More women around the world are ditching Tampons and Sanitary pads and embracing the use of vaginal cups. This is mainly because menstrual cups are economical, environmentally friendly, and leak proof. However, with the market flooding with many brands that look similar, it's nearly impossible to choose the best Period cup to use for your monthly fluid discharge. Understand the following:
What are Menstrual Cups?
They are flexible cup-shaped devices that are used by women to catch menstrual blood during periods. The cups are manufactured from medical-grade silicone or latex rubber, making them leak-proof and safe to use medically. However, not all menstrual cups are of good quality; some are cheaply made ("cheapies"). It's important to do your research so you have the list of the best menstrual cup brands which are made from high-quality material and have a proven record. Only then proceed to other factors like size, firmness, capacity, etc.
Why opt for Menstrual Cups in place of Tampons or Sanitary pads?
Menstrual cups are eco-friendly and economical, with some locking in the menstrual fluid up to 12 consecutive hours. Additionally, since they are made of medical-grade silicone and latex rubber, they can offer the best leak proof options to the user. No irritation or friction is experienced, making them better than sanitary pads and tampons.
How do I use a menstrual cup?
Every cup comes with its instructions that guide on how to use it safely. The flexible cup is usually folded and inserted into the vagina. Once it has been inserted, it opens and provides a partial vacuum by removing air, which forces the fluid into space or obtains adhesion.
Since it's your first time using this device, it may take you some time to figure out whether it's comfortable to insert into your vagina while standing or squatting. After insertion, the cup should sit below the cervix, with the narrow neck-shaped passage beneath the uterus where the fluid flows through to the vagina.
What you should consider before purchasing a menstrual cup
Before you go for a menstrual cup, there are several issues that should guide you to make the right decision. The cups come in different shapes, colors, and firmness, which makes it almost impossible to know which meets your unique needs. The following pointers will lift the heavy burden off your shoulder:
1. How High Does Your Cervix Sit?
Medical experts advise that you can check the size of your cervix during the period window. At this time, the cervix is usually low, hard, and slightly open to permit the blood to flow out. When the cervix is at the lowest point, it can give you a clue about the shape and size of the cup you can use. To check the size of the cervix, do the following:
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Spread your labia and softly insert your central finger
- Find your cervix with your fingertip.
- Take note of where your finger halted at the opening of your vaginal canal
- Use a ruler to measure the tip of your finger at the stoppage point to get the size of the cup you need
2. Your Age & Births
Your age and births play a significant part in determining which menstrual cup to use. This is because you are looking for a cup that will work well with your body and meet your needs. Therefore, when buying a cup, it should conform to your body. You should also note that if your flow is heavy, you can go for the larger one or if it’s lighter, opt for the smaller one.
3. Soft or Firm Cup?
If you are doing vigorous outdoor activities, it’s recommended that you go for the firmer cup because if you go for the softer one, you will likely experience leakages. Take the following points into considerations:
- Once you realize that you are experiencing leakages while doing activities, swap it with a firmer one for better results.
- Some brands are not suited for women with sensitive bladders, so the best solution is to first use medium-firm instead of going straight for the firmer cup.
4. Is Your Flow Light or Heavy?
Menstrual cups generally come in two different sizes inside a particular brand. It could either be: Small/Large, Size 1/Size 2 or A/B. Other firms have extra sizes, like Small, Medium, Large, Low Cervix, High Cervix, Mini, Shorty, Teen, etc. Most firms usually offer sizing advice.
5. Menstrual Cups and Virginity and/or Teens
A virginal cup is similar to a tampon; that's why if you're content using a tampon, then the use of a cup won't be an issue. But if you believe that any insertion in your vagina will take away your virginity, and then don't use a virginal cup. If you still choose the use of a menstrual cup, you'll perhaps need to go for a cup that is smaller or narrower.
When choosing a cup for your monthly periods, it's wise to know whether the cervix of your vagina is low or high (consult a gynecologist if possible). Go for the best brand, since there are many on the market. Finally, when inserting the menstrual cup, do it safely by following instructions.