Do you know that moment when you arrive at work after a morning when nothing went as planned and then suddenly think, “Oh right, I have my period and nothing at all with me”? That happened to me slightly more often than the average woman because I have been described as forgetful. Fortunately, I have several very open-minded friends who also want to talk openly about everything. Suddenly, they spoke of something new to me: the menstrual cup. It is a kind of ‘cup’ or chalice made of soft plastic that you insert into your vagina to collect the blood you lose.
I was triggered because they were delighted with the absence of leakage; it can last a little longer than a tampon. It is reusable, and you get a high return on investment. Because let’s be honest: all those hygiene products are expensive, and I find that very unfortunate because it should be a fundamental right.
After a few YouTube videos about all possible folding techniques, which are very numerous on this subject, I went for it. Before insertion, I sterilized the cup by boiling it for 5 minutes. That is something I always do before and immediately after use. After a few hours of use, you can remove the menstrual cup from your vagina by pushing the cup down a little with your pelvic floor muscles and gently pulling on the “cord.” It sounds very complicated and a bit of a mess for beginners, but this is a piece of cake for an ‘experienced’ user.
The first time is exciting, as with everything. I checked several times whether the cup was still in place and whether there was no leak at all, whether I still found it and it was not “lost.” I can tell you that I haven’t experienced a single leak in a year, and the cup never disappeared. However, it is recommended to choose a model with a ridge on the “cord.” In this way, you have just a little more grip when it is impossible to get it out with only your pelvic floor muscles. If this happens to you, it is important not to panic, because you can!
The menstrual cup is not only gaining popularity within my group of friends.
The Isala survey shows that one in four women already uses a menstrual cup. Sanitary towels (61%) are still the most popular hygiene product, followed by the tampon (56%).
Our previous blog post about the ‘International Menstrual Hygiene Day‘ also mentions the most popular methods. It is not clear which method or combination is best for your health. Most likely, it is person dependent. The impact on the vaginal microbiome is also, still, an unexplored territory.
Analysis of the microbiome data of our Isala participants showed that using a menstrual cup is positively associated with vaginal lactobacilli such as Lactobacillus crispatus, while using menstrual pads is less associated with these beneficial bacteria. So good news if you want to try out the cup!