Menstrual cups, which are an alternative to sanitary pads and tampons, have been in the market since long, but are gaining popularity of late. Before you buy one, this HerHaleness article takes you through the pros and cons of this sanitary product.
Did You Know?
A patent for the first version of a bell-shaped menstrual cup was filed way back in the year 1932.
Given that menstrual cups existed since the time that tampons did, they are not so widely used by women. However, these days, this product is being given serious consideration over tampons as an effective menstrual management method. To begin with, these cups, that act as a barrier, are worn inside the vagina to collect menstrual flow. They are of two types: (i) The first type appears like a diaphragm and is soft, flexible, and disposable; (ii) The other type is bell-shaped, made up of silicone or latex, and is reusable.
Even though women may take a while to get used to its insertion and removal, it is still considered a better option to tampons and sanitary pads, keeping in mind the hygiene, safety, and benefits that the product offers. There are different varieties of cups available in the market. Make sure you read the instructions properly as each product may differ. With good care, these cups can be used for as long as 5-10 years!
Diagram of a Menstrual Cup
The Pros of a Menstrual Cup
- If we calculate on an average, a woman spends more than $3000 on disposable menstrual products. Given this comparison, one menstrual cup can be used for a period of ten years at a price of $25-50, making it quite an inexpensive product.
- Tampons and pads contain some amount of harsh chemicals, bleach, and fibers that can lead to allergies or skin irritation. On the other hand, menstrual cups are made up of medical grade silicone, which makes them safe and hypoallergenic. Thus, there are reduced chances of toxic shock syndrome and irritation.
- Tampons absorb all the moisture including the essential fluids in the vagina, which are otherwise needed to protect the area from the invasion of bacteria and maintain the correct pH levels. On the other hand, since menstrual cups are inserted inside the vagina, all they do is collect the menstrual fluid without disturbing the vaginal environment.
- Compared to other reusable sanitary products, menstrual cups are easier to clean and sterilize after they are used.
- Since the cups are reusable, they are eco-friendly as compared to the pads and tampons that are not biodegradable.
- Menstrual cups can be safely worn for a period of up to 12 hours (on light/moderate flow days). This is almost twice the time a tampon is worn, and a woman knows that she is safe in cases when she may not have easy access to the lavatory.
- These cups do not allow the menstrual fluid to come in contact with the vaginal walls and other surrounding areas, thus emitting less odor as compared to pads or tampons. Also, since these cups collect rather than absorb, there is no leakage of blood experienced (if emptied often), and there is no wetness felt in that area.
- If you are into rigorous sports or some heavy physical activity, then menstrual cups can be a savior, as they can be worn during swimming, or any other rigorous activity.
- If for medical reasons, a woman needs to note the amount of menstrual blood that is being discharged, a cup can tell the amount precisely. Also, some cups have markings on them, which makes it all the more accurate.
The Cons of a Menstrual Cup
- If you are shifting to a menstrual cup, you will have to shell out some more dollars initially, as an individual cup will cost you between $25-$50. However, the cup being reusable can save a lot of money in the later stage.
- Many women find it quite uncomfortable to use the menstrual cup in the initial stages, mostly when it comes to insertion or removal. With some practice, this difficulty can be solved. You can also try out different folding methods, which will make it easy for you.
- You will take at least four to five cycles to get properly adjusted with a menstrual cup inside you.
- A suction is created by the cup so as to remain firm inside, but this can create some discomfort for a few. The proper size and type of menstrual cup should be used in order to avoid this problem.
- Using a cup can get a bit messy at times, as the collected blood has to be drained. There can be some spilling of blood while removing the cup, and if you get squeamish at the sight of blood, then using one won’t be a very good option.
- It is also advisable for women with uterine prolapse not to use a menstrual cup. This is because in such females, the pelvic organs slip out from their normal position, into or through the vagina. It is recommended to consult a gynecologist before going in for this option.
- Just like tampons, even cups can disrupt or rupture the hymen. In case your culture has certain values regarding the evidence of your virginity, then it can deter women from using menstrual cups.
Before you decide to buy a menstrual cup, be sure that you are well-educated about the product. You may also consult a gynecologist if you have an IUD inserted, just delivered a baby, have a tilted uterus, or suffer from any other medical condition that may intervene while you wear this cup.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.