While sanitary pads are widely used, menstrual cups are not that popular in India. You will hardly find women going for a cup despite its promise of lower leakage in comparison to disposable pads and tampons. A Lancet study states that there are 199 brands of menstrual cups available in 99 countries but awareness is low.
Titled ‘Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, the study summarised current knowledge about leakage, safety and acceptability of menstrual cups, comparing them to other products. It combined data from medical studies and grey literature — such as conference abstracts, reports and theses — for which participants reported their experiences of menstrual cups or their willingness to use them.
Notably, it is the first review and analysis of the use of menstrual cups on a global level. Considering that there is a steady rise in women looking for alternative and eco-friendly products that are also comfortable, here is all you need to know about this alternative period product.
What are menstrual cups
Menstrual cups are small cups made of medical-grade silicone which sit in the vagina and collect period blood. They only need to be changed once every 8-10 hours (or sooner, depending on the flow) and are highly comfortable to use. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and hardness.
Menstrual cup sizes
Smaller menstrual cups are usually recommended for women younger than 30-years-old, who haven’t delivered vaginally and larger sizes are recommended for women who are over 30.
How to put in your menstrual cup
*Wash your hands thoroughly.
*Apply water or a water-based lube to the rim of the cup.
*Tightly fold the menstrual cup in half, holding it in one hand with the rim facing up.
*Insert the cup, rim up, into your vagina like you would a tampon without an applicator. It should sit a few inches below your cervix.
*Once the cup is in your vagina, rotate it. It will spring open to create an airtight seal that stops leaks.
*You shouldn’t feel your menstrual cup if you’ve inserted the cup correctly. You should also be able to move, jump, sit, stand, and do other everyday activities without your cup being displaced. It is a good practice to speak with your doctor before your first try.
While they take some time to get used to, menstrual cups are known to cut down on leakage once the right size is found. Before you put in your menstrual cup, remember to lubricate the rim with water or a water-based lube (lubricant). A wet menstrual cup is considered much easier to insert.
How to take out the cup
*Wash your hands thoroughly.
*Place your index finger and thumb into your vagina. Pull the stem of the cup gently until you can reach the base.
*Pinch the base to release the seal and pull down to remove the cup.
*Once it’s out, empty the cup into the toilet.
Why should you consider it
Preliminary evidence of The Lancet study on the cost and waste savings associated with using menstrual cups suggested that over 10 years, a single menstrual cup could cost much less than pads or tampons. A cup could cost roughly five to seven per cent of the cost of using 12 pads (on average $ 0.31 each) or tampons (on average $ 0.21 each) per period. Over 10 years, a cup is estimated to create 0.4 per cent of the plastic waste generated by single-use pads or 6 per cent of that produced by using tampons, it further stated.