For centuries, periods were considered to be a secret that must kept at all costs. With growing times, people have become more aware of the condition which has sparked a lot of conversation. While pads and tampons are known to be used by women all over the world, some other period products are gaining traction. Menstrual cups have become widely popular these days and the discussion around the same has been going on for a while now. This article aims to help you understand the safety concerns of menstrual cups and how to use them. We will also be reiterating its pros and cons to help you make an informed choice.
Are Menstrual Cups Safe?
Menstrual cups are period products used by bleeders to collect period blood. These are considered to be safe due to the following reasons-
1. Materials: The medical grade latex or rubber used to make menstrual cups could be safely used inside the body as it is tested for allergies as well. Many people find themselves allergic to tampons or pad materials but menstrual cups are free from any chemicals or even fragrances.
2. Reduced risk of toxic shock syndrome: Toxic shock syndrome is a concern when tampons are considered. This occurs when tampons aren’t changed for over 5 hours. Toxic shock syndrome is rare but the harm it can cause cannot be overlooked. There have been serious casualties to its name. However, menstrual cups pose no such risk.
3.No disruption of vaginal pH: Our vaginas have particular pHs that change when we menstruate. Additionally using pads or tampons could also affect it and then cause itching. Again this can be attributed to the chemicals used in it to hold the period blood from leaking. However, no such risks are associated with menstrual cups.
4. Comfort: Menstrual cups are easily inserted inside the body and can stay that way for a long time. Pads are uncomfortable and often change their place restricting movement.
How To Use Menstrual Cups?
Menstrual cups are easy to use once you get familiarized with their insertion. The directions could be mentioned on the packet or a lot of tutorials are available. If that’s not helpful we would like to give you a detailed description of the same. Firstly take your index finger, put it in the middle of the cup, and fold its one side to the rim.
Now slowly sit in a position where your vagina is spread and insert the cup without leaving the folded area until you are inside. Once it reaches a safe position, you can release it as its narrow funnel sticks out. The blood will be collected inside the cup and not absorbed. You can use it for a few hours without changing.
Once it is full, you can remove the cup by pulling it downwards. Now empty it into your toilet bowl and clean or wash it before inserting it again. In case, you are not using it again, boil it in warm water to kill the germs and pat dry until the next use. Remember to never use unclean cups that have been used for a long time.
Since it is inserted inside the vagina, chances are you could be infected faster than other ways. In case, you feel itchy or uncomfortable, you can remove it. To buy a cup that suits you, you must keep in mind your age as well as the width of your vagina which could shift after childbirth.
Pros And Cons Of Menstrual Cups
Let’s discuss the various features of the product and work on its pros and cons.
1. Environmentally friendly: This could be considered to be a merit since tampons and pads are non-biodegradable and cause soil and air pollution if burned. However, to consider a con, its initial production might not be as smooth as its future usage. There could considerable amount of pollution involved in the factories that produce tampons.
2. Cost: While it can save a lot of money as we don’t need to buy them in bulk like tampons or pads, it would be difficult for some people to come up with such a big amount altogether. While tampons and pads are cheap, cups are not.
3. Higher capacity: Although it can hold menstrual blood for longer periods, there is no surety how it might work in individuals with different blood flow.
4. Learning curve: It is extremely easy to use a tampon or a pad. However, menstrual cups need proper methods to be inserted. The person is required to be patient and skilled to insert it properly otherwise it could lead to many problems.
5. Maintenance: Menstrual cups need detailed treatment plans to be taken care of. Pads and tampons are single-use and can be thrown away once used. Additionally, extra care must be taken while inserting the cup by boiling it in water to kill the microbes.
6. Suitability: Generally, menstrual cups are suitable for most people but there could be difficulties faced by individuals who haven’t given birth due to the narrow width of their cervix.
7. Size: Tampons and pads are readily available in various sizes that could be chosen from a wide range of products. On the other hand, when it comes to tampons, one might have to test and experiment to know the right fit.
The world around us has changed in every way. As technology and speed take over every sphere of life, period products also need to undergo a drastic change. Women work and might be required to move without toilets or washrooms, in such cases menstrual cups could come in handy as comfortable and stay in place for long hours. Pads or tampons might change places and might need frequent changing to avoid toxic shock syndrome. However, it is still considered a mammoth task when it comes to inserting the cup inside one’s body. With regular practice, one can easily master it considering how green it is for us as well as the environment.