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Exploring the the Menstrual Cup

By HERWriter
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Menstrual Cycle related image Photo: Getty Images

Well EmpowHER readers, it is time to start a new adventure. When I first began writing, I recounted my personal experiences researching and testing out birth control options. I lead you through food adventures exploring potential overlaps between healthy and affordable diets. I even snuck ridiculous references to my own sex life into these articles (see if you caught them…) much to my father’s embarrassment! Now I’m ready to take another dive into a realm of women’s health currently unfamiliar to me; alternative menstrual products. And you’re coming with me! Think of this exploration as a journey into the vagina. We’ll all learn together!

For several years I’ve been very interested in the menstrual cup but procrastinated fully investigating it. After beginning preliminary research, I can’t believe I waited so long!

First a brief overview: The idea of a menstrual cup has actually been around since the 1930s. Like tampons, they were developed as an alternative to the bulky buckle-on pads women wore to stem their flows around the turn of the century. Somehow, these cups were lost in the shuffle and only re-gained popularity recently in hippie hotspots and communities of avant-garde women’s health enthusiasts.

Basically, the product is a small cup you insert into your lower vagina (similar placement to a tampon). The cups are made of a hypo-allergenic material and designed in different sizes to fit a woman’s body at every age and stage. Just like tampons and pads, there are actually several different brands and types of menstrual cups to investigate. Some are disposable, (ex: Softcup, Instead) but most are meant to be re-used (ex: Mooncup, Divacup, the Keeper).

These reusable cups are awesome for several reasons:

1. They save you money. Think for a second how much money you spend each year on tampons or pads – close to $100, right? Imagine what you could do with all that money instead. (In my case – pay rent! Relatively important.) If economic downturn isn’t a good reason to research cost-cutting strategies, nothing is.

2. They reduce the amount of waste you produce. How many tampons or pads do you use during each period? Maybe 20-30?

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have used reusable menstrual products for over two years and I love them. I fell in love with my Mooncup after I finally got the hang of it! (It took me a couple trial runs to get the placement just right) However, I have noticed that once I use my menstrual cup during the day (at work, etc.) and then take it out to use my cloth pads at night, my flow pretty much stops. This kind of freaks me out a bit so I've been using my cup less and my cloth pads more. I don't know if it's because of the amount of suction that the cup has or if I'm collecting all the flow pretty much at once per day and then there's little to nothing else to come from it the rest of the day. Any info as to why this would happen would be greatly appreciated! Like I said, I LOVED my cup! I felt like I'd been set free!

October 5, 2010 - 9:45am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for writing! As a new user of a menstrual cup, I am also actually experiencing some interesting blood flow patterns. I am doing some research and will get back to you! In any case, I don't think you have to be freaked out by the fluctuation in flow volume - in my experience with weird periods, this is nothing to be concerned about. But I'll get back to you soon with more concrete information!


October 6, 2010 - 7:52pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Hannah Cutts)

Thanks a ton! I have read some articles concerning the possible link between menstrual cups and endometriosis and that is really my only concern. I really hope this is not the case because I love mine!

October 7, 2010 - 7:21am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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