Why Menstrual Cups Are A Better Feminine Hygiene Product

Why Menstrual Cups Are A Better Feminine Hygiene Product

​Menstrual cups are feminine hygiene products that you can insert into your vagina during menstruation. The cup collects menstrual blood instead of absorbing it. Usually, they have a bell shape with a stem and comprise of medical grade silicone. The cups help prevent the leakage of menstrual fluid onto the clothes.

Menstrual cups are less likely to leave users dry down there because unlike tampons silicone does not usually absorb the natural moisture.

Tampon vs Menstrual Cup

The stem helps ease the insertion and removal of the menstrual cup. The cup can seal against your vaginal wall below your cervix. You can remove, empty and rinse the cup every four to twenty-four hours (depending on the amount of menstrual flow) and then reinsert it. Unlike menstrual pads and tampons, a menstrual cup collects fluid instead of absorbing it.

A menstrual cup can be reused for about five years or even more. This feature helps make the long-term costs of cups much lower than that of disposable pads or tampons. But, they have a higher initial cost. A menstrual cup is also more eco-friendly and practical compared to tampons and pads.

Menstrual cups hit the market in the 1930s. However, Americans were slow to catch on. In the US, menstrual cups were first manufactured in 1987. Several other menstrual cups have been produced since then, made of various substances such as rubber and silicone. Usually advertising for menstrual cups is quite low compared to tampons and pads, and a majority of women who tend to use them often learn about these cups through word of mouth or the internet. 

Types Of Feminine Hygiene Products

It is important to stay comfortable, clean, and confident during your period. Thanks to a variety of feminine hygiene products available on the market, women’s lives are easier than before!

Pads

Pads are conventional hygiene products usually made of cloth which women around the world have been using for several centuries. Compared to standard sanitary napkins which are usually disposable, you can reuse cloth pads after washing them. As they comprise of cotton, these pads are less irritating compared to other products. As a result, they are ideal for women with sensitive skin.

Sanitary Pads

Menstrual pads can be purchased or made at home. The ones available on the market often come in sets of holders and liners. The liner is attached to the holder and grips firmly to your underpants. However, as their absorption power is comparatively less than standard sanitary napkins, you will have to change them often to ensure they do not get messy and very damp. However, these pads are quite eco-friendly and not too messy, as you can wash them easily in your washing machine.

Tampons

You can insert a tampon into your vagina to absorb menstrual fluids before they leave the body. Tampons are tube-shaped products made of rayon and cotton. They have a string attached to one end. The string helps with the removal of the tampons after use. A majority of tampons usually come with either cardboard or plastic applicators that help with the insertion and do not require the use of fingers.

Tampons are available in regular, light, and super thick sizes, which you can choose depending on your menstrual flow. The hygiene product is straightforward to carry and extensively used by women who like sports such as swimming. Keep in mind that it is important to change your tampons every four to six hours, and use them during your heavy-flow days only.

Tampons For Woman

If you wear them during light-flow days or when you are spotting, it may absorb your vaginal fluids which can disturb the delicate microbial balance, causing infections.

Moreover, we recommend that you use a new tampon before going to sleep and remove it when you wake up. If you use the same tampon for over eight hours, you will be at a greater risk of toxic shock syndrome because of bacteria. Also, bear in mind that the use of tampons can be impossible or difficult for women with untreated imperforate hymen or untreated vaginismus.

Sanitary Napkins

A sanitary napkin also known as a sanitary towel is an absorbent material used by menstruating women. Women recovering from vaginal surgeries also wear these, after an abortion and post-birth bleeding. These sanitary napkins should not be confused with usually greater absorbency pads for incontinence, worn by women or men with urinary incontinence problems and stress incontinence.

These napkins comprise primarily of bleached rayon, plastic, and cotton. Sometimes, antibacterial agents and fragrance are part of the formula. In most products, plastic components form the back-sheet while polymer powders act as an additional absorbent, turning into a gel when moistened.

Sanitary Pads

Sanitary napkins come in a variety of thickness, sizes, and absorbency limits to suit different needs. It is highly advisable to choose two kinds of sanitary pads at a minimum; one for your heavy-flow days and the other for moderate or low flow.

Moreover, it is important and safe to change your sanitary napkins every three to four hours, never exceeding six hours regardless of the quantity of blood flow. If you do not change it often, it is likely to lead to bacterial growth because of dampness, causing a foul smell. Also, it may trigger urinary tract infections, skin rashes, and vaginitis.

Sanitary napkins are often individually wrapped which makes them more discreet and easier to carry in your bag or purse. You can use the wrappers to wrap your soiled pads before their disposal in suitable receptacles. You should not flush them down the toilet because it may cause a blockage.

Menstrual Cups

Unlike many products discussed above, a menstrual cup does not absorb your menstrual fluids but collects it. These are small and soft cups often made of medical-grade silicone that you can insert into your vagina, a couple of inches below your cervix, to collect menstrual blood. You can remove, empty and rinse the cup every four to twenty-four hours (depending on the amount of menstrual flow) and then reinsert it.

