Menstrual cups- everything you need to know

Menstrual cups- everything you need to know

There are a few things that can make those of us who get periods cringe like nothing else. The feeling of removing a dry tampon for one, or a pad you swear you just put on and is suddenly soaked, but you don’t have time to change it. The menstrual cup prevents a longer-wearing, low-maintenance alternative to these annoyances for those who are curious about finding a period solution that works best for them. 

What is a menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups are flexible cups made of body-safe plastic which, when inserted into the vagina, can collect blood and uterine lining for up to twelve hours (!) Like tampons, menstrual cups are ideal for exercise and movement, including swimming. Menstrual cups have only risen in popularity since the 2010s,  but the first menstrual cup was patented in the US in 1937. 

But many of us are still wondering, how do you use a menstrual cup?

How to insert a menstrual cup

  1. Wash your hands 
  2. Optional: Add a water-based lube to the cup, or water
  3. Fold the cup in half, with the rim facing upwards, and insert (just like a tampon!). Some people find it easier to insert in a squat, sitting, or leg-up position.
  4. Adjust if uncomfortable

How to remove a menstrual cup

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Insert finger and thumb into vagina to find the stem of the cup
  3. Pinch the base of the cup to remove
  4. Keep upright 
  5. Empty contents into the toilet 
  6. Wash cup with soap and warm water

What are the advantages to using a menstrual cup? 
Like previously mentioned, there are several key advantages to using a menstrual cup including: 

  • Sustainability: They are reusable, eco-friendly, and produce no waste.
  • Affordable: in the long-run, the cup is significantly cheaper than regular tampons and pads. Disposable products cost the average woman $50-150 per year, unlike the cup, which costs $20-40 and can last up to a decade.
  • Safe: They don’t have the harmful chemicals included in many tampons, such as bleached cotton; they don’t strip the vagina of discharge, unlike tampons; they may reduce risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
  • Convenient: A cup holds up to five times more blood than pads and tampons. They can be used at any time during your period, without discomfort. 

Why not use a menstrual cup?
The primary deterrent from using a menstrual cup is the removal process, which can be messy and difficult to clean if you are in a public restroom. For some women, menstrual cups may be difficult to remove or insert if they are using the incorrect size for their body.

Choosing the right menstrual cup for you
For the menstrual cup to work effectively and comfortably, it's key to choose the cup that’s best for you. Cups aren’t one-size-fits-all. If it’s your first time using a cup, or you are under the age of thirty, start smaller. If you’ve had children, or have a much heavier flow, a medium or larger size might be a better fit. Cups also come in different shapes, including a v-shape, bell shape, round, and asymmetrical. 

While there is a disposable option, disposable cups defeat the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the menstrual cup. When choosing a cup, the quality and material should be taken into account. If you’re allergic to latex, make sure to purchase a silicone, (not rubber) cup. All menstrual cup users should make sure they’re purchasing from a reliable source to ensure quality and safety of materials. 

Check out Orchyd marketplace for their reusable menstrual cup and all the period info you need.  

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