Menstrual cups however can hold up to eight hours’ flow, compared with four to eight hours with a tampon – and one cup covers light to super plus days. As they are reusable and can last years, they are much better for the environment.
They’re made of body-safe medical-grade silicone, a high quality material which contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. They’re typically available in two sizes, related to age and childbearing history, not your flow.
There’s no denying purchasing and using a menstrual cup is a getting-in-touch-with-yourself experience. After all, a cup does hold menses rather than soaking it up.
But while changing a cup can be messy, you’ll be hard pushed to spill it all over your knickers.
Despite being easy to insert, getting a menstrual cup in right definitely takes practice. The tulip shaped cup has a stem that needs to be trimmed before use so it sits just inside your vagina. You may find yourself sat on the toilet fiddling around until it feels comfortable. But persevere, as you will eventually find the knack. Just light some candles, put on Marvin Gaye. I joke… unless that helps.
When in place properly, the rim forms to your body by suctioning to the vaginal wall. Yes, you may hear the (gentle) suction release and no, it won’t fall out as you run for your train and can be worn when swimming.
As for leakage it’s more reliable than a tampon, although I recommend wearing a light liner alongside your cup for the first few times. When you figure out the exact placement for your cup, it won’t leak, but that does take some time.
In a private bathroom the process of emptying a menstrual cup is as simple as retrieving, emptying, rinsing and reinserting. As for the inevitable public bathroom situation, you may have to get a little creative about your methods, by the means of emptying and wiping clean with toilet roll – periods will never be a glamorous affair, even though it is the very thing that gives life to all of us.
To clean your cup thoroughly (which you should do every cycle), you boil it. Just be sure your housemates aren’t in.
Do bear in mind, you don’t have to empty your menstrual cup anywhere near as much as you would a tampon. Most menstrual cup brands recommend you empty and rinse the every four to eight hours. However you may need to change your cup more frequently if you have heavy periods to avoid leakage. But we’re talking heavy, as in soaks-through-a-super-tampon-in-sixty-minutes, heavy.
As for how frequently you replace your menstrual cup, if you look after it and boil it on the regular, there’s no reason it shouldn’t serve you for a very long time.
How each woman approaches her period will always be a matter of personal preference. It’s your body.
But for me, menstrual cups have transformed the way I deal with my monthly cycle – I wish I’d tried them sooner.
MORE: Which menstrual cup is right for you?
MORE: How to use a menstrual cup
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