This topic has been on my list of things to write about for quite some time, but I haven't been in the mood to write it...now, it's suddenly that time of the month for me, and the inspiration is... pouring... too much?
A New Moon is currently in expression, which means a lot of other women are likely starting their periods too. Menstruating with the new moon is said to be the "white moon cycle", whereas menstruating with the full moon is said to be the "red moon cycle"... The white moon cycle is more traditionally held with fertility and womanhood, whereas the red moon cycle is focused more on self-growth and creativity. My body has fluctuated between the two the past few years just depending on my energy. For more information on moon cycles, follow this link because that's not why we're here ;).
So, does this topic make you feel a little weird? Have you spoken to your friends about this before?
You saw the title of this so you know I am about to talk about menstrual cups, but have you heard about menstrual cups before?
Have you tried them? If not, why haven't you tried them?
Seriously though. BECAUSE THEY ARE AMAZING.
I have been using menstrual cups for 5 years now, and I can't believe I never learned about this option in my health education class. So to anyone else who missed out in their sex education class at age 10, here's some menstrual cup insight:
1. Menstrual Cups were first patented in 1932. (1)
That's right, menstrual cups aren't a new thing and have actually been around for over 80 years. Though, the first usable patent wasn't made in til 1937. (2) They've been reducing the amount of waste in landfills for women who use them for years now!
If the average woman menstruates for forty years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle, having one cycle per month, she will go through 9,600 tampons in her life. There are approximately 7.69 billion people in the world. For ease, let's estimate that we have 3.5 billion women and only half of them use tampons, that equates to 16,800,000,000,000 tampons being added to our waste.
2. There's little risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
"Scientists have recognized an association between TSS and tampon use, although the exact connection remains unclear.(3) TSS caused by menstrual cup use appears to be very rare to virtually nonexistent.(4)(5) The probable reason for this is that menstrual cups are not absorbent, do not irritate the vaginal mucosal tissue, and so do not change the vaginal flora in any measurable amount. (2)"-- Wikipedia (although I am including their exact citations so you can trace the credibility easier :))
3. They are comfortable.
Maybe I am alone, and maybe this is too much information.. But Tampons made my area feel dry and if I wasn't bleeding enough, it seemed like the cotton would stick to the walls of my uterus. They also were extremely rigid, and I could always tell that I had something inside of me.
The material of menstrual cups isn't absorbent (mentioned above) and so it never over-drys my lady parts... Instead, it sits comfortably as it flexibly adjusts to the shape of my uterus throughout the day collecting my motherhood sheath. lol
4. Maintenance of your cup is easy.
A lot of people are strangely uncomfortable with touching themselves or are embarrassed by this whole cup thing.
Cleaning your cup is very simple. It only requires boiling once a month, and during your cycle, you simply need to rinse it with clean water. You can just rinse it in the bathroom sink.
You simply go into the bathroom, slightly squat down and reach your hands behind you to grab the tip of the cup. Then, gently pull down keeping it upright. (You're going to be pleasantly surprised by how much YOU DON'T ACTUALLY BLEED.) Pour it out into the toilet bowl. Finish your business, and then bring your cup to the sink to rinse it.
There are also wipes or some people bring a spray bottle with them, but you'll get more comfortable and confident with the process the more you experience it.
Also worth noting is that you can use the cup for 5 years and some even longer! This helps reduce our waste immensely.
5. You can leave it in for 12 hours.
If you're too nervous to rinse in a public bathroom, chances are you'll be in the comfort of your own home twice a day. This is the perfect opportunity to rinse it out with peace of mind.
I was nervous with the 12 hour estimation when I first saw that you can leave your cup in for 12 hours... I thought, yes, but you don't know MY BODY... And what was even truer was that I DIDN'T KNOW MY BODY.
Tampons and pads give us a distorted perception of what our period blood is actually like-- in its consistency and especially the amount. Using a cup, I've learned more about what to expect with each day... What is "normal" for ME. And especially, that we don't bleed as much as we think. With this information, I will be able to notice when changes happen in my body and will be able to notify a doctor accordingly.
A Lie. They stretch "you" out.
This is a lie. They don't. They are complacent to the muscles of your uterus. Meaning your uterus will keep doing whatever thing it does... and if you were nervous about this aspect of using a cup, then you will likely be happy to learn that because they don't obstruct your flora bacteria-- you won't have weird tampon smells going on :)..
So there you have it. My experience and period research hopefully reaching you in a time of need for yours. Feel free to contact me if you have any other menstrual cup questions.
(1) Goddard, L.J. US Patent #1,891,761 (issued December 1932).
(2) North, Barbara B.; Oldham, Michael J. (Feb 2011) "Preclinical, Clinical, and Over-the-Counter Postmarketing Experience with a New Vaginal Cup: Menstrual Collection". J Womens Health (Larchmt). 20 (2): 303–11. doi:10.1089/jwh.2009.1929. PMC 3036176. PMID 21194348.
(3) "Tampons and Asbestos, Dioxin, & Toxic Shock Syndrome". FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
(4) Howard C, Rose CL, Trouton K, Stamm H, Marentette D, Kirkpatrick N, Karalic S, Fernandez R, Paget J (June 2011). "FLOW (finding lasting options for women): Multicentre randomized controlled trial comparing tampons with menstrual cups". Canadian Family Physician. 57 (6): e208–15. PMC 3114692. PMID 21673197.
(5) MA Mitchell; S Bisch; S Arntfield; SM Hosseini-Moghaddam (August 2015). "A confirmed case of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of a menstrual cup". Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology. 26 (4): 218–220. doi:10.1155/2015/560959. PMC 4556184.