A menstrual cup is a sort of bell-shaped conical device inserted in your vagina that collects your period fluid during your periods. A menstrual cup does not soak the blood, instead, it collects the blood in the cup and can be removed later easily. Later they are sterilized and again reused. Menstrual cups are made up of medical-grade silicon (an inert material) so that it does not cause any sort of irritation or rashes. Menstrual cups can be reused several times and can last about 10years.
28th May is regarded as the International menstrual hygiene day. Most women use sanitary napkins or tampons during their periods. So let’s raise some awareness on the choice of menstrual hygiene.
The sanitary pads that we use for ages contain chemicals and plastics that actually lead to several side effects in the near future and this is true. Moreover, pads cause rashes and affect your lifestyle. As a result, a better and safe option is using a menstrual cup during periods instead of sanitary pads or tampons.
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How to choose the right size of a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup generally comes in three sizes. They are small, medium and large. Most menstrual cup brands do not manufacture the medium size, rather they only have small and large sizes. Choosing the right size of a menstrual cup can be confusing but here we have made it very easy for you to determine the correct size of the menstrual cup you need. These are some guidelines that will help you to choose the right size for you.
Small size cups are recommended for
- Teenage girls
- Girls who will be using ut for the first time
- Girls who are lean and slim
- If your menstrual flow is less than 23ml go for the small cup
- If you have a small cervix size you should go for a small menstrual cup
Medium size cups are recommended for
- Women who still haven’t given birth
- Women who are below the age limit of 30years
- Women who are not too slim
- If your menstrual flow is more than 23ml but less than 27ml go for the medium size
- If you have a medium cervix size you should go for the medium one
Large size cups are recommended for
- Women who have given vaginal birth
- Women who are above 30years
- Plus size women
- If your menstrual flow is more than 27ml but less than 30ml you can go for the large size
- If you have a large cervix size (generally after giving birth) you should go for the large one.
All over, if you are someone who is under 30 and trying a menstrual cup for the first time go for the small or medium one and if you are above 30 go for the large one. These guidelines will easily help you to choose the right size of the menstrual cup that fits you properly.
How to measure your cervix size?
If you want to measure your cervix size to choose the right size of the menstrual cup for you there is a way to do it. To measure your cervix height you need to just use your fingers. Before doing so make sure that you wash your fingers thoroughly. Put two of your fingers inside your cervix.
If your fingers go straight in and then you hit the spot where your cervix is, you definitely need a large cup. But if your fingers reach halfway and you feel the spot where your cervix is located you need a medium size. And if you feel the spot just after inserting your finger you definitely need the small-sized menstrual cup. There is not much difference between a small-sized menstrual cup and a medium one. If you are a newbie you should always start with the smaller one.
How to use a menstrual cup?
It is very easy to use a menstrual cup once you master the process. Yes, when you are using it for the first time you may feel awkward and there may be some problems faced. But trust me once you master it, it is much safer and easier than using a sanitary pad.
How to insert a menstrual cup?
- First of all, you need to wash your hands properly.
- Then you need to fold the cup to form a C-shaped structure
- Insert the menstrual cup in your vagina gently and reverse twist it to make it airtight
- And done. Your menstrual cup is ready to collect your period flow. You can wear this menstrual cup for 8hours straight without any hassles.
How to remove a menstrual cup?
When you are done with using the menstrual cup, after 6-8 hours (depending on your menstrual flow) you can easily remove the menstrual cup.
- First of all, wash your hands properly before removing the menstrual cup.
- You just need to pinch the tail of the menstrual cup and then pull it out gently
- Empty out the funnel and wash it properly
- It is recommended to sterilize the menstrual cup with hot water for about 10minutes before again using it
- You can reuse menstrual cups for almost 8years. If you witness a foul smell or discoloration from the menstrual cup try disposing it off and get a new one.
Advantages of menstrual cup
There are various advantages of menstrual cups over sanitary pads and tampons that we use during periods.
1. Very comfortable
Unlike sanitary pads and tampons, menstrual cups are very comfortable to wear. At the initial phases, you might feel awkward but once you master it, it becomes very easy and comfortable. You can even go swimming wearing a menstrual cup during your periods which is never possible if you are wearing sanitary napkins. Menstrual cups are considered best if you lead an active lifestyle.
