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Menstrual Cups: Removing the Discomfort during a Menstrual Period

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Sep 17, 2020

   7 min     

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Introduction

All of us women, who go through a menstrual period have had to deal with the discomfort of wearing a sanitary napkin, while constantly having to worry about our underwear and pants having period blood. What if I told you that there is a wonderful product that takes away these worries of yours.

I’m talking about the menstrual cup. 

What is the Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup is an alternative for sanitary pads and other similar feminine hygiene products used during a menstrual period. A menstrual cup is reusable and lasts up to 5-10 years.

The cup is a small, flexible, funnel-shaped cup and is made of rubber or silicone. This product is inserted in your vagina and helps collect all the fluid released during your period.

Cups are an excellent alternative to sanitary napkins or tampons as they can hold more blood and can be worn up 12 hours. Since the cups are reusable, you will end up spending way less on a menstrual cup than on a sanitary pad. In addition to this, cups are an eco-friendly option, because unlike pads, you don't need to dispose of them after use.

How to use a menstrual cup?

Before you get a menstrual cup

Before you begin to use a menstrual cup, there are a few things you must do.

You have to visit your gynaecologist, as you will need to know the size of the cup as different menstrual cups come in different sizes. Your doctor will consider factors such as 

  • Age

  • Cervix length

  • The type of flow you’re having (heavy or light)

  • How firm or flexible your cup is

  • How much blood can the cup hold

  • Strength of the pelvic floor muscles

Women who are under the age of 30 and haven’t delivered vaginally are usually recommended smaller sized menstrual cups. Larger sized cups are recommended for women who have given vaginal birth or have heavy flows or are more than 30 years old.

Before inserting the menstrual cup

Menstrual cups are not fairly popular, and not used by a lot of women. Your first time using a cup could be minorly uncomfortable. Here is something you can do to make the initial experience a little less uncomfortable.

You can “grease” your cup so that it can be easily inserted into the vagina. The lubricant should preferably be water-based, or you can just make your menstrual cup. It is easier to insert a wet menstrual cup.

Inserting the menstrual cup

If you are someone who has previously used a tampon, then inserting a menstrual cup should be relatively easy for you. And if you are someone who hasn't inserted any feminine hygiene products in your vagina, then we can try helping it be an easier experience for you. 

All you have to do is, follow the steps given below.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly: It is important that your hands are sanitized; otherwise, you might risk getting a bacterial infection.
  • Now take your cup and apply a water-based lubricant or just water on its rim.

  • Now fold your menstrual cup in half, and hold the rim-side up.

  • Insert the cup, rim-side first, into the vagina. The cup will sit a few inches below your cervix.

  • Now rotate the cup, which will open the cup inside the vagina. This process will create an airtight seal that will prevent the blood from leaking out—hence ensuring a dry period and no stains on your underwear.

If the cup is inserted in the correct way, you won't even be able to feel its presence. Since the cup is secured by an airtight seal, you need not worry about it falling off. You can do all your activities easily; like move around, Jump, run, and similar activities that you see women perform in advertisements relating to feminine hygiene products.

Taking your menstrual cup out

Your menstrual cup can be worn to a maximum of 12 hours depending on how heavy your flow is. You can wear it overnight and sleep without having to stay in one single position. Move freely.

No matter what, you must remove it by the time it hits the 12-hour mark. If the menstrual cup becomes full, it will leak, which is why you must be careful and schedule when you will empty the cup.

Steps to follow while taking out your menstrual cup:

  • Washing hands: As with insetting the cup, you must also wash your hands before you are about to remove the cup

  • After you have washed your hands, place your index finger and thumb into your vagina. There is a stem at the end of the cup, keep pulling at it until you reach the base of the cup.

  • Now, pinch the base of the cup. This will help release the airtight seal that is securing the cup in your vagina. Once the seal is released, you can easily pull the cup out.

  • Now empty the content inside the cup, into the sink or toilet.

Maintaining the Menstrual Cup

Since the cups can be reused, one must take special care to keep it clean and sanitized, as you don't want to expose your vagina to bacteria or fungi. Always wash and wipe the cup clean before reinserting into the vagina. You could alternate between two cups in a day. Empty your cups twice a day. 

With proper care, these reusable cups could last for a minimum of 6 months to at most ten years. If you are using disposable cups, then throw it away after using it once.

Advantages of Using Menstrual Cups

There are many advantages to using a menstrual cup. For starters, it is affordable. And since it is reusable, you need not keep buying new products every month when you get your period.

The cups are much more hygienic and safer than tampons. They even hold more blood than tampons and sanitary pad, as the latter group absorbs any liquid released by the vagina; thus, you will need to change it every few hours.

Since buying a menstrual cup is better for the environment as they are not bought on a monthly basis, thus reducing the waste released into the environment.

Certain brands of menstrual cups will also allow for sexual intercourse, and your partner won't even be able to feel it in your vagina. Cups can also be worn along with an Intrauterine device.

Why have many women recently opted to use cups

Menstrual cups are budget-friendly. You won’t incur as much as costs as you would if you were using a pad or tampon. Pads and tampons have to be continuously bought, spending up to Rs 100 every month for the same (if you regularly have a menstrual period). 

Menstrual cups are a safer option as they are collecting the blood and not absorbing it. Products like pads and tampons absorb the blood and increase your risk of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Menstrual cups are safer. Because menstrual cups collect rather than absorb blood, you’re not at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare bacterial infection associated with tampon use.

These cups hold way more blood that an ordinary tampon or pad—menstrual cups hold three times more blood than your usual feminine hygiene products for a period.

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Tags:  Women's health,mesntrual period, female hygeine products, menstrual cus, sanitary napkins, Tampons

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