I must admit that the first time I heard about the menstrual cup I was a bit skeptical. I wondered about the technicalities of inserting it and how it felt to carry it around all day, not to mention a little grossed out by the thought of changing time. Perhaps this was your initial reaction as well. However, over time, I have read numerous menstrual cups reviews, and I have come to learn that they are an excellent alternative to sanitary pads and tampons. This has transformed me from a skeptic to a firm believer.
Are there advantages to using a menstrual cup over pads/ tampons?
Yes, the menstrual cup comes with many advantages. For starters, it is re-usable (there are disposable options), which makes it a great money saver. This means that all you need to do is make a one-off investment in the beginning. Depending on the brand and care you give it, some menstrual cups can last up to 10 years. Now weigh this against the cost of buying pads or tampons every month.
Another advantage is that a menstrual cup can last up to 12 hours before needing a change, even during heavy days. This makes it convenient to use during bedtime, traveling, or where the only option you have is a public bathroom.
We all know that caring for the environment is not only a buzzword but a genuine necessity. With the menstrual cup, you will be doing your bit to reduce waste going to landfills or even ending up in our oceans.
Okay, I am sold, but is there a downside to using the menstrual cup?
Like any other product (except ice cream, of course), there are some downsides to the menstrual cup. There will be the mental hurdle of crossing over from pads/tampons.
Once you make the switch, inserting and removing the menstrual cup requires a bit of getting used to. You might have to deal with a few spills in the beginning before you get the hang of removing it. If not correctly inserted, you may experience discomfort or even irritation.
Similarly, you may have to try several brands and sizes before finding the perfect fit, or your ‘Goldilocks menstrual cup.’
What to Consider When Choosing a Menstrual Cup- Tips for Beginners and Pros
The search for ‘menstrual cup’ on any browser returns dozens of options. This may be somewhat confusing, particularly if you are a beginner. Even if you are a pro, you want to be sure that you are using the right cup for you. What are some of the factors to consider when choosing a menstrual cup?
The size of your cervix
This is definitely not something that you think about every day, but the size of your cervix will influence the size of the cup that you buy. Many women will have a high, medium, or low-lying cervix. One easy way of finding out where you fall is by inserting a clean finger into your vagina and noting how far up it goes before you feel your cervix.
Experts say the cervix feels like ‘the tip of your nose.’ If your finger goes all the way and you don’t feel anything, you likely have a high cervix. A high cervix calls for a long menstrual cup that is more V-shaped. If you can feel it around your second knuckle, you have a medium cervix, for which you will find a variety of medium sizes and shapes. If you can quickly feel your cervix around your first knuckle, it is likely low laying, and you will need a short, small-sized, bell-shaped menstrual cup.
Another factor to consider when buying a menstrual cup is how light or heavy your flow is. If your flow is heavy, you may need a larger capacity cup and vice versa. Most companies make various sizes, and it may be helpful to buy two, a bigger one for heavy days and a smaller one for light days.
It is important to note that the bigger the cup is (in terms of capacity), the larger it will be in diameter and length. As such, the most important factor here becomes comfort- to make sure that it fits you well without causing discomfort.
Most menstrual cups in the market today are made out of silicone, plastic, or rubber latex. Depending on the brand, these materials may or may not be of medical grade. Some brands also add ‘fillers’ to the material to cut costs. When you buy a menstrual cup, you want to ensure that it is made out of medical-grade material, as this has been deemed safe by the FDA.
Unfortunately, it may not always be clear which companies are using medical-grade material. If a menstrual cup is ‘too cheap’ retailing on multiple websites for something like $10 or less, you might want to steer clear of it. For the most part, we recommend that you stick with reputable, legitimate brands as there will be knockoffs out there. Going through user comments online can also give you great insights before you buy.
Firmness & stem
Menstrual cups can either be firm or soft, and each has its pros and cons. If you are prone to cramps or bladder sensitivity, you may find a soft cup more comfortable. Physically active women may find that a firm cup stays in place better and doesn’t get crushed by the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause leaks.
Most cups come with a stem of varying lengths. Its purpose is to facilitate easy removal. If the stem is too long, it can make things quite uncomfortable. If it’s too short, it may make removal quite difficult and messy. As such, it may be necessary to try a few shapes to find one that works best for you.
A menstrual cup can be a significant leap from sanitary pads and tampons, particularly if you are a first-time user. But the pros will agree that it is convenient and freeing. This article has discussed four of the most important factors to consider when buying one. There may be more.
The bottom line is just like menstruation is personal, the menstrual cup you choose should work for your unique needs. As such, do not be afraid to try on a few types, shapes, and even brands to find your perfect fit.