What the heck is a menstrual cup I hear you say?!
I wondered the same thing the first time I heard of it. To cure your curiosity, it is basically a soft, reusable, hypoallergenic, silicon cup that sits in the inside of your vagina and collects your menstrual flow. It is folded and inserted just like a tampon. Once it is opened it creates a seal so it won’t leak. And then when it’s full, you empty it into the toilet, rinse, and re-insert. Below is the Juju cup brand which I ended up buying…
Sounds crazy, but now I would never go back to tampons….let me tell you why.
Recently I’ve been diving into the literature on women’s health, hormones & the female menstrual cycle. Being super interested in fertility, I understood that healthy, happy hormones is one of the most important things to get sorted out first! Our menstrual cycle is like a window into our health, with our symptoms being little tell-tail signs about what is going on in the body. My curiosity about this wonderful female reproductive system was growing.
In some text I read, they discuss the ‘volume of flow’, colour and consistency, and how these symptoms are used diagnostically by natural therapists. While I was very intrigued, I was also confused…how was I meant to know these things about myself when I use tampons and they absorb all the evidence of my flow? I wasn’t really sure if I had a light or heavy flow, or exactly what colour or consistency the blood is. The only thing I did know was how I felt, and physical symptoms I experienced (bloating, acne etc).
I wanted to be able to monitor my flow more carefully. I was so curious…what can all these symptoms of our menstrual cycle tell us???
I learned that a ‘normal’ menstrual loss is about 50mL and a heavy period is anything over 80mL. This is interesting, but as far as I’m aware, most woman don’t measure their flow so these numbers are fairly meaningless.
While I was doing all this pondering over my ‘flow’, I remember a yoga teacher of mine back in Perth talking about her ‘Menstrual Cup’. I remember her talking about how much she loves it! So I opened up Aunty Google, and typed in ‘Menstrual Cup’. I discovered some of the popular brands, which go by the names of ‘Moon Cup’, ‘Diva Cup’, ‘Lunette Cup’, and the ‘Juju Cup’. I read as many reviews as I could find about these little devices. Some were fairly entertaining, particularly this one posted on Mamamia ;), and others were informative, such as this one on the Juju site.
After much debilitating, and a lot of feedback from other women who use them, I decided to take the plunge and get on-board with the menstrual cup. To me it seemed like the best way to truly be able to monitor my flow closely. I chose the ‘Juju Cup’ brand, mostly because it is Australian made, and has two different sizes (pre-baby, post-baby!). I never usually looking forward to my period, but this month was different. I couldn’t wait to try it!!!
To my surprise, it wasn’t as hard as I thought to insert. Once it was in, I couldn’t feel it…just like a tampon. Apparently you can leave them in a lot longer than a tampon (8-10 hours depending on your flow), but I took mine out more regularly as I was petrified of it overflowing!! It sits just up inside your vaginal opening, and once it’s in there it forms a suction seal to prevent leaking. You can empty the contents into the toilet and then wash it in the sink. If there isn’t a sink available (in a public toilet), you could just wipe it out with toilet paper until you get home to wash it properly. I was a little nervous of all of this, but to be honest found it much easier than a tampon! I could leave it in the whole day at work, rather than having to find gaps between clients to run to the bathroom. I could also leave it in all night.
I’m excited I can now start to really pay closer attention to my flow. In my next post I’ll write up what the different menstrual symptoms can possible mean (remember these are never a diagnostic on their own; you should always go and see a natural or medical therapist who can assist you).
Some other good reasons to make the switch include saving money & helping the environment! Did you know that on average, a woman will have 400 cycles in her lifetime. This means a LOT of disposable sanitary items into landfill and money spent. So I’m stoked to be saving money, reducing landfill, and doing something better for my reproductive health. Win win win!
I can honestly say I will happily never go back to tampons.
Get on board ladies…you won’t regret it 😉