Menstrual cups come in a variety of types and sizes made of different materials such as medical-grade silicone, latex, or latex-resistant materials. Although you may find the insertion method a little complicated at first, using the cup twice or thrice will make you more comfortable.

Holding a Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups are more eco-friendly and hygienic compared to other hygiene products. Moreover, you can use them for a longer time. 

Many women have reported reduced cramps and enhanced vaginal health after using them. You can insert a majority of menstrual cups for nearly twelve hours, night or day, and usually hold a minimum of one ounce, almost twice as many high absorbency tampons.

Menstrual Cups Vs. Pads Vs. Tampons

Although sanitary pads and tampons are more mainstream hygiene products, many women are big fans of menstrual cups. We will compare the three products in the following sections.

There are many perks when it comes to using a menstrual cup. Perhaps, the most important and notable is that these cups are reusable. You can use them for several years. Rather than spending money on sanitary pads or tampons every month, you could save plenty of cash by using a menstrual cup. 

They also do not dry your vagina as tampons do and do not cause a life-threatening condition called toxic shock syndrome, often linked to the use of tampons. Moreover, menstrual cups are free of chemicals usually found in pads and tampons, like bleach or dioxin. They also help eliminate the odor of menstrual fluids.

However, menstrual cups have a few drawbacks. Emptying the cup can be messy and icky. Younger girls who have never had sexual intercourse can find it hard to insert the menstrual cup. At times, the cup may not fit properly due to individual anatomical issues such as dropped uterus or fibroids.

Comparison of Types

The most important benefit of sanitary pads is that you don't need to insert them. Pads are very reliable, provided you put them on correctly. Despite what you might know, pads are quite comfortable, and some ultra thin ones provide maximum leak protection. Moreover, pads are easy to change and use and putting them on does not take a lot of time. You will not need to worry about toxic shock syndrome if you wear a pad.

But they have some downsides too. You cannot wear a pad with your swimsuit, and they hinder physical activities to some extent. Pads also tend to show through certain pants which can be embarrassing. Plus, they can slip sideways sometimes and feel uncomfortable.

Tampons are more comfortable and let women stay active as they do not fall out of place. They do not make women overly conscious about their menstrual flow. Moreover, you can swim with the tampon on or take part in other physical activities. A tampon will not show through the pants so you will not need to worry about those lines. Unlike pads, with tampons, you can put on whatever underwear you want.

However, tampon use can lead to toxic shock syndrome, which can be fatal in some cases. Tampons are also harder to use as you have to insert them into the body, which makes them scary to many.

Polypropylene is often the overwrap material in most tampons; it is not biodegradable, making tampons detrimental to the environment. Another big problem is that tampons are not visible during use, making it difficult to know when you need to replace them.

Benefits Of Menstrual Cups

A menstrual cup is an eco-friendly and safe alternative to tampons and pads. It is very surprising that few women use them as menstrual cups have various benefits for most women as discussed below.

Environmentally Friendly

Menstrual cups are not the only safer for the body, but also the environment. Cups usually comprise of non-toxic and medical-grade silicone. Unlike panty-liners, tampons, and pads, menstrual cups do not contain artificial fragrances, bleach, or other chemicals and toxins that may lead to irritation or discomfort in the vagina.

These cups comprise of comfortable and reusable materials. You may use them over and over again without piling up pads or tampons in your waste bin. With menstrual cups, you are taking good care of the planet and your body at the same time!

More Comfortable

A menstrual cup offers a good comfort level. You wear it inside your vagina, and if positioned correctly, you will not feel anything. The cups do not have the discomfort associated with the insertion and removal of tampons, especially late and early in the menstrual cycle when the flow is quite light.

Comfortable Levels

Tampons absorb menstrual fluid; therefore removal of a tampon could be uncomfortable. Menstrual cups are designed to catch and collect the menstrual flow, making them ideal for light days.

Healthier

According to many natural health experts, most pads and tampons have toxic ingredients. Moreover, tampons can also cause fatal toxic shock syndrome. On the other hand, menstrual cups are inserted into your vagina similar to tampons but do not pose the same risk.

 Various manufacturers might use different materials; however, a majority of menstrual cups comprise of medical-grade silicone, which makes them a healthier choice than tampons and pads. As menstrual cups collect your menstrual flow, they could help you accurately measure the blood loss, which may help monitor health issues such as menopause or iron deficiency.

Reliable

According to most estimates, menstrual cups can hold up to four to five times more fluid than many tampons in the market. This feature coupled with the lower risk of infection allows women to leave the cup inside for several hours.  You may easily spend about eight to ten hours without worrying about your cup overflowing.

Menstrual Cup Realiablity

Moreover, the risk of leakage is very low which means that a lot of women tend to find menstrual cups extremely reliable. These cups are ideal for use even on the days of heaviest flow which is a great health benefit.

Economical

According to estimates, an average woman using tampons spends about $1,773 on purchasing them over her lifetime. So their cost is not trivial. In contrast, a majority of menstrual cups will cost you about $30, and most brands can last up to ten years.

Therefore, you can save a lot by using a menstrual cup, spending only a modest $3 per year on your sanitary products.

