Are you searching for an alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins? Consider a menstrual cup as an alternative solution!
The menstrual cup
For many women, menstruation goes together with leaks and unpleasant odours. If you were proposed an alternative to tampons and sanitary napkins, would you be ready to try it?
A menstrual cup is a small bell-shaped receptacle made of latex or silicone. It is inserted in the opening of the vagina and collects menstrual fluid. It can hold up to one third of the total flow each period without overflowing; however, it can be worn a maximum of 12 hours. The menstrual cup is kept in place by the vaginal muscles.
There are different sizes available, all you need to do is choose the one that is best-suited to the strength of your vaginal muscle. Although the size of the cup can be disconcerting, remember that the vagina is a muscle that stretches; it returns to its normal size once the cup is removed.
The benefits and inconveniences
Some of the benefits noted by its users are:
- its reusability
- decreased irritations and vaginal infections
- a reduced risk of developing toxic shock
- absence of odour, since blood is not in contact with the air
- comfort, since the cup softens when in contact with body heat, and
- possibility to urinate and have a bowel movement with the cup in place
However, some aspects can be a source of apprehension:
- disgust associated with the idea of handling a blood-stained object
- difficulties during insertion
- impossibility to have sexual intercourse with the cup in place
- a lack of contraception, and
- possibility of displacing an IUD
Women who have a low cervix or who use an internal contraception method (IUD, vaginal ring) should first speak to a healthcare professional. If this is the case for you, the use of a menstrual cup is not impossible, but speaking with a healthcare professional can help you make an informed decision.
Use and care
You may find the initial insertion difficult and may experience leakage. However, with practice, your technique will improve and you will be able to leave the cup in overnight and practise your favourite sports.
Instructions for adequate and effective use:
- Wash your hands before and after handling the cup.
- Once the cup is full, remove it and empty it.
- Rinse the cup well before reinserting it.
- Empty and rinse the cup twice or three times daily.
- Soak the cup in boiling water between periods.
- Look out for any signs of deterioration—sticky film or powder, discoloration or odour.
The lifetime of a cup varies depending on the product used. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about the choice, use, and care of a menstrual cup. Your pharmacist can provide information about how to experience this alternative method without embarrassment or discomfort.