Disclaimer: This article was written by a student based on personal experience.
Are you looking for a way to not only save money but also be kind to the environment, even when you feel like your period is trying to bring you down? Have you ever considered using a menstrual cup? There are many benefits to switching and we have summarised just a few in this blog!
First of all, what are menstrual cups?
Did you know that menstrual cups have been around since the 1800s? While the first cups were more like a rubber sack attached to a single ring, they have definitely come a long way since. Today’s menstrual cups are usually made out of rubber or silicone, and they are small, flexible and funnel shaped – perfect for catching and collecting period fluid.
How to find a suitable menstrual cup?
It is very important to know what size you might need, as most brands sell two version – one small and one large. Most cups come with a size guide, and they will ask you to consider things like:
- Your age
- Whether or not you have a heavy flow
- If you have given birth vaginally
The smaller size is usually recommended for 30 years and under (if you haven’t given birth vaginally before) while larger sizes being the better choice for those over 30, those who have given birth vaginally, or simply if you get heavier periods.
However, the only way to really know whether a cup will work you is by trying it. They are not one size fits all – they come in various formations and sizes and as such, the first one might not fit you straight away. However, the next one might do the trick! You can easily look up different brands to see what others are saying.
Advantages? Disadvantages? Is this for you?
There are many pros for using a menstrual cup:
- They are budget friendly. If well looked after, a single menstrual cup can be used for up to ten years! This means you don’t have to continuously buy menstrual products (like you would with tampons and pads) and save loads of money as well.
- Better for the environment. For the same reasons that they are budget friendly, menstrual cups are also eco/friendly. As they last for a long time, there is less waste going to landfills. Isn’t that a win-win?
- They can hold more blood than tampons or pads. This means that you can go longer between changes. While tampons usually have to be changed every 4-8 hours, with a menstrual cup, you can go up to 12 hours before having to empty it. This also makes it perfect for overnight use!
- Convenient, and comfortable. You don’t need to carry replacements while out an about, which means no more running to the shops if your period catches you by surprise! If inserted right, you won’t feel a thing either, so you don’t have to worry about those strings or wings.
- Can be used at any time, even if you’re not on your period. Discharge? Spotting? Or just expecting your period? You can use your cup anytime. It is also perfect for sports, so you can do yoga, swim or go the gym with barely any hassle.
Some things to consider (aka. the cons):
- They can be a bit intimidating at first. They are definitely different than, let’s say pads, so trying them out could be a bit daunting for the first time.
- They can be messy. Emptying the cup can be difficult at times, but with practice (and by finding the right technique) it definitely gets easier. Cleaning it in public bathrooms might pose a challenge for some as well.
- They may be hard to insert or remove. Again, this also comes with practice. Some might also have concerns using a menstrual cup with their IUD – if this is the case, reach out to your GP beforehand.
- Regular sterilisation is very important. The easiest way to do this is with some boiling water – make sure this is done after each cycle to keep the cup clean.
- It may cause irritation – if the cup is not cleaned or cared for properly. That is why keeping it nice and clean is super important.
If you want to find out more about Period Diognity and other menstrual management options head to our dedicated page.
Free Moon Cup
If you are thinking of giving menstrual cups a chance you are in luck – the SU is going to be giving away free TOTM cups at the IV Lounge on the Heath Park campus and in the SU! They will be available in 3 sizes, alongside professional advice if you require it!
Dora Szalkay | Postgraduate in Geography and Planning