According to the Huffington Post, women spend about $18, 871 on their period over the course of a lifetime. A significant part of that cost comes from menstrual pads and tampons on which women spend an average of $1,773. It is no surprise then that many women have become more conscious of these expenses and are now looking for a more natural and economical alternative in the form of menstrual cups.
What exactly are menstrual cups?
If you have never seen or heard of a menstrual cup, then these hygiene products might seem strange to you. Still, we surmise that women felt the same way about tampons when they were first introduced. Look past it though, and you will find that menstrual cups offer many advantages which have led many to make the change from conventional pads and tampons.
Menstrual cups are sterile, reusable hygiene products made from soft medical grade silicone. These items are around 2 inches in length and free of irritants like latex, dyes, bleach and BPA (Bisphenol A).
Women wear menstrual cups internally much like a tampon. Unlike the latter, however, menstrual cups do not absorb menstrual flow but collects it. Once full, the cup is emptied into the toilet and do not have to be changed as frequently as a menstrual pad or tampon. Because menstrual cups are reusable, women need only purchase one, and it will serve them well for many years which makes it an excellent long-term investment especially if you suffer from heavy bleeding due to Endometriosis and similar conditions.
How much fluid can a menstrual cup hold?
The average menstrual cup can hold about 30 ml of menstrual fluid which is around a third of the average menstrual cycle. When you place a menstrual cup, a light seal is formed with your vaginal wall, permitting the menstrual circulation to pass into the cup, without any leakage or smell. It is likely that you will clear a menstrual cup less frequently than you’d replace tampons or pads. Many women also found menstrual cups helpful in tracking irregularities in their menstrual cycle and take steps to balance hormones naturally.
How is using a menstrual cup better than tampons or pads?
Menstrual cups are a lot better for your body, the environment, and your wallet. Don’t believe us? Consider the following reasons why more and more women are making the switch to menstrual cups:
- Menstrual cups do not interfere with the natural vaginal environment — unlike tampons, menstrual cups do not trigger or aggravate vaginal dryness. Tampons absorb around 65% of menstrual discharge and 45% natural moisture. This produces an imbalance of moisture and pH levels of the vagina which can cause irritation and dryness.
- Unlike tampons and menstrual pads, there is no risk of getting fibers left behind the vaginal wall which has been found to be a contributing factor in TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).
- Menstrual cups are gentle on sensitive skin — a silicone menstrual cup will not trigger irritation. They are perfectly ideal for who are susceptible to skin problems like thrush, eczema and skin allergies.
- Menstrual cups are made from a unique medical grade non-allergic silicone. Silicone is stemmed from silica, which is one of the purest material in the world.
- Menstrual cups do not interfere with healthy vaginal functions — Menstrual cups have a smooth surface area that allows the mucous membranes of the vaginal wall to continue their essential cleaning and protective functions. The menstrual cup does not absorb your body’s natural defense mechanisms.
- Menstrual Cups are good for the environment — think about the amount panty liners, menstrual pads, and tampons that you are bound to use over your lifetime. These products end up in dumpsites and add to the waste problem affecting the environment. Consider that the average woman uses around 253 boxes of tampons (36 tampons per box) over her lifetime. Menstrual cups on the other can reused and can last several years with proper care.
- Menstrual cups put more money in your pocket — Let us say that a box of tampons cost around $7 to $10 depending on where you live. Women go through roughly 456 periods throughout in a lifetime and use up about 20 tampons per cycle. That is 9,120 tampons at about $0.19 to $0.27 each for a total of $1732 to $2462 which is a significant amount of money that you can start putting to better use.
What can you expect when using a menstrual cup?
If correctly used, menstrual cups are so comfortable that most women will hardly notice any difference during the transition. Of course, it might take some getting used to as you will have to find the angle and position that works best for you. Once you figure it out, it might surprise you how easy it is to use a menstrual cup and wish you started sooner.
You will have to empty, wash and reinsert your menstrual cup every four to 8 hours depending on the rate of your menstrual flow. The fluid is collected inside the cup and is neither messy or unpleasant.
A menstrual cup can safely be used overnight and is excellent for all sports, swimming and for traveling. You clean a menstrual cup the same way as you would a baby bottle — wash with sterilizing liquid or boil for at least 5 minutes in an open pan filled with water.
How Do You Utilize A Menstrual Cup?
- Find a comfortable position, either sitting, standing, crouching or kneeling.
- Press together the sides of the cup, then fold the sides in half.
- Hold the folded sides firmly together between thumb and forefinger of one hand. The single curved edge must be far from your palm.
- Using your other hand, gently part the vaginal lips and slowly insert the curved tip of the menstrual cup into the vagina.
- Position the menstrual cup following the natural angle of your vagina. You do not need to press the menstrual cup up high into the vagina; the vaginal muscle will keep it secure.
- Once you have managed to insert the menstrual cup, pinch the base of the cup and try to rotate it just to make sure that it has unfolded completely. At this point, the menstrual cup is sealed and won’t leak as you go about your day.
- Wash the menstrual cup with mild soap and warm water after emptying. To remove the menstrual cup for cleaning, pinch the base of the cup as you gently pull it out.
Aiza Tordil is a beauty and health blogger from Love Thyself offering helpful advice on beauty tips and healthy living which she practices to keep looking healthy and attractive. She is passionate about sustainable living and always up on the hottest natural and organic skincare trends. Ultimately, she hopes to tell stories that strike a chord with people and provide them the importance of using only natural and organic products.