I lived most of my adult life unaware that the menstrual cup exists. Then one day I was browsing an online cloth nappies shop and I got drawn into the mama cloth section. Amongst the pretty designs I found an unusual looking object labelled as a menstrual cup. I hesitated for a while, but my curiosity got the better of me. I decided to try it and I’ve never looked back.
What’s a menstrual cup?
In case you’re wondering what on earth I am talking about, the menstrual cup is exactly what it sounds like – a soft cup made of silicon or rubber, which sits in the lower part of the vagina and collects the menstrual fluid. It’s inserted manually, similarly to tampons, and it needs to be emptied, washed and re-inserted every so often (3-4 hours on heavy flow days and up to 12 hours after that). Between periods you disinfect it, usually by boiling.
Why would you want to give it a try?
- It’s a cheaper feminine hygiene option than tampons or pads. You only buy it once and with proper care (if you don’t leave it in a pot of boiling water and forget about it), it should last several years.
- There’s less waste, which makes it more environmentally friendly.
- You can use it while swimming and exercising.
- Like tampons, you can’t see it from the outside.
- Unlike tampons, its use has not been associated with toxic shock syndrome.
- It needs to be emptied less often than you’d need to change a tampon or a pad. For those of us with heavy period it’s a blessing – I was only too happy to give up the two-hourly trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night and reclaim my sleep.
- You don’t have to worry about running out of pads or tampons when you most need them. I’m not the only one who always forgets to buy them, right?
If you’re wondering which cup to get, I’ve tried the Lunette and the Mooncup (after I burned my Lunette), and they’re both excellent. You can get menstrual cups online and they cost around $25-60.
Image by Michelle Tribe via Flickr.com
By Tatiana Apostolova