Why you should try a menstrual cup
Artist: Celine Rahman
Ask most women if they have tried a menstrual cup and the likely response is a raised eyebrow and a bemused giggle. For although they’ve been around a while, women are remarkably risk averse to trying something new when it comes to hygiene products.
Many of us cling loyally to what we were introduced to as puzzled teenagers, when the ultimate ‘secret women’s business’ was first communicated in hushed tones by our mothers or teachers. The primary need was to hide it and not scare the menfolk. Countless periods later, we’ve usually spent much more time contemplating the perfect date dress (we then wear exactly twice) than thinking about what we are using inside of us.
Menstrual cups are innovative, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. Let’s take a closer look at why you should try them…
Firstly, what exactly is a menstrual cup?
For those of you still confused about this, let’s break it down.
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible vesicle that looks like this:
It usually comes in a couple of sizes – small or large (depending on heavy or light flow). It is very simply inserted into your vagina during your period and will collect the blood.
How does it work?
Most cups are made from medical grade silicon and are soft and pliable. A cup is worn low in the vagina and creates a seal with the body so there are no leaks. It will give you up to 12 hours’ protection. A cup holds 30 ml of liquid - on average women produce 60 ml of menstrual blood over her cycle. So you need to empty the cup 1-2 times per day, max.
The biggest reason many women are put off by the menstrual cup is that it is visually so different from what they’re used to. It may take a few practices to get it right...as it did with tampons and pads too, if you recall.
It is folded for insertion and then opens when it is inside. To remove it, you simply pinch the bottom and pull it like you would a tampon string. Tugging breaks the cup's connection with the body and it will slide out easily.
After emptying the cup, it’s rinsed in cold water and can be re-inserted, or you can use a mild soap and warm water. The cup should be sanitised between cycles in boiling water.
What if I’m in public? How do I empty the cup?
Firstly, you’ll be in a ladies’ bathroom, so there’s certainly no reason to panic. We live in enlightened times. Remove the cup in the loo, empty the blood and flush (SO much more environmentally friendly than any other product right there). Then you can either rinse it out with a bottle of water in privacy, or take it to the sink and rinse it there before re-inserting.
Why should I switch?
You might baulk at paying around £20 for a menstrual cup upfront but it can last up to 10 years. Cost-per-wear is strong, seriously. They’re comfortable to wear, as they shape to your body but don’t absorb excess moisture from your vagina like tampons do. They’re also flexible and can be worn during sport or any activity (except sex - due to the nature of that particular game).
Be fearless - make 2017 the year that you try a menstrual cup! Grace & Green are a socially motivated lifestyle brand committed to connecting women through premium, sustainable hygiene products. Good for the planet; good for your body.