Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Let's preface this piece by establishing one thing, all vaginas are beautiful regardless of shape, size, color, or texture. We decided to finally give menstrual cups a try and let's just say - you'll love it here. Menstrual cups have been on the rise for decades and they gained popularity when the Diva Cup was introduced to the world in 2003. Menstrual cups are silicone cups that hold blood and uterine lining as it's released from the uterus. Periods can be quite the experience. During that time of the month, some women feel more connected to their bodies while others are looking for the closest exit. In 2020, the Global Feminine Hygiene Market was valued at over $19 billion dollars and counting. Women should have infinite options to manage our menstrual cycles which happen to be the nucleus of a multibillion-dollar industry; menstrual cups have become a game changer for life.
How it Works
Cups typically have a bell or tulip shaped body with a short stem attached to the base and a rim at the top. The rim functions as a suctioning tool to help the cup remain in the vaginal canal, making it impossible to get lost inside or fall outside of your vagina.
1. Menstrual cups are a great alternative for women who lead busy lifestyles. They can remain in the body for up to 8-12 hours while providing leak-proof protection.
2. The medical grade silicone material used to develop menstrual cups is gentle on the vageen and easy to remove even on your lightest flow days.
3. Cups don't contain any of the highly absorbent, bleached cotton that most tampons are comprised of - meaning they won't dry out your natural juices or cause abrasions upon removal and the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome is significantly reduced.
4. Bloody pads and the tampon string tuck, wrap, and hold routine while you hover over the toilet will become a thing of the past. It's easy to forget that you're actually on your period while using a menstrual cup.
5. The added benefit of menstrual cups is the instantaneous reduction of waste and spending due to their ability to last for up to 10 years.
1. There's a learning curve to using menstrual cups and 1-2 days won't make you a cup aficionado. You may experience discomfort initially if you're abstaining from vaginal penetration, have strong pelvic floor muscles, or a narrow vaginal canal and/or low cervix. The average vagina is 3-6 inches long and 1-2.5 inches wide, research indicates that the length of the vaginal canal increases significantly when sexually aroused. We know vaginas have the ability to contract and expand but a cup with a suction rim can make things... interesting. It's important to find the right cup for your anatomy and to insert and remove your cup properly. In order to prevent discomfort, most brands recommend that you relax your pelvic muscles, position your fingers around the base and body of the cup, then pinch the cup to remove. The stem is there to gently maneuver the cup from side-to-side to getter a better grip of the base. All of this seems pretty simple if you're able to reach two fingers inside of your vagina and around the cup to retrieve it (your fresh set just might have to go).
In this situation, size definitely matters - specifically, cup size. We recommend purchasing a cup that has a narrow triangular base as opposed to one that's bell-shaped to make insertion and removal almost effortless. It's normal to feel frustrated or anxious when attempting to insert or remove a cup for the first time. Just remember that with patience and practice you'll move with ease. The Intimina Lily cup is our current favorite, it's comfortable to insert, wear, and remove. The cup comes in two sizes, Size A is recommended for women who have had a C-section, have not given birth, and women who have a medium flow. Size B is recommended for women who have a weaker pelvic floor, have given birth, or have a heavier flow. The Lily cup's soft, smooth, and flexible design provides up to 12 hours of leak-proof protection. As always, we recommend that you consult with a trusted medical professional before altering your menstrual routine. There are several underlying conditions that may be the cause of any vaginal discomfort you're experiencing. Let us know if you've ever used a menstrual cup and if it was love at first cycle.
Photo via @since92hb