Here is something that’s not often talked about. Menstrual cups! Today our new Chinese Medicine practitioner Lauren is going to explain everything we have ever wanted to know about menstrual cups and make us wonder why it has taken us so long to get on board.
Menstrual cups have been around for a long time, but for some reason not a common go to choice for women. Let me explain what they are all about and why you will want to start using one.
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual cups (or moon cups) are a fantastic alternative to regular sanitary pads and tampons. The cup works by collecting blood rather than absorbing it. As it does not absorb your body’s natural lubrication, there is no dryness or pain on insertion, which can be a problem with tampons. There is no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome as the cups are made from medical grade silicone.
So why should you use one?
A Menstrual cup can hold more liquid then a pad or tampon, so you have longer intervals of time before needing to empty it. Most brands recommend no longer then 8-12 hour periods without emptying.
You will be pleased to know that cups are environmentally friendly because there is NO monthly waste to dispose of and they can last up to 10 years. You never have to worry about having enough pads or tampons with you, which is especially handy when travelling.
Menstrual cups help you become more in tune with your cycle and your body. They make it easier for you to observe any changes in colour, consistency and flow, which is always useful information to pass onto your Chinese Medical practitioner.
Added bonus – you can swim with it stress free.
How often do you need to empty it?
Most women find they only need to empty their menstrual cup a couple of times a day. As each woman’s body is unique the number of times will depend on her flow. After using the menstrual cup for a couple of cycles you will soon learn what works best for your body.
Is it expensive?
A menstrual cup costs around $40. This is a once off expense for a product you will own for years. This is opposed to paying for pads and tampons every month for decades!
How do you clean it?
Clean with warm soapy water after removing the cup and before re-inserting. If you are in a public toilet, wiping with a tissue is fine (always handy to have hand sanitiser in your bag for your hands) and you can clean it properly when you get home. There is also the option of boiling your menstrual cup at home in a (dedicated) pot between periods to give it a thorough clean.
Can you feel it? Does it hurt? Isn’t it really big??
It may take a little bit of practise to get the hang of inserting and removing a menstrual cup.
It is a good idea to practise inserting and removing it when you don’t have your period. This is great preparation for the big day when you finally get to use it with your period! Trust me, I was excited.
Once inserted correctly, you cannot feel the menstrual cup as it is flexible and moulds to your body. To insert, the cup is folded and then pops open into place once in the proper position covering your cervix. To remove, pinch the base of the cup and give it a little wriggle and pull (make sure your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed – breathe) then it will slide out. Importantly, when removing the cup, be sure to keep it upright so it does not spill.
All menstrual cups come with instructions and diagrams showing different methods for insertion and removal. They also come with a little pouch for you to keep your cup in when not using it.
I have been using a menstrual cup for 6 months now and will now never go back to pads and tampons! It is life changing and when you start using one too, you will see why!
Do you use a menstrual cup? Are you thinking about it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments area below.
Lauren Curtain is a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner, completing her 4 year degree at the Southern School of Natural Therapies in Melbourne.
She has a strong passion for all things Chinese Medicine, fertility and women’s health.
Lauren understands the importance of patient empowerment; she is passionate about educating patients every step of the way, providing realistic guidance they can start using as soon as they leave the clinic.
Lauren creates a warm, loving and judgement free environment for her patients. They feel comfortable and are able to enter deep relaxation and begin their journey of health and healing.
Her treatment techniques include a combination of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, cupping, gua sha, moxibustion, Tui Na (Chinese Remedial Massage) and lifestyle and dietary therapy.
She is registered with the Chinese Medicine Registration Board and a member of AACMA (Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association). Her services are covered by most health care providers.