Everything you need to know about menstrual cups

Posted on 7 September 2023 by Natalia
Everything you need to know about menstrual cups

Small, discreet, and reusable – the menstrual cup is making waves not just for its unmatched comfort during that time of the month, but also for its eco-friendly vibes and wallet-friendly approach. But what's the real tea on this alternative to tampons and pads? Why are so many women making the switch?

Diving a tad deeper, menstrual cups have been around for a while but are only now hitting the mainstream in a big way. They're a sustainable choice – a single cup can last for years if maintained well. Think about all the single-use products you'd be saving from the landfill! Plus, for those of us who like to keep an eye on our pennies, it's a once-off purchase that could save a bundle in the long run. No wonder they've become a monthly must-have for so many.
So if you're on the fence, curious, or just fancy trying something new for your period, join the conversation and let's explore the wonders of the menstrual cup together!

What is a menstrual cup, anyway?

Think of a menstrual cup as a nifty little container, resembling a bell or tulip, crafted to nestle inside the vagina and gather menstrual flow. Now, unlike our familiar pals – tampons and pads – which absorb the blood, the cup simply collects it. This means we can wave goodbye to the dryness and irritation often tied to traditional absorbent products. Hello, comfort!

Wondering what these little wonders are made of? Most menstrual cups are fashioned from medical-grade silicone, latex, or thermoplastic elastomer. Why these materials, you ask? Well, they're known for being soft, super flexible, and most importantly, bio-compatible. That’s a fancy way of saying they're designed to be chummy with our bodies, ensuring we don’t have any nasty allergic reactions or irritations. Go on, give your body the best it deserves!

Finding your perfect menstrual cup fit

Size and capacity

Menstrual cups typically come in a little family of two or three sizes, often labelled as "small", "medium", and "large". And no, it's not a one-size-fits-all affair! The right size for you usually ties in with a few things: your age, whether you've given birth vaginally, or even your activity levels.

For the ladies who experience a heavier flow, you might want to lean towards a cup with a larger capacity. Just to give you an idea, the volume of these lifesavers can range from 10 ml to a generous 30 ml.

Material matters

  • Medical silicone: This one's hypoallergenic, soft, and made to last. It's a go-to for those who might be a tad sensitive or allergic to other materials.
  • Latex: Nature's offering, though it's worth noting that some gals might be allergic to it.
  • Thermoplastic elastomer: Often found in the softer cups and yep, it's hypoallergenic too!

Flex and shape

The flexibility of the cup can be a game-changer. A softer cup might be just the ticket for those who are new to the cup club, offering a comfy fit. But if you're always on the go or hitting the gym, a firmer cup could provide that snug seal you're after.

As for shape? Some cups might be a bit flatter, while others have a more rounded vibe. The ideal shape is a very personal choice, based on your body and what feels right.
So, with all this in mind, finding your cupmate (see what we did there?) is all about getting to know your own body and needs. Happy cupping!

Your guide to using a menstrual cup

1. Insert your cup

First things first, let's talk hygiene. Give those hands a proper wash with soap and water, and make sure your cup is spick and span too.

Now, onto the fun part: folding. There are a few ways to do this, but the "C" (or "U") fold and the "punch-down" fold are fan favourites. Once you've got your fold on point, find a comfy position – whether that’s squatting, standing with a leg up, or just sitting. Gently slide the folded cup into your vagina and release to let it pop open. Give it a little twist or run a finger around the base to ensure it's fully unfurled.

2. Take out your cup

Hygiene recap: wash those hands! Next, take a deep breath and relax your pelvic muscles; it makes removal a breeze.

To get your cup out, gently pinch the base to break that suction seal. Keeping up the pressure, ease the cup out. Quick tip: avoid tugging the stem without squeezing the base – unless you fancy a not-so-nice suction sensation!

3. Keep your cup clean

Throughout your period, empty your cup's contents into the loo. First, give it a rinse with cold water, followed by a gentle wash with mild soap and warm water. And don’t forget to rinse off any soapy remnants.

When Aunt Flo says goodbye, give your cup a deep clean. Pop it in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, but keep an eye out to ensure it's not touching the bottom of the pan.

4. Store your cup safely

Once your cup's all clean and dry, tuck it into the breathable fabric pouch usually provided. Steer clear of plastic bags or airtight containers – they might invite mould or other bacteria to the party.

And there you have it, ladies! Your step-by-step guide to menstrual cup mastery. Once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without one!

The advantages of using a menstrual cup

It’s Budget-Friendly

Alright, there's an upfront cost. But when you crunch the numbers, you'll find that your menstrual cup pays for itself in just a few months, compared to the monthly dash for tampons or pads.

With a bit of TLC, your trusty cup can stick with you for up to 10 years. Yes, 10 years! Think of all the pounds you'll be pocketing in the long run.

Give Mother Earth a Hug

By making the cup switch, you're ditching the disposal of hundreds of tampons and pads each year. And let's not forget – manufacturing a single cup demands fewer resources and results in less pollution than the constant churn of disposable products. So, go on, make a sustainable swap!

For Your Health & Comfort

Breathe easy knowing menstrual cups are free from chemicals and fragrances, slashing the risk of any pesky irritations.

They also bring down the risk of toxic shock syndrome, a concern often linked with tampons.

And the cherry on top? Once it’s nestled in place, the cup is so discreet you'll barely remember it's there. It's like your little period secret.

Ladies, with benefits like these, it might just be time to give the menstrual cup a whirl!