2. Sanitary napkins are not biodegradable
Ever wondered what happens to the pad when you throw it away after use? Well, those pads are either burnt off with other litters or are buried in land fields. Sometimes these pads are responsible for blocking the sewage system as well. Sanitary napkins are not biodegradable in nature and cause soil pollution. On the other hand, you can reuse menstrual cups for a period of over 10years.
3. Sanitary napkins are filled up with chemicals
This is true. Not all, but most sanitary napkins are filled up with chemicals such as styrene, chloromethane, acetone and chloroethane which causes rashes, itchiness, thyroid problems, PCOD and even cervical cancer. Menstrual cups are free from any chemicals and do not cause any such problems.
4. Does not affect the vaginal flora
Tampons play a major role in altering your vaginal flora which leads to vaginal irritation. But menstrual cups don’t alter your vaginal flora and hence cause no irritation.
5. No leakage problems
Sanitary napkins always have a chance of leaking. Even though recent sanitary napkin brands claim that there are no leakage problems faced but there are chances and situations which cause leakage problems. If you are using menstrual cups you do not need to worry about leakage as they fit perfectly below your cervix causing an air-tight scenario that does not allow leakage.
I hope I am clear about this guide to menstrual cups. We, Indians generally are afraid of trying out new things which are better. As a result, we stick to the same old things which have proven future side effects. This mentality needs to be changed and we need to adapt things quickly which are easy and actually beneficial. This article is written to raise awareness among people in support of menstrual cups over sanitary napkins and tampons.
FAQ’s about menstrual cups
Should you consult a gynecologist before using menstrual cups?
It is recommended to consult a gynecologist before replacing sanitary pads with menstrual cups. Although various studies show that menstrual cups are 100% safe to use, you should consult your gynecologist to get further information regarding them.
For how much time can I keep the menstrual cup inserted?
Generally, menstrual cups are recommended to be kept inserted for a time period of 6-8hours. But it entirely depends on your flow. If your flow is less you can keep it for as long as 10hours. If your flow is more you need to take it out, dump away the fluid, clean it properly and then again reuse it. In the beginning, you might be scared of using menstrual cups but trust me once you master it, it becomes very easy to use.
How to clean a menstrual cup?
In order to maintain hygiene, you should clean the menstrual cup on a regular basis after use. You should sterilize a menstrual cup by boiling it in hot water for 10minutes before using it again. If you are a student or someone who needs to go to the office on a regular basis and don’t have time to sterilize it, you should wash ut thoroughly with normal water and properly wipe it using tissue paper to maintain hygiene. Try sterilizing the menstrual cup at least once a week.
How much does a menstrual cup cost?
There are various prices of a menstrual cup depending on the quality. The price range starts from Rs 400 to a maximum of Rs 1500. If compared to sanitary napkins the price might seem higher initially. But if you calculate the cost on an annual basis the price is very cheaper compared to pads. You can use menstrual cups for 8long years whereas sanitary napkins are thrown away after every single use.
Which is the best position to insert a menstrual cup?
The squatting position is the best position to insert a menstrual cup. You don’t need to take any tension. Just sit in the squatting position and gently insert the menstrual cup. If you take stress or tension while inserting the menstrual cup your pelvic muscles become tight which does not allow easy insertion of the cup. Rather, stay calm and relaxed, sit in the squatting position and gently insert the cup.
Does the stem of a menstrual cup stay inside or hang outside?
When you insert a menstrual cup the stem of the menstrual cup stays inside as well. While taking it out, you need to sit in the squatting position and apply a little bit of pressure from inside. After you apply pressure from inside the stem will automatically come out and you can then easily remove the menstrual cup using the stem. Make sure your hands are clean when you are doing so.
How do I urinate if I insert a menstrual cup?
This is a question that comes up at first when you start using a menstrual cup. We generally urinate via the urethra and not the vagina. This is a common science question. The menstrual cup is inserted into the vagina. So there won’t be any problem if you want to urinate while the menstrual cup is already inserted.
Does using menstrual cups cause the vagina to stretch?
This is a myth. Using menstrual cups won’t make your vagina stretch. You can use this without any hesitation.
I feel too afraid to use menstrual cups – Should I try it?
Even I was afraid at the beginning to replace sanitary pads with menstrual cups. As I started watching various videos on menstrual cups I became further worried about the fact on how to use them, or will I be able to use it. As said before, this is a common problem with human beings. We generally feel scared of trying out new things. But trust me once you start using menstrual cups your fear will be all gone. For the first two days indeed there will be problems, but once you experiment with it and master it you will definitely know why menstrual cups are the best choice for your periods.