Sometimes, you see something and it makes you stop and take a second look. That's what happened to me when I ran across Tat and Cloth Nappies are Fun.
No, it wasn't the word 'nappies' that made me stop~ I see enough of that around bloggy land~ it was...
reusable menstrual products.
Why I love my menstrual cup
In case you've never heard of it, the menstrual cup sits in the lower part of the vagina and collects the menstrual fluid (as opposed to absorbing it). It needs to be emptied, washed and re-inserted every 4-8 hours. The cup is now my absolutely favourite menstrual product because:
- I need to empty it far less often than I need to change a tampon or a pad. Ok, it doesn't get me through the night on my heaviest flow days, but it is still a huge improvement compared to the most absorbent pad and tampon out there (combined).
- Menstrual cups are the absolutely cheapest option out there. You only need one cup, which normally costs around $30-40, and with correct care it can last for years.
- They sit inside the vagina and there is no bulge (unlike pads).
- There is no dryness and no risk of toxic shock syndrome.
- It is better for the environment than disposable products.
- I don't need to watch my supply and worry that I may run out of pads or tampons.
Here are the challenging moments for me (compared to the benefits, these shortcomings are very minor and something I can live with):
- It takes a couple of days to get used to the cup and get the technique right. If the cup leaks, it usually means that it hasn't sealed correctly. When you are inserting the cup, you will usually hear the air coming out and creating a vacuum seal. You can also feel the edges of the cup, it should be perfectly round.
- The cup may leak during a yoga class, at least during some of the postures. I have now singled out the offending asanas and I just sit them out when I have my period.
- Emptying the cup in public toilets can be messy. Because you won't have access to a tap, you will need to carry a small water bottle to rinse the cup or you can just wipe it with a tissue. Luckily, I don't have to do it that often. Once the heavy flow days are over, I can leave the cup in for up to about 8 hours, which is usually plenty of time to get me home.
- You will need to disinfect most cups by boiling them between periods. A word of warning! Don't leave the cup on the stove, walk away and forget about it like I did. It will not survive.
Which cup should you choose? My first cup was a Lunette. When I burnt it I was really upset, not so much because I had to buy a new cup, but because I'd have to go through a whole period without one. I quickly replaced it with a Mooncup (which was the best deal I could get at the time). Both the Lunette and the Mooncup are made of silicone. They have slightly different texture and shape, but in terms of performance I can't say I prefer one over the other; both are excellent. If you'd like a cup made of natural material (rubber), there is also the Keeper (if I ever lose my cup again, this is the next cup I am going to try).
When I was doing some research for this guest post, I found that the menstrual cup was patented in 1932. Isn't it amazing that after all those years such an excellent product remains so little known?