Like many women, the fear of leaks during your period can leave you feeling a bit worried, month after month. The aisle of feminine hygiene products offers up a wide selection of protection, including the increasingly popular menstrual cup. Let’s learn more about this option.
New? Not really!
The first menstrual cup goes back to the 30s, but it was not until the end of the 80s that it broke into the market in a more significant way.
The most popular model on the market is a bell-shaped cup worn internally to catch the menstrual flow. To insert it, you simply fold the cup in a U shape, then, once inside, grip its base and turn it one full rotation to open it completely and seal the vaginal opening. The cup sits at the base of the vaginal canal and can be left in for up to 12 hours.
To remove it, you gently pull on the stem until you can pinch the base of the cup. You then angle it slightly, moving it from side to side until it is completely out.
Once the cup has been removed, empty the contents in the toilet, wash it with warm water and a special wash or other mild soap (unscented, water-based and oil-free) and reinsert.
Advantages of the menstrual cup
This form of feminine protection presents a host of appreciable advantages for women.
- Eco-friendly. Because it is reusable, it eliminates the production of tons of waste.
- Economical. Its up-front cost is higher, but it pays for itself in just a few months, since no other feminine hygiene products need to be purchased. The cup should be replaced every 12 months.
- Long-term, leak-free protection. The menstrual cup can hold up to 30 ml of menstrual flow, with the average flow being between 20 to 60 ml per cycle. Based on your amount of flow, you can keep it in for 10 to 12 hours – even at night. For heavier periods, you simply empty it more often.
- Odour-free. Unlike traditional feminine protection, the cup collects menstrual flow without exposing it to air. As a result, no odour-causing oxidation occurs.
A learning curve for some
Many women will immediately feel comfortable using the menstrual cup, while others can expect to spend a few cycles getting used to it. If that is the case for you, all you need is a little time to:
- Learn how to use the cup
- Adjust to the sensation of wearing it (any initial discomfort passes after a short time)
- Embrace a new kind of sanitary protection with its own method of insertion
What you need to know
There are several things you should know about using the menstrual cup. Here are some of the most important ones:
- wash your hands well before inserting and removing the cup
- wash the cup between each use and at the end of your cycle and store in a container that allows air to flow
- Do not use a lubricant to insert the cup, as this could damage it. If you need to, use lukewarm water.
- The menstrual cup is not a birth control device, nor does it provide protection against sexually transmitted infections. It can only be worn during menstruation.
- If you use an internal birth control device (e.g. an IUD or etonogestrel - ethinyl estradiol vaginal ring), it is best to consult your doctor before using the menstrual cup.
- It cannot get lost inside the body.
- Menstrual cups come in one or two sizes, depending on the brand. When there are two sizes available, you choose based on your age and whether or not you have given birth.
To discover the range of feminine hygiene products offered at Uniprix, visit your local sales location.
Do you have questions on menstruation, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), contraception or pregnancy? Your family pharmacist is always there to answer them!