Are menstrual cups right for you?
Doesn’t it suck how you’re so pumped for an outdoor swim or that big hike you’ve been planning for a while, only to get your period?
If you’re the type who is fairly active, and find that constantly having to change pads or napkins is a hassle (not to mention wasteful!) then menstrual cups might be a good bet for you.
But what exactly are menstrual cups?
Menstrual cups are funnel-shaped feminine hygiene products that are made of either hypoallergenic rubber of silicone that is inserted into the vagina to collect period blood.
They’re inserted into the vagina much like tampons, but of course being that they’re wider and have to be folded and maneuvered around a little to fit down there, it may be uncomfortable to first time users or those unfamiliar with tampon use.
There are many variations of the device found online, and depending on your age, the length of your cervix, how heavy or light your flow is, if you’ve had sex or given birth vaginally, and even the strength of your pelvic floor muscles; all of which you can discuss with your doctor, you might want to do more research on which cup is right for you.
Most brands sell small or large menstrual cups, because depending on your flow, you can wear a cup without changing for up to 12 hours.
Menstrual cups are also lauded by women for outright nixing the need for pads and tampons, and because they last an average of two years before manufacturers advise you to replace them, they’re also environmentally helpful.
Keep in mind though, that owning a cup doesn’t have the same conveniences as stripping off a pad or tampon and chucking in the trash: first off, it’s recommended that you place it in boiling water for 5- 10 minutes when you take it out of the packaging to kill off bacteria, and when you’re ready to use it, remember to wash your hands before putting in or taking it out.
But then again, who said going waste-free was an easy job?
The general advice is that you shouldn’t be able to feel the cup once you have it in, but if you do, then you can maneuver it again so it’s more comfortable. You shouldn’t worry about it slipping out either when you’re working out or doing other strenuous activities as it’s meant to stay in place until you’re ready to remove it.
HealthLine recommends squatting, propping a leg up, anything really that works for you, so you are at your most comfortable.
Aside from the budget and environmentally helpful selling points, menstrual cups don’t put you at risk of toxic shock syndrome (a bacterial infection) like pads or tampons do; because cups collect, rather than absorb blood.
But remember, while we could list the benefits of a menstrual cup here (one of our writers has one for over six months and so far she’s happy), bodies all differ, and what works for one may not be the best for you.
Check with your doctor too if you have concerns about allergies, sensitivity, sexual activity, and utilizing birth control like IUDs if you’re thinking about getting a menstrual cup.