What is a Menstrual Cup?
Eco-friendly and savings-smart, a menstrual cup (sometimes also called a moon cup) is a reusable, funnel-shaped device that’s usually made of soft and flexible, medical-grade silicone. Like a tampon, you insert the cup into the vagina during your moon, but instead of absorbing menstrual blood, it collects it.
A brief history of the cup
Menstrual cups are not a recent invention – they have actually been around since the 1930s. However, they’ve only gone mainstream for brief flashes in time until now. When they first appeared on the market in the United States, they were made of latex rubber. World War II created a latex-rubber shortage, and so menstrual cup production was stopped dead in its tracks.
Cups reappeared in the 1950s and 1960s, but never quite seemed to catch on. Since 1987, women could buy the natural-rubber cup called the Keeper, but other than that, there weren’t many choices available.
Today, that’s no longer the case, the cup is rapidly gaining popularity and the menstrual cup market has grown dramatically with an array of options.
Why would you want to wear a menstrual cup during your period?
1. They’re convenient. When you own a menstrual cup, you never have to worry that you’ll run out of supplies at home. Cups are also compact and easy to carry around in your purse.
2. They are reliable. Cups can be worn for up to 12 hours straight. Women with heavy periods and active women who don’t have time to change out their tampon or pad every two to six hours appreciate being able to wear a menstrual cup all day. You can also be just as active as you are while wearing a tampon. Speaking of heavy periods, did you know that practicing with a yoni egg can help reduce heavy periods and cramping?
3. Healthier than most popular brands of feminine hygiene products. Did you know that most pads and tampons contain chemicals like chlorine, plastics and pesticides?Manufacturers aren’t even required to disclose ingredients.
We try to stay healthy, exercise and eat organic and yet unknowingly introduce harmful chemicals into our body every month. To avoid this use menstrual cup or opt out for organic cotton pads and tampons.
4. Environmentally friendly. Menstrual cups keep pads and tampons from cluttering up landfills. Most estimates show that the average woman will use over 17,000 pads and tampons during her menstruating years. With reusable menstrual cups, those products will never even make it into your trash.
If you use tampons or pads and wish to be more environmentally responsible look into switching to organic cotton pads and tampons or reusable cloth pads. Better for you and better for environment.
5. Savings. A menstrual cup can cost anywhere from $20 to $40, and many menstrual cups can last for as long as 10 years when you take basic care of them.
6. They’re perfect for minimalists. You’ll gain back some shelf space when you don’t have bulky boxes and bags of feminine hygiene products cluttering up your space. All you need for your period is this one simple item. Travel light and save space in your luggage.
How to use a menstrual cup
The first time you used a tampon probably seemed strange and a little bit scary. You might have the same feeling the first time you try using a menstrual cup. Don’t worry – after a few tries, it becomes second nature. Just about every menstrual cup is inserted the same way. You hold the cup in your hand and fold it so that it’s smaller for insertion. Then you use your (clean!) fingers to insert it into your vagina. The menstrual cup is meant to rest in the lower part of your vaginal canal. Once the cup is inside, it unfolds and forms a leak-proof seal with the vagina’s walls. When your blood flows, it will go right into the cup and stay there until you empty it out.
In ancient cultures menstrual blood was believed to possess magical qualities and was used in various rituals. In Ancient Greece, menstrual blood was used to help support crops grow and was buried into the earth during fertility festivals in the Spring. You might find one day that it feels right to empty the cup on the ground in your garden:)
To take the cup out, give its base a little squeeze to break the suction, then slowly remove it. Do not ever force it if you feel pain or uncomfortable sensation while expelling the cup.
Empty its contents into the toilet or sink and wash it before reinserting. Some cup manufacturers recommend that you boil your cup every month to sterilize it, but others argue that boiling is overkill and washing with unscented organic soap and water is good enough.
Trying your first cup
If you tried a cup and found it uncomfortable don’t get discouraged – it might be love at first try and it might take you a few tries with your cup or a few different brands before you find a cup that is a perfect fit.
Some women have shorter vaginal canals and when trying any menstrual cup they find that they cannot wear it. If that’s your case don’t worry – there are many environmental conscious and healthier alternatives to regular tampons and pads, like period panties, washable cloths and organic cotton pads and tampons.
If you are interested in trying a cup but are overwhelmed by choices, check out the website Menstrual Cup Reviews – it was created as an informational resource to help you choose your first cup. They also review and compare all the moon-centric products for conscious women including menstrual cups, cloth pads, period panties and yoni eggs. Speaking of heavy periods, did you know that practicing with a yoni egg can help reduce heavy periods and cramping?
Menstrual cups may be different from the pads and tampons you’ve grown up with, but they are a fantastic choice for your moon time if you want to simplify your periods, help the environment and even save money.