by Laura Trotta June 15, 2018

Reusable menstrual products such as menstrual cups, cloth sanitary pads and period-proof underwear are a healthier, eco-friendly and cost effective alternative to regular pads and tampons. In this post I’ll uncover how to use a menstrual cup.

 

What Is a Menstrual Cup?

Menstrual cups are an easy-to-use, safe, and hygienic alternative to pads and tampons.

Menstrual cups are essentially a small cup with a tail (handle) that you insert into your vagina to collect your menstrual flow.  Because they collect rather than absorb menstrual flow, they require emptying (not changing) every few hours.

Made of medical-grade silicone, menstrual cups are latex-free, odourless and safe. Since they’re not conducive to dampness, outbreaks of vaginal candidiasis, cystitis or toxic shock syndrome they’re much safer than tampons.

 

Why Use A Menstrual Cup?

Menstrual products are a big business and an even bigger waste problem in this beautiful country of ours.

The average menstruating woman uses around 300 tampons or pads each year and 10,000 in her lifetime (at a cost to her of over AUD 3,300!). The production and disposal of tampons and pads contribute significantly to landfill volume and pollution of our air and waterways.

To put it in perspective, the waste issue is a bit like disposable nappies but magnitudes BIGGER; babies are in nappies for around 2-3 years. Women menstruate for around 40 years!

I know. Scary huh...!

My initial reason to make the switch from tampons to menstrual cups over eight years ago was to reduce the waste and cost of tampons and pads, but nowadays it also includes eliminating exposure to toxins in disposable sanitary products.

According to Mercola, tampons and pads can contain dioxins, synthetic fibers, petrochemical additives, odour neutralizers and synthetic fragrances. Potential side effects include hormonal and endocrine disruption, immune system suppression, abnormal tissue and cell growth and more.

Shortly after I made the switch to a menstrual cup I noticed that I simply felt better during my period. Less sluggish, a little more energy and lighter overall.

 

How to Use a Menstrual Cup

After using and retailing menstrual cups for over eight years I’ve been asked just about every question on how to use menstrual cups! Here are a few of the more common questions and answers.… 

What Size Menstrual Cup Do I Need?

If you have a light flow or haven’t given birth vaginally, Model 1 is for you. If your flow is heavier and you’ve had a vaginal birth, choose Model 2.

How Do I Insert a Menstrual Cup?

To use simply fold in half and then half again and insert as you would a tampon. To ensure the cup has fully opened, run your finger around the rim or pull it half out to open fully, and then re-insert. If the cup is not fully open you will experience leakage. 

I find that many customers are initially anxious about inserting a menstrual cup for the first time. My advice is to simply give it a go. I actually find that because menstrual cups are made of smooth silicone (and not cotton) they’re much easier to insert than a dry tampon! 

How Often Do I Need To Empty My Menstrual Cup?

In short, about as often as you would change a tampon. Depending on the volume of your flow though, you can leave the menstrual cup in for up to 12 hours. Now I don’t know of any tampon or pad that can offer that kind of freedom!

Is It Safe To Wear a Menstrual Cup Overnight?

Yes! For peace of mind you might like to wear a cloth sanitary pad or period proof underwear while using a menstrual cup to ensure no leaks. 

What’s The Best Way to Clean My Menstrual Cup?

Before using your menstrual cup for the first time I recommend sterilizing it for a few minutes in a small saucepan of boiling water or cleaning with sterile wipes.

During my cycle I wash my menstrual cup under hot water in the sink in my ensuite before re-inserting. When out and about I simply empty and reinsert. If you’d prefer, you can purchase sterile wipes to clean your menstrual cup easily when on the go. 

How Do I Store My Menstrual Cup?

The Lunette Menstrual Cup comes with a small pouch. At the end of your period, clean your menstrual cup and place it inside this pouch until your next cycle.

Where Can I Buy a Menstrual Cup?

At Sustainahome of course!

Click HERE to view our range of menstrual cups.

 

Final Thoughts

Switching to a menstrual cup may require you to shift your mindset (I must admit I thought about it for a while before I built up my nerve) and of course it won’t be for everyone, but I can honestly tell you that this is one purchase that ticks the health, environmental and financial boxes and for that you should take note!

Have you made the switch to a menstrual cup? Share your experiences below!

Laura Trotta
Laura Trotta


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