Would you believe us, if we told you that you can don’t have to miss out on swimming, cycling or any other physical activity even on your period days? You wouldn’t if you don’t know about menstrual cups