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advantages of menstrual cups

Advantages of menstrual cups

Menstrual cups have been around for a while, and the advantages of menstrual cups make them increasingly more and more popular each year. Periods are literally a pain, and having to tackle period products only adds to this pain. With the risk of spillage, or always having to carry spares, it’s understandable why menstrual cups became popular. 

Each month’s period brings cramps, mood swings and a little bit of stress with regard to getting stained. This added stress of spillage keeps some of us up at night or impedes sleep and everyday activity. There are tampons that help with this, but they come with a laundry list of chemicals that seep into the body. So why are menstrual cups a better option?

Menstrual cups – what are they?

The name itself describes it accurately, it’s a cup that is used during your period instead of tampons and possibly even pads. Unlike other period products that absorb fluid, menstrual cups collect it. This means that it won’t expand further than it already is, but it is larger than a tampon, so inserting it is a skill. 

A cup is made of medical-grade silicone which makes it very flexible and soft. The way in which you use a menstrual cup makes it imperative that it be flexible and soft. The novelty of menstrual cups makes it seem like it’s a new product but it’s been around since at least 1937. Leona Chalmers submitted a patent for a commercial menstrual cup that is quite recognisable.

Advantages of menstrual cups

The expense of having to regularly buy tampons and pads is a steep one, for many of us. And it’s one that extends to a good chunk of our lives. Using a menstrual cup means forgoing this expense for at least 10 years, as it’s a reusable product. It’s a heftier price than a pack of pads or tampons, but it can be a one-time purchase.  

Lower landfill waste from period products is another side benefit of using menstrual cups. All those used tampons and pads inevitably end up clogging landfills but a cup is a great choice for environmentally inclined people. 

Less odd smells come with using a menstrual cup, not that it’s anything unusual for your period to have a smell. The material used to make tampons and pads is just one that exacerbates unpleasant smells. The fact that most pads come with some kind of flowery fragrance makes it even worse. Not to mention the fact that it implies you should smell like roses during your period. Your natural odour is one that you will be surprised to discover is actually nice and a menstrual cup helps with that. 

It lasts longer than a regular tampon or pad combined. In many cases, you can leave a cup in for 6 to 8 hours, sometimes even longer. This depends on the overall flow, but in many cases, it still lasts longer. 

No more chemical and unwanted substances as pads and tampons are prone to have. With a menstrual cup, you no longer have to worry about such substances, especially from tampons. 

Disadvantages of using a menstrual cup

It can be messy, at least in the beginning. When you start using a cup it can be a little tricky to keep it from spilling when removing it. This can also be an issue if you have to take it out in a public bathroom. But if properly inserted it lasts for so long that you’ll probably not need to take it out all day. 

Inserting it can be difficult, as using a menstrual cup comes with a learning curve. When inserting a cup you need to fold it so that it can be small enough to go through the vaginal canal. Once inside the cup needs to be opened so that it can catch fluid. This is the first hurdle as beginners may have issues making sure the cup is open. 

Removing it can be difficult it can be hard to keep a calm relaxed state. Staying calm and breathing is important to relax muscles and reach the cup’s base. This way you reach to break the seal that keeps it in place and thus take it out. This strategy is all well and good but it’s hard for beginners. It may scare them off using a cup entirely. 

Different sizes and shapes of cups can mean you will have some difficulty finding the right fit for you. Our bodies too, come in different sizes and shapes and you won’t know for sure at first what cup is right. 

Cups need sanitisation every month through boiling. This is how we can reuse the cup with every period, but it can be a burden. For many, especially after using disposable period products, it can be a chore. 

Additional considerations

The worry about how to use a menstrual cup, because of the issues surrounding removing or inserting it, can be bypassed with the right cup. There are cups that help new users break the seal easier and remove the cup with ease. 

Many other designs for menstrual cups are made for people with a higher cervix. It thus provides a better way of removing it and an easier way of inserting it. If you have an IUD it may be advisable to ask your doctor if it will affect it and what you should do. 

Toxic shock syndrome is a concern many have when thinking about using a menstrual cup. TSS is caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing toxins that can prove deadly. 

TSS is rare on its own but it usually occurs most often when using tampons and not menstrual cups. It should be safer to use a silicone menstrual cup than a tampon with all manner of chemicals. This can be another of the advantages of menstrual cups along with other positive effects. 

In conclusion

If you plan on switching from other period products to a menstrual cup, you are lucky to have many resources online. From how to use it to which cup would be perfect for you. It is a bit of a learning curve but many swear by it and are absolutely thrilled to use it. There are quite a few advantages of menstrual cups so now is the time to try and discover them. 

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