Her Body

Menstrual Cup: All You Need To Know

The menstrual cup is a life changing invention. It’s for women who don’t want to deal with the stress of never being too far from a bathroom, or wanting to head out for an hour without having to bring a bag with supplies in it. If timing and scheduling regular sanitation changes are things that cause you difficulty or stress, then the menstrual cup might be your answer.

The extent of the impact that your period has on your life is probably determined by its predictability in arriving, warning signals that you may or may not get, and your flow. For all of these reasons, the menstrual cup is a no-brainer. It reduces the many inconveniences associated with having your period. Once it is in, you can carry on with your day as if nothing has changed.

The first great thing is you only deal with it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. For the rest of the day you do not have to think about a strategic bathroom break in case you get stuck in a meeting, or trying to time changes around races/competitions and the inevitable bathroom queue delays. You also don’t have to concern yourself with the time limit that is advised for tampons before the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome becomes real. 

The chances of a leak are pretty much zero, because the cups can hold between 17-35ml depending on the size you use, and they mould to fit you. This can be as much as three tampons worth. If you are concerned about it getting too full, you can change it during the day too. Doing this will actually help you understand your flow a lot better, and after a few cycles of trialling and observing, you will have a very intuitive sense of which days your flow is heavier and generally begin to understand your body a lot more.

It usually comes in a neat little string bag that you can put in your bag and carry around safely and cleanly. It is not a bright and obnoxious colour that, if it accidentally falls out of your bag, can lead to you scrambling to pick up quickly. It is incredibly discreet. You only ever need to carry one, meaning that when travelling for holidays, work trips and away games or races, it only takes up a tiny space, rather than an industrial sized toiletries bag. It frees up space and weight for other things.

The cup is far more hygienic and clean than regular products. It does not smell and the risk of you ending up in a mess is almost completely negated. Doing changeovers is an easier process as there are not multiple components to deal with during the process. You simply empty it into the toilet. The idea of a silicone cup sitting in there for a long time can freak some people out, but it is actually far safer and cleaner than a cotton tampon. In terms of cleaning it, you are advised to rinse with hot water (and plain soap if you wish) at each change, which is morning and evening. At the end of your cycle it should be boiled for 5 minutes and washed with non-perfumed soap. It is really that simple.

Finally, it is way cheaper in the long run, especially if you go through a high volume of products each month. Because you have it, you are never going to find yourself running out and less like to need to make emergency journeys to the shop. Various brands offer different prices and deals, usually coming in around the 30 euro mark. This once off payment means you don’t have to worry and you have it for life. There are also, of course, massive positive environmental impacts as there is no waste.

Some women experience pain at first and it can be a weird experience. The pain can be related to your flow or your size, but not everyone experiences this. Some women need to wait until they are in full flow before they can use it effectively.

Women and girls who find tampons uncomfortable may be concerned that a moon cup is bigger, so how would it work for them? Because the cup is silicone it can be less abrasive than the cotton tampon and moves a lot smoother. When inserting it, you fold it in a certain way so that it is in reality quite small. Once inserted it expands to fit you, creating suction that prevents leaks.

All this said however does not mean it will or won’t work for you. There are so many factors that affect how a woman manages her cycle and what might be a massive win for one woman might be a hindrance to another. 

For example, one might find it very handy that you only have one and it lasts a day, whereas another woman might like being able to scatter things around as her cycle is unpredictable. One woman might experience no pain whatsoever, others do, for one reason or another. One woman might find the reusable aspect to be less messy and environmentally friendly, another might find the idea of reusing it a bit weird.

The only way to know is to try it out! Do your research, carefully follow the guidelines and you might just find the menstrual cup is for you!

Bláithín Sheil

Bláithín developed a love of the outdoors at a young age as a Sea Scout. She dabbled in a wide range of sports and found a true passion in athletics at Trinity College. She competes for her home club Raheny Shamrock over cross country, road and track. Her life long goal is to have a massive crew for the Sunday Long Run!

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