Women's Health

Bloody Buddy: Menstrual Cups

What are menstrual cups?

Menstrual cups are bell-shaped cup that seal against the vaginal wall just below the cervix in order to collect menstrual fluid as opposed to absorbing it as tampons and pads do.

 

Pros’a and Con’s of Menstrual Cup Use

Menstrual Cups

Pro’s

Con’s

–          Potentially reduce cramps

Many think that cramps are solely the result of the menstrual cycle; however, tampons can cause or add to them because they irritate the vaginal wall. Made of soft silicon and not inserted quite as far as a tampon, menstrual cups can reduce and often completely prevent cramps caused by feminine hygiene products

 

–          Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place

Unlike tampons, menstrual cups don’t dry the vagina.

As such, beneficial bacteria stays in place to protect

You from vaginal infections

 

–          More time between changes

Most of the menstrual cups have enough capacity to handle a 12 hour flow

 

–          Long – lasting protection

 

–          Less embarrassing odors

 

–          Clean chemical composition

Menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, such as bleach and dioxin. Also, menstrual cups are not associated with toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is a rare, life-threatening condition linked to tampon use

 

–          Reusable

Most of the advertised cups are reusable. One cup is reusable for up to 5 years. This means less cost for you and less waste for the environment

 

– Ability to track the amount of menstrual fluid produced

 

–          Potentially messy situation

Cleaning menstrual cups can be a bit tricky especially if you put it in the context of public bathroom

 

–          Difficulties with insertion

Young girls who have never had intercourse might fir it difficult to insert the cup. Women who have IUD should consult the doctor prior to purchasing / using menstrual cups

 

–          Possible fit problems

Due to the cup’s size, many women find them to be uncomfortable at first. However, menstrual cups are not meant to be inserted as far as tampons go so women tend to find a comfort point eventually. That said, sometimes individual anatomy can make proper use of menstrual cups challenging or not possible. Women who have fibroids and prolapsed uterus may not find cups to fit properly

 

 

–          Cup removal

Emptying and removal of the menstrual cup presents quite a learning curve

 

–          Hygiene maintenance

 

 

 

Types of menstrual cups

Reusable cups

Disposable cups (Menstrual Disk)

-Bell – shaped cup

-Usually made of medical grade silicone or latex

-Cup is reusable

– Disk – shaped cup with a flexible outer ring and soft, collapsed center

– Usually made of medical grade polymer blend

– Cup is disposed after use

 

 

Reusable menstrual cup choice criteria:

Material Most brands use medical grade silicone as the material for the menstrual cup; however, latex is also an option

 

Color Silicone from which menstrual cups are made is naturally colorless or translucent. These cups tend to loose their appearance rather fast as they get yellowish stains with use. Although the stains are not very obvious and can be removed with some effort, many producers prefer to color enhance menstrual cups for long lasting appeal

 

Size Most menstrual cups are offered in 2 sizes:

 

-Size 1 (Small) is geared toward teens and women who have never given birth vaginally

-Size 2 (Large) is recommended for women over the age of 30, women who have given birth as well as  women who have a moderate to heavy menstrual flow

 

Capacity The average menstrual cup is designed to hold around 20 ml of menstrual fluid. For comparison purposes, regular tampon is able to hold 10 – 12 ml

 

Firmness / Flexibility Firmer cups tend to pop open easier after the insertion. They also are able to hold a more consistent seal again the vaginal wall thus preventing leaks from happening. Generally speaking, larger cups tend to be firmer.

 

Softer cups are said to be more comfortable

 

Length  Position of your cervix should be evaluated right before the period in order to choose the best fitting menstrual cup

 

Low (cervix is inch away from vulva): “Bell” shaped shorter cup

Medium (  ): Standard sized menstrual cup

High (   ): “V” shaped longer cups

 

Thanks for reading,

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