The concept of a menstrual cup has come a long way since 1937, when the first usable commercial cup was patented by Leona Chalmers . Whether you’ve already tried a menstrual cup, or you’re willing to give it a go, we’ve done the research on the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s right for you.
What is a menstrual cup?
It’s a flexible funnel-shaped rubber or silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina to catch your period fluid. Unlike pads and tampons, the menstrual cup doesn’t absorb menstrual flow, it collects it. While menstrual cups are not new, their popularity has soared in recent years with many women opting for a cup instead of a tampon or pad for their feminine hygiene needs. A large reason for the popularity is the environmental factor – they’re more eco-friendly than pads and tampons.
Menstrual cup pros
- Lower cost – many menstrual cups are designed for long-term use, even up to years. Reusing your cup can mean significant cost savings.
- Chemical-free – menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, such as bleach and dioxin.
- Better for the environment – not all menstrual cups are made more long-term use, however all reusable cups that are purchased means less landfill waste.
- Less changes needed – menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours .
- No odour – many women worry about the odour that can happen when menstrual fluid is exposed to the air with pads and tampons. As the cup fluid is not exposed to the air, this odour doesn’t occur.
What about the cons?
- May be harder to insert – women and girls who have not had intercourse can find it challenging to insert a menstrual cup.
- Learning to remove – unlike pads and tampons, removing a menstrual cup can require some practice. Rather than pulling on the stem, it’s advised to pinch the base and pull and allow the collected fluid to empty into the toilet.
- Possible messiness – when removing your menstrual cup, another thing to keep in mind is emptying the cup. After pouring the contents into the toilet or sink, it can be rinsed and reinserted. For some women, the process is unappealing, however it can quickly become normalised after practice.
- Requires sterilisation after use – after your cycle you will need to sterilise your menstrual cup with boiling water or with a sterilisation solution.
The only real way to find out is to try a menstrual cup for yourself. If you’re interested in trying a menstrual cup, there are various types on the market to help you find which one works best for your body. Visit your local Blooms The Chemist to learn more about our range of menstrual cup options.