Menstrual awareness and health are crucial components of women’s overall health and well-being. Menstruation is a natural process that occurs in the reproductive system of women and it plays an essential role in fertility. However, it is often stigmatised, which leads to a lack of awareness and understanding of menstrual health. Menstrual cup has been gaining popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional menstrual products like pads and tampons.
While some people may be hesitant to try something new, menstrual cups have a lot of benefits that make them worth considering. In this blog, we will discuss what menstrual cups are, how to use them, and their benefits.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a reusable, bell-shaped device made of medical-grade silicone or rubber that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. They come in different sizes and can be used for up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup?
Using a menstrual cup can seem daunting at first, especially for those who have never used one before. However, with a little practice, it can become an easier and convenient way to manage menstruation. Here are some steps on how to use a menstrual cup:
- It is important to wash your hands with soap and water before menstrual cup use. It’s essential to keep the cup clean to prevent the risk of infection.
- Fold the menstrual cup. There are various folding methods, but the most popular ones are the C-fold and the punch-down fold. To C-fold, pinch the cup in the middle, fold it in half, and then fold it in half again. For the punch-down fold, push one side of the cup down into the centre to create a triangular shape.
- Insert the cup. You can sit, stand, or squat when inserting the cup. Relax your muscles and with one hand, hold the folded cup in the position of the entrance to your vagina. Using the other hand, gently push the cup into your vagina. The cup should sit comfortably inside and should create a seal against the vaginal walls.
- Check the seal. After inserting the cup, run your finger around the edge of the cup to make sure it has opened fully and is creating a seal. You can also give the stem a gentle tug to ensure it’s secure.
- Wear the cup for up to 12 hours. Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours before they need to be emptied and cleaned.
- Remove the cup. Gently pull on the stem until you can reach the base of the cup when you want to remove it. Pinch the base of the cup to release the seal and remove it slowly, tilting it slightly to prevent spillage.
- Empty and clean the cup. Empty the contents of the cup into the toilet or sink, wash the cup with warm water and soap, and reinsert it.
It’s important to note that using a menstrual cup can have a learning curve, and it may take a few cycles to get used to it. However, with patience and practice, it can become a comfortable and reliable way to manage menstruation.
Benefits of Using a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cup benefits are as follows:
Although the initial cost of a menstrual cup is higher than a pack of tampons or pads, it pays for itself in the long run. With proper care, a menstrual cup can last for years, making it a more cost-effective option in the long term.
Unlike tampons and pads that need to be thrown away after use, menstrual cups are reusable. They can last up to 10 years with proper care, reducing the amount of waste produced. The production of tampons and pads also generates a significant amount of waste that ends up in landfills, contributing to environmental pollution. Using a menstrual cup can, therefore, reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the planet.
Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone or rubber, which means they are free of harmful chemicals and toxins that can be found in disposable menstrual products. They also do not disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina, reducing the risk of infections.
4. Less Leakage
Menstrual cups are designed to create a seal against the vaginal walls, which significantly reduces the likelihood of leaks compared to traditional menstrual products such as pads and tampons. Additionally, the capacity of the menstrual cup is greater than that of a tampon, which reduces the frequency of changing and therefore the likelihood of leaks.
Menstrual cups are more convenient. Unlike tampons and pads, menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours without needing to be changed. Additionally, menstrual cups are ideal for women who engage in physical activities such as swimming or sports as they do not interfere with movement.
Things to Keep in Mind When Using Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are a safe and reliable product when used correctly. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using menstrual cups to ensure optimal comfort, hygiene, and effectiveness. Some important tips to keep in mind are:
- Follow the instructions: Before using a menstrual cup, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper insertion, removal, and cleaning.
- Choose the right size: Menstrual cups come in different sizes, so choose the menstrual cup size that best fits your body and menstrual flow.
- Insertion and removal: Take your time when inserting and removing your menstrual cup to avoid discomfort or injury. Relax your pelvic muscles and try different folding techniques to find the one that works best for you.
- Empty and clean regularly: Empty and clean your menstrual cup every 8-12 hours, or as needed. Rinse it with warm water and mild soap, or use a designated menstrual cup cleaning solution.
- Check for leaks: After inserting your menstrual cup, check for leaks by running a finger around the base to ensure that it is properly sealed.
In conclusion, menstrual cups are an effective and sustainable alternative to traditional menstrual products like pads and tampons. They are cost-effective, eco-friendly, healthier, and more convenient. It might take some time to get used to using them but with practice, they can become a comfortable and dependable way to deal with menstruation.
It’s important to know how to put them in, take them out, and clean them properly to make sure they work well and keep you healthy. In general, menstrual cups are a safe and trustworthy way to handle your period while helping the environment by producing less waste.