Better Sleep

Although plenty of things may affect your sleep quality and most have not much to do with menstruation, using a menstrual cup could help you get better sleep, especially if you are the type of person who tends to bolt out of bed each hour to ensure that the tampon has not leaked.

What Happens If A Menstrual Cup Overflows?

If your menstrual cup overflows, it is going to leak. The seal that suctions the menstrual cup to your vaginal walls would break when the liquid starts overflowing. However, it is unlikely to happen with many stiffer cups available on the market.

If you use a stiffer cup, the liquid will just accumulate on top of your menstrual cup, collecting near the upper parts of the vaginal canal.

Menstrual Cup How to Insert

In contrast, in the case of softer cups that do not seal very tightly, the seal can easily break. You will realize that even a little overflow will cause your cup to leak. However, this should not be a big concern.

If you expect to be out of your home for an extended period without a private restroom, or overnight during the heavy-flow days, you can supplement your menstrual cup with a cloth pad.

How To Insert A Menstrual Cup? (Step By Step Guide)

Our simple and step-by-step guide will walk you through the insertion process to ensure you get the best results.

  • ​Always wash your hands first.
  • ​Sit on your toilet with your knees apart.
  • ​Gently squeeze your cup from opposite sides, holding it from the bottom.
  • Fold your menstrual cup using any fold that works right for you. Many women use the C-fold.
  • Just like a tampon, gently push your cup up into the vagina and tilt it backward. Your cup should sit low inside the vagina.
  • When your menstrual cup is well inside, it will pop open to create suction. This suction prevents leaks; therefore, use the fingers to ensure it has completely unfolded. Rotate or twist your cup, if needed.

​How To Take Out A Menstrual Cup?

  • ​To remove your menstrual cup, sit on your toilet with your knees apart.
  • ​Now place your finger inside your vagina, moving it toward the pubic bone.
  • ​Hook your fingertip inside the rim, gently pulling the cup’s stem downward.
  • play
    When you reach the base of your cup, pinch it gently to release the suction.
  • play
    Take the cup out and dump the contents into the sink or toilet.
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    Rinse your cup thoroughly with water.

​Toxic Shock Syndrome And Menstrual Cups

Since the late 1970s, general public awareness has increased regarding the link between many feminine hygiene products and toxic shock syndrome.  Many cases of this fatal condition have been associated with tampon use, encouraging plenty of women to use menstrual cups instead.

The use of menstrual cups rather than tampons considerably lowers the risk of TSS; however, there is a single documented case of the syndrome linked to the use of the menstrual cup. 

Toxic Shock Syndrome Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups have a very low risk of TSS. The cups do not have any absorbent or fabric that can create vaginal tears or change vaginal pH. When inserted correctly, your cup would not create any vaginal tears that can cause health complications.

Usually, TSS associated with menstruation often has a low probability of 69/100,000.On the other hand, when not related to menstruation, the incidence rate drops to only 0.32/100,000. Although menstruation increases the risk factor by two, both of these rates are very low.

To cut down your risk of TSS, it is vital to:

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    ​Wash the hands both before and after insertion of the cup
  • check
    ​Insert your cup very gently and carefully, being kind to your delicate vaginal skin to avoid causing tears

​Maintenance And Cleaning

Follow these tips to clean and maintain your menstrual cup.

During The Periods

  • ​Clean the menstrual cup between uses during your period. As silicone is a bacteria-resistant material, it is usually safe to rinse your cup using water and reinsert.
  • ​You may use a dab of soap (that is free of fragrance and not antibacterial) if you would like to be more careful.
  • ​You may use soap like Summers Eve specifically made for the vagina to avoid a yeast infection.
  • Keep in mind that any hand or body soap could irritate your vagina; so, make sure you thoroughly rinse your menstrual cup of soap.
  • Plus, ensure all air holes are free of fluid. Bend your cup at the holes when you are rinsing to ensure this.

​After The Periods

  • ​Boil the menstrual cup in the microwave or pot. (Refer to the directions to determine the length of time the cup should be boiled)
  • ​Ensure your cup stays afloat on the surface the entire time, as the bottom can melt or burn your cup.
  • ​After you have boiled your cup, allow it to cool and dry using a toilet paper or paper towel.
  • thermometer
    In case your cup looks grimy, you can get rid of the stains. One method is leaving your cup in the sun as it dries after cleaning or you may scrub the cup with some cold water and baking soda.
  • thermometer
    Store your menstrual cup in a small and clean space such as its cloth, drawstring bag.

​Conclusion

We have discussed what a menstrual cup is and how it can help you during your period. We have discussed the various types of feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads and sanitary napkins. We have compared three different feminine hygiene products including menstrual cups, tampons, and pads. We have listed the several benefits of menstrual cups which make them superior to both pads and tampons.

Menstural Cup

We have also discussed what happens if a menstrual cup overflows and how you can deal with it. We have provided step-by-step instructions on how you can insert and take out the menstrual cup. We have looked at the linked between menstrual cups and toxic shock syndrome and how you can reduce the risk.

We have also listed a few maintenance and cleaning tips to keep your cup in good condition and increase its useful life. Our buying guide will discuss the different features that you should consider when buying a menstrual cup along with some recommendations.

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