it looks like a tampon, then insert it at the back of the vagina and give it a little push. It will then proceed to work its way back up your vaginal wall. You shouldn’t feel the presence of the menstrual cup if you have correctly inserted it.
Probably the central issue of women using it is the mess during cleaning. Emptying the cup can be pretty unsanitary, but with enough practice and technique, you can learn how to get over the messy part and quickly empty the contents of the cup.
For younger girls and those who didn’t experience intercourse before, inserting a menstrual cup can be tricky. Also, if you are using an IUD, the menstrual cup can pull the IUD strings and accidentally dislodge it. For this, you can ask the advice of your ob-gyn.
Another issue among women is the removal of the menstrual cup. It can be steep for some, especially for those who are new in using it. To easily remove the cup, don’t pull the stem, but instead, pinch the base and try to pull it. This method makes it easier to remove a cup after use. You can then clean it afterwards.
Menstrual cups are arguably better than tampons and pads, mainly because of their efficiency in collecting menstrual fluid, ease of usage, and reusability. But to know if you are suitable for a menstrual cup, give it a try.
There is no harm in trying, and you might like it more than the other hygiene products in the market these days. Also, always read the label and ask your ob-gyn before trying it out.
Image credit: Pixabay
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.