For women, the worst days often come whenever they have a period. Their movement is restricted and they often feel irritable because of dampness in their underwear. While most women are now using pads and napkins in order to protect themselves from public humility, there is a small group of women who use tampons.
Tampons are materials made up of absorbent cloth and are inserted in the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. It comes in different sizes, which mean anyone – whatever age – can use it.
However, a recent innovation takes this principle one notch higher. Introducing the female cup, or more popularly known as menstrual cup.
What is a menstrual cup?
This particular tool serves the same purpose as the tampon, but it is more effective and less messy than its older counterpart. It has a tube-like shape that has a small stem below. Its main function is to store menstrual flow coming from the uterus in such a way that the woman would not need to wear any napkins anymore.
Once it’s full, the woman would need to take it out and empty its contents. She may or may not clean it right away. Then, she would have to insert it again and it’s good to go.
Menstrual cups or also known as period cups are made out of silicone plastic, but not just any plastic. In order to prevent irritation inside the vagina, the silicone is medical-grade, which means it is specially designed to be in contact with the body.
Tampons vs. menstrual cups
Tampons are made of absorbent cloth, which is designed to take in any liquid that flows out of the vagina. However, it has one major flaw – it does not prevent the body from reabsorbing and being in contact with the blood. When this happens, Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS may take place.
In addition, tampons appear very white for a reason. It’s because they are often bleached before distribution. Bleach is a harmful chemical that produces dioxin in this process. To make matters worse, dioxin mimics the estrogen hormone in women, and is easily absorbed by the body through the vaginal walls.
When this takes place, possible health conditions may arise such as reproductive problems, and even breast cancer. Needless to say, a tampon may not be that risk-free anymore.
Most tampons are also made out of cotton, which is considered among the most sprayed plants in the world. This makes it a chemical-rich material that poses more health risks.
On the other hand, the reusable menstrual cup does not have any health risks whatsoever. From the production, distribution and until it reaches the stores, it is perfectly kept clean until you open its package. While using this cup, you won’t need to dump your tampons to the trash several times a day.
So how do you use a menstrual cup for the first time?
If you have now decided to use this new innovation for female hygiene, here is how you use it:
- Wash your hands thoroughly – This is a must if you don’t want to get any infection or irritation in your vagina. Because you are inserting your fingers into your vagina, make sure they are very clean.
- Take out the menstrual cup and pinch it – Take your period cup and pinch it in such a way that it would change shape. You can pinch it until it is ‘U’ or ‘S’ shaped. In these shapes, the cup will be able to fit snugly into your vagina.
- Slowly put it in your vagina – Once the shape and size have been reduced, slowly put it in. Remember not to place it too deep inside of you because it is not designed that way. The stem at the bottom of the cup should just be outside your vagina for easy access.
- Empty it a few times a day – Depending on how strong your menstrual period is, it is recommended that you take it out and empty it twice to three times a day. When taking it out, just reach for the stem, pinch it and slowly take out the cup.
- Wash or wipe the cup and reinsert it – After dumping its contents inside the toilet bowl, you can wash or wipe it with a tissue, and reinsert it inside your vagina. It’s as simple as that!
As you can see, using a menstrual cup is pretty easy and you don’t have to worry about it too much. If you are using it for the first time, here are some valuable tips and reminders:
It will only feel weird at first
One of the main apprehensions about the female cup is how it feels inside the vagina. Like the tampons, having it inside your vagina may feel a bit weird at first, but rest assured that it would go away in a few minutes. In fact, people who use it say that they even forget they are wearing one during the course of the day.
Do not get it too full
While a menstrual cup can last an entire day without the need to be pulled out, it still depends on how strong your menstruation is for that day. Getting it too full may cause it to leak when you’re about to take it out. It is recommended that you take it out at least twice a day.
Cleaning it is a breeze
Unlike tampons, you need to clean your menstrual cup every now and then. If you are going to use it again during the day, it is okay not to clean it right away. However, you have to clean it for the next day.
You can boil water and put your cup there to sterilise it before you use it again. Remember not to use any alcohol or oil-based cleansing agents because they can break down silicone.
One feature you may want to check is whether your menstrual cup has tiny holes located just on its rim. It is a design to help the cup stay inside your vagina regardless of movement. Whenever you are cleaning your period cup, make sure blood does not get stuck in these tiny holes. Use a brush if you may.
Taking it out
When you are taking out the cup, it is recommended that you do it while sitting on the toilet. First, it allows you to spread your legs, giving you easier access. Second, in case the blood inside spills out, it won’t so straight to the floor.
How do I choose the best menstrual cup?
Now that you know this menstrual cup can give you freedom even during your wet days, the question now is how can you get one. Fortunately, this product is already popular in the country, which means availing a menstrual cup in Australia is easy and convenient. If you are worried where to buy a menstrual cup, check both online stores and pharmacies in your area.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider to choose the perfect type of reusable menstrual cup:
- Type and shape of stem – There are various types of cups that have different stems. Some have the conventional stem, while others place a pull-shaped stem. Choose one depending on your preferences.
- Material used – The earliest, safest and most widely used female cups are made out of silicone plastic that is medical grade. However, some manufacturers use different materials such as natural gum rubber, which is perfect for women who experience irritation when using the silicone variety. Whatever material it may be, rest assured that it can provide the protection and assurance you need to go through an entire day.
- Size of cup –The cup size depends on a variety of factors. The two most common sizes are ‘pre-childbirth’ and ‘post-childbirth.’ Also, some menstrual cups have sizes that are based on age. Make sure you choose the size that fits you. You don’t want a cup that is too tight to place, or too loose that it may come out.
Menstrual cups keep you in control
Indeed, menstrual cups can be an essential part of your kit to make sure you are on the go in spite of your period. If you have a menstrual cup, you don’t need to have a pack of napkins or tampons in your purse just to keep you prepared for anything.
Getting a menstrual o female cup is great because it allows you to save money on napkin and tampon costs. Traveling, shopping, and doing anything you want to do becomes much easier because you are not worried that you left something behind.
Now that you have discovered how this cup can help you in your everyday activities, check out some online stores or pharmacies near you to look for one. Take note of the brand and the quality of the product to enjoy its full benefits.