What On Earth Is A Menstrual Cup?

by Rhianna on February 2, 2015

This is a blog that HAD to be written. My friend told me so. As we walked along the beach the other afternoon one of those taboo topics came up. I’m not sure how, or why, but we ended up talking about periods. There, I said the P-Word. Some men may want to look away now, which is fine, this is a free country. Some may want to keep reading and find out more about the mysterious female beings they share their lives with, and how to possibly make ‘that time of the month’ a little bit easier- on everyone. Ladies, I (and my friend) implore you to read on… It could change your life.

As a naturopath, I feel I am pretty open with the workings of the human body. But still, there are things that you talk openly about, and things that you don’t. So it came right out of the blue the other day, while walking with my friend, did we find out that we both use Menstrual Cups. After we chatted excitedly for ages about how much we love these things, my friend turned to me and said, “Why isn’t anyone talking about these? People NEED to know about them! You HAVE to write about them!” So here I am.

Menstrual CupOriginally made in Finland and now available all over the world, the Menstrual Cup is an easy-to-use, safe, and clean alternative to pads and tampons. Conventional pads and tampons contain a cocktail of chemicals, bleaches and even deodorisers which can harm the delicate balance of the vagina. We have a whole host of good bacteria there which keeps our vaginas healthy, so disrupting this ecosystem with chemicals can lead to problems such as Candida infections (thrush) urinary tract infections, increased pain during menstruation or intercourse and decreased lubrication and natural immunity. With tampons, fibers can be caught in the vaginal canal upon removal and its absorbency can dry out the mucous membrane. Pads create a stifling, moist environment that is a breeding ground for yeast infections, bacteria and odour. Ever organic cotton pads and tampons will alter the pH and bacterial composition of the vagina, encouraging the problems above. The collected blood sits against the skin for hours, providing an environment where harmful bacteria are more likely to grow.

Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, a non-friendly environment for bacteria. They come in 2 sizes, one for a lighter flow or for women who have not had children vaginally, and the second for a heavier flow, or those who have given birth vaginally. They are an easy-to-use, safe, and hygienic alternative to pads and tampons and can last for up to 5 years. They help to save the planet, by cutting down on waste- 5 years worth of pads and tampons! Not to mention the money you save.

A Cup is folded and insert like a tampon (just not as deep into the vagina) and it collects blood rather than absorbs it. It can be used for up to 12 hours, making it so easy to live life as normal during your period. No need to change tampons in public toilets, or worry about wearing a pad during the night. You empty the cup after 12 hours (or before, depending on the volume of flow), wash it in water and specially pH balanced cleaner, and then reuse. After your period is finished, you sterilize it in boiling water, and place it in a little storage bag for next month.

Menstrual Cup 2The benefits below have been taken from the Lunette website, one of the leading Menstrual Cup brands. Other brands include Luna Cups, Moon Cups and Diva Cups.

The Lunette cup is:
• hypoallergenic, latex-free, odourless, and safe
• affordable and environmentally friendly – with proper care it will last for years
• a sanitary and healthy alternative to disposable tampons and pads
• easy-to-use, practical, and comfortable. It needs to be emptied only two to four times a day and can be used overnight
• safe since it is not conducive to dampness, outbreaks of vaginal candidiasis, cystitis or toxic shock syndrome. In fact, TSS has not been linked to the use of menstrual cups
• suitable to be worn during sports and other physical activities
• easy to clean and disinfect between periods by boiling briefly in water or washing
• designed for women of all ages and sizes
• also designed for women who have not yet engaged in sexual intercourse as well as those who use an IUD or contraceptive ring. However, if you are planning on using Lunette together with an IUD, we recommend discussing it with your doctor
• enables you to monitor your flow by providing measuring lines on the inside of the cup (5 ml and 13.5 ml in size 1, 7.5 ml and 15 ml in size 2). The lining of the cup is totally smooth and the tab is flat, making cleaning very easy
• not disruptive to the natural lubricating ability of the vagina, nor does it dry out the vaginal mucus membrane

There are so many more benefits to using a Menstrual Cup, you can explore for yourself on the various brand websites, but personally what my friend and I have noticed, is a reduction in period pain, ease and comfort wearing something for 12 hours, no noticeable ‘feeling’ at all on wearing, exercise, swimming and yoga are all possible, better understanding about our bodies (amount of flow, clotting etc) and a much better period in general. I was caught without my Cup a few months ago and had to use an organic tampon and I couldn’t believe the difference. It was horrible! I’m happy to say I’ll never go back.

As a side note, these Cups are changing the lives of African girls. In Kenya, girls stay away from school for an average of 5 days per month with their periods as they can’t afford to buy menstrual products. Femme International are providing Menstrual Cups to these girls, allowing them to attend school without stress or embarrassment. For the whole story click here.

So there you go, the story is out there. I hope you too can start enjoying better periods with a Menstrual Cup!



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7 commentsAdd comment

Jacqui February 2, 2015 at 5:08 am

I have had a Keeper Cup for years now, would never go back to using anything else!

Annon February 2, 2015 at 11:53 pm

I just wanted to say that the cups changed my life too. I used to get thrush almost every month. I’d get it the first week after my period and sometimes it would last until my next period. My life was hell. It was almost impossible to have any kind of sex life.

I tried absolutely everything to get rid of it and nothing seemed to work. It was only after I started using a menstrual cup that it went away.

I haven’t had thrush for over two years now and I think it’s all due to the cup. It was a God-send for me.

Rhianna February 3, 2015 at 1:22 am

Thank you for your feedback ladies!

So happy to see there are some fellow cup lovers out there willing to share their stories!

:) Rhianna

Joanne February 13, 2015 at 2:53 am

I have been umming and ahhing over these cups for ages. I don’t like tampons or pads, but the thought of sticking a cup up there freaked me out!

Thank you for this, I feel much more confidant about trying it. I’m almost looking forward to my next period! Haha!


Rhianna March 3, 2015 at 12:56 am

Thanks for your feedback Jo!

I hope you have been inspired to give it a go, and now love it just as much as I do! :)

Menstrual Cup April 13, 2015 at 8:58 am

This article gives the true benefits of menstrual cups over the tampons. As using menstrual cup saves lot of money and also helps in sustaining environment by its reusable capabilities.

Clean private parts September 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

A menstrual cup collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it, and is cleaned and reused, which is the best part of it.

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