"It opens and rests on the pelvic floor muscles."
Menstrual cups are another addition to the selection of period products, such as sanitary pads and tampons. The cup sits inside your vagina, collecting a mass amount of blood.
When choosing what size menstrual cup is right for you, it is important to undertake research.
Doctors suggest that you should take your age, level of flow, length of the cervix and other factors into account when finding the right cup.
There are various benefits of using menstrual cups as well as several dangers. Before committing to the decision of using a menstrual cup, it is important to ask for advice and take precautions.
If you are uncertain about using a menstrual cup, you can always seek professional advice from your doctor. You can even speak to a family or friend who has used or is using the cup.
DESIblitz highlight what menstrual cups are as well as the benefits and the dangers of using one.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Many women across the world use menstrual cups rather than a sanitary pad or a tampon. Menstrual cups are sustainable, comfortable and cheaper in price.
Menstrual cups are made of flexible medical grade silicone and can be washed and re-used. This makes them sustainable and better for the environment.
There are different sized cups, you can choose between small, medium or large. The size depends on your age, what fits best and your flow.
Recourses suggest that teenagers, women who are under 30 or women who have never had sexual intercourse should use a small cup. However, women over 30 who have a heavier flow should use a larger one.
Umbra from an online magazine, Grist talks about menstrual cups, she says:
“When folded and inserted, it opens and rests on the pelvic floor muscles. It collects menstrual blood rather than absorbing it and is emptied periodically, depending on your own personal righteous womanhood.”
In order to insert it, at first, it may take a few tries to get it right, but you will get there in the end. Before inserting the menstrual cup, it is highly recommended to wash your hands and release your bladder.
It is important to place the cup in boiling water to sterilise it. Once it has been sterilised, fold and scrunch the rubber rim to turn it into a U shape.
You can then insert it inside you, once it is in, the rim will become circular again. It should fit securely, ready to catch every drop of blood.
When the cup is inside you, it should feel as if there is nothing there, often you will forget it is even there. If it begins to hurt or starts to feel uncomfortable, then it has not been inserted correctly.
You should also take the same precautions when removing the menstrual cup. Again, wash your hands and begin to pull at the stem of the cup.
Once it has been removed, be sure to empty the blood and wash away the excess. Make sure it has been cleaned properly to avoid infections or bad odour when using it next time.
Even though menstrual cups can be a tad bit difficult to insert, they are better in the long-run and have several benefits.
In comparison to a tampon or a sanitary pad, you can leave a menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours. This means you only need to change it roughly, twice a day.
However, if you prefer to empty it regularly, then you can also do that. It depends on how comfortable you feel.
When a woman is menstruating, the bathroom bin is typically full to the rim of used tampons, sanitary pads and wrappers.
However, when using a menstrual cup, you can re-use them.
Simply, empty the blood and give it a good wash, ready for the next use.
There are 60% of women who menstruate that use sanitary pads which contain up to 90% of plastic. Menstrual cups, however, contain zero plastic.
Menstrual cups collect more blood than a tampon or a sanitary pad does. In fact, you will not feel the blood seeping out of the cup as it is made for heavy flows.
Generally, when menstruating women are at the beginning of their period and the flow is heavier, they will find leakages. However, women who use a menstruating cup find that they leak less.
Cost is everything when it comes to period products. With the increasing price of sanitary pads and tampons, menstrual cups are the best way to go when the cost is involved.
You can simply spend up to only £20 in a whole year when using a menstrual cup. It is perfect for those who have a tight budget or are not able to purchase sanitary pads and tampons regularly.
Remember, time is money. The time you will spend going out to the supermarket or chemist to buy sanitary pads or tampons adds up within the year.
Whereas, if you buy a menstrual cup it will last you a long time so you do not need to waste any hours in your day.
When the cup has been inserted correctly, you are able to carry on with your daily life as normal. You can carry out any activity as you normally would and do whatever you wish without the stress of leakages.
The menstrual cup will also feel comfortable if you are working out, sleeping or even swimming. Using the cup also does not disrupt sexual intercourse, so you can carry on as normal with zero hesitation.
However, if you are planning on having intercourse with your partner, you will need to make sure you are using a soft disposable cup. If you have a reusable cup inside you, you will need to remove it beforehand.
Understanding your Body
One main benefit of using a menstrual cup in comparison to other sanitary methods is that you are able to see fully what is inside your body.
When you remove the cup to empty the blood, it is important to check if there are any worrying signs, such as clots. When you use sanitary pads and tampons, it is hard to check for any worrying signs.
While there are various amazing benefits of using a menstrual cup, there are also many dangers. The dangers of the cups can go as far as damaging and affecting your body.
Allergies & Irritation
Those with latex allergies are lucky as the cups are latex-free. However, the rubber or silicone can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
In regards to irritation, if you do not clean and wash the cup properly, you may start to feel discomfort. This is why it is important to deeply clean the menstrual cup after you have emptied it.
It is very important that you should not re-use a disposable menstrual cup, you need to throw them away after the first use. If you re-use them, it is possible you may get an infection.
To avoid getting an infection, either throw away any disposable menstrual cups or simply buy re-useable ones.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is also a worry amongst menstruating women. TSS can occur if you prolonge the amount of time the cup is inside you for.
Finding the Right Fit
When women first start using menstrual cups, it is hard to find the right fit. This results in purchasing several types and sizes of the cups to test out what is best for you.
By purchasing so many cups, it means you will be spending a lot of money!
Initially, when the cup is in it feels as though you do not have anything inserted inside you, however, they are hard to put in.
At first, it can take a few tries to get the gist of it and being able to insert it in correctly. Remember, comfort is key, if you do not insert the cup properly you may feel discomfort and irritation.
A Messy Result
Small leaks and spillages are unavoidable when using a menstrual cup. If you are in a sticky situation and do not have much space to remove the cup, spills can occur.
It means you will have to clean up after yourself even if you do not have the time to. However, if you use a sanitary pad or tampon, these problems will not occur.
Overall, there are as many benefits as well as daunting dangers when using menstrual cups. They are sustainable but can cause infections and while collecting more blood they cause spills.
Essentially, it is your decision to make, either step out of your comfort zone and try a menstrual cup or be safe and stick with a sanitary pad or tampon.
It is important to discover which sanitary methods work best for you and this comes with trial and error.