Menstrual-Cup

Menstrual Cups: 7 reasons why they are life changing

Menstrual cups are not necessarily new, but in recent years they have gained a lot of popularity among menstruating women. For those who aren’t familiar, menstrual cups are a reusable alternative to tampons or pads. They are flexible cups made out of silicone that are inserted into the vaginal canal to collect menstrual fluid, rather than absorb it. There are so many reasons why women prefer menstrual cups over tampons or pads, and from personal experience, I can tell you I will never go back to tampons after making the switch 5 years ago.

While, the cups do come with a bit of a learning curve, if you are willing to commit to adjusting your technique over a few cycles, I know you will get hooked too! There was even a study done in 2011 that found that 91% of women who were asked to use a menstrual cup would continue to use it and recommend it to friends. Ladies, it’s 2019 – gone are the days where women are grossed out by menstruation, it’s time to get intimate with your vaginal health and make the switch to a menstrual cup!

HOW DO THEY WORK?

Either just before the first day of your cycle, or once your period begins, you fold the cup and insert it like a tampon without the applicator. The cup will spring open, but you may need to adjust it to ensure it is fully open. Then you must ensure it is covering the entire cervix. The cup will form a seal against the walls of the vagina and menstrual fluid simply drips into the cup throughout the day.

To remove it, you gently pinch the base of the cup to break the seal, remove it, and empty the contents. After each use, you should wash it with soap and warm water, or use the special menstrual cup wash that is also available, and insert it again. After each cycle, it is recommended to sterilize the cup with boiling water.

WHY I LOVE MENSTRUAL CUPS

They are safer for vaginal health. Since menstrual cups are not absorbent, they don’t dry out the vagina like tampons do. The moisture in the vaginal canal is important to maintain the healthy bacteria found there, that works to keep infections away.

They contain no bleach or harmful substances. Ever wonder why tampons are so bright, white? Ya -it’s bleach. Bleach does not belong in the delicate environment of the vagina. Also, since menstrual cups are made of silicone, they do not support the growth of bacteria like tampons, and there is a reduced risk of getting toxic-shock-syndrome (TSS).

They save money and are eco-friendly. Some menstrual cups last 10 years, saving 10 years worth of pads and tampons from a landfill or sewer. This also means in the long run, menstrual cups are much cheaper!

You don’t need to change them as often. To avoid TSS, it is recommended that tampons are changed every 4-8 hours. Menstrual cups can be left in place for 12 hours, or even longer depending on your flow! Menstrual cups also hold about 1-oz of fluid, which is about 2x that of a super-size tampon or pad.

They are super convenient. Not only can they be left in for longer, but you don’t have to run out to the store to stock up on tampons or pads every month.

They are very comfortable. Once it’s in, you can barely notice it! Another study was done to look at the adaptability and efficacy of menstrual cups, and the cup was the preferred method in terms of comfort. Furthermore, 80% of the study participants rated insertion to be easy and 90% said removal was easy.

They can teach you about your body. I am all about body literacy, and I use info about the period to tell me a lot about the overall health status of a woman. Using a menstrual cup allows a woman to see how much fluid she is losing, the colour, and consistency. Also, because using a menstrual cup means getting up close and personal with your vagina, you will become more familiar with your lady-parts. All of this can be useful when determining when something is not quite right.

Although menstrual cups come with many amazing benefits, as mentioned above, there is a learning curve to using a cup. It can take a few cycles to determine the best placement, and how to insert and remove it properly. Here are a few downfalls to using a menstrual cup:

  • Leakage. This is the most common reason women give-up on using menstrual cups, but with practice, leakage is actually very rare, and menstrual cups can benefit women with heavy periods who leak through tampons often.
  • Irritation. Initially, cup users report more irritation than women using tampons, but again, the more they used it, the irritation cleared.
  • Size. Menstrual cups come in different sizes depending on body size, flow and whether you have given birth. Finding the perfect fit can be challenging, and this means it may take some trial and error before finding the best option.

I highly recommend making the switch to a menstrual cup, not only for the direct vaginal health benefits and body literacy but also for the ease, comfort, and cost savings! There are many brands available and it may take you time to find the right fit, but trust me, don’t give up! Menstrual cups are life-changing.

To life-changing periods,

Dr. Bronwyn

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Dr. Bronwyn is a naturopathic doctor in Toronto, Ontario with a clinical focus in Women's Health. She works with women transitioning off the oral contraceptive pill and those with specific fertility concerns, to reach a state of hormonal balance or in preparation for a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Bronwyn is passionate about empowering women to reclaim their hormonal health, to enable a full and vibrant life.

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