Over a lifetime, menstruators can experience around 480 periods, and that's a lot to be using the wrong menstrual product. The menstrual product you use is a personal choice, and there are many factors that can lead you to the right decision.
Growing up, many started managing their monthly flow using pads before probably moving on to tampons. Now, there are plenty of options for menstruation products, including menstrual cups, organic reusable pads, and organic period underwear.
Of course, traditional cotton pads and tampons are also still options for menstruation. But when it comes to choosing your menstrual products, all of the options can be quite overwhelming. Here we discuss menstrual cups, how to use them, and some of their benefits over other period products.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups are designed to be inserted into the vagina to collect the blood flow during a period. They're made of flexible materials such as latex, silicone, and rubber. Be cautious about any allergies to latex, and instead opt for silicone or rubber.
They are reusable, durable, and can last up to ten years, which has led many people to make the switch from traditional period products. They are just as safe and effective as traditional pads and tampons, but they also have some benefits that these traditional methods lack.
Menstrual cups come in a variety of sizes to best fit vaginal size and amount of flow. You can use multiple sizes throughout your flow to best capture the amount of blood.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Using a menstrual cup often takes a little bit of practice. Both inserting and removing the cup from the vaginal canal will require practice and maneuvering to get right. But once you have done it a few times, it will become second nature. After every use, you'll want to clean and sterilize the cup.
You can wear most menstrual cups for up to 12 hours before having to remove and empty them.
How to Insert
Start by washing your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Using a water-based lube or a little bit of water will make the cup easier to insert into the vagina.
Fold the cup in half and, keeping it folded, insert the cup with the rim up. Inserting it is similar to inserting a tampon. Once inside, twist the menstrual cup until it opens fully so it creates a seal.
How to Remove
Before removing the cup, you'll also want to wash your hands. Insert your fingers and pinch the base to break the seal. Gently pull the cup down to remove it.
Empty the contents into the toilet and rinse it with water and a fragrance-free soap.
How to Clean
After washing your cup out, boil a pot of water on the stove. Place the menstrual cup in the boiling pot for one to two minutes to sanitize it. You can place it in a whisk to keep it fully submerged.
You can also use a sterilizer made specifically for menstrual cups or use a menstrual cup cleaner.
It's incredibly important to sterilize between uses to reduce the risk of infection.
Benefits of Menstrual Cups
The many benefits of menstrual cups are often what sways people to using them over traditional period products. Here are a few reasons people prefer them.
Good for the Environment
Menstrual cups being reusable is one of the biggest reasons people use the period product. Since menstrual cups aren't thrown away after each use, it reduces waste that goes to landfills. They also use fewer trees and resources than paper or cotton-based products.
Unlike other period products, menstrual cups offer up to 12 hours of protection before having to empty or switch out the cup. This allows you to go your entire day without having to worry about changing your period product.
The seal on the menstrual cup doesn't allow the blood to come into contact with the air. Because of this, there is no odor that emanates from the menstrual cup.
Ease of Use
Once you get the hang of using a menstrual cup, they're quite easy and convenient to use.
Because menstrual cups are reusable, you'll end up buying less of them, which can save you money on period products in the long run. You'll probably only need a few to get you through your period.
Drawbacks of Menstrual Cups
Insertion and Removal Can Be Difficult for Some
Inserting and removing a menstrual cup can be difficult for younger menstruators and first-time users. It may take a few tries to get it right. Having an IUD can also make using menstrual cups difficult. In that case, it might be best to talk to a healthcare provider to be sure.
Menstrual cups do require more maintenance in the form of cleaning and sterile storage. Though the process may be an extra step, it becomes second nature with more use.
Fit Can Be Tricky
Like most period products, finding the correct size of a menstrual cup can be tricky. You have to factor in your vaginal size and your flow. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect fit.
Comparing Menstrual Cups to Other Period Products
Many people make the switch from one period product to the other, so it's important to know how they compare to each other.
Traditional Pads and Tampons
Inserting a tampon and inserting a menstrual cup are similar processes. While these are good backup options, many people prefer a menstrual cup because it is a more sustainable option.
Period underwear has an absorbent pad built into the undergarments, so it's another alternative to the traditional pad. Our organic period underwear is a good option for those that don't want to insert something into their vagina. Like a menstrual cup, they're reusable and more sustainable.
Similar to period underwear and menstrual cups, organic cotton pads are reusable and sustainable, which makes them a great environmentally-friendly option. You use these like a traditional pad but wash and reuse them like period underwear and cups.
Finding the Perfect Menstrual Product for You
From cramps to migraines to intense hunger, menstruation is hardly an enjoyable time. But finding the menstrual product that best works for you can take a little bit of stress away from that time of the month.
There is no right or wrong menstrual product, only the one that's the best fit for you. For many, menstrual cups offer plenty of benefits and ease of use, which has them switching from more traditional products. But whatever makes your period more manageable is the right choice.
Find period products that are better for you and better for the environment. Shop our selection of menstrual cups and more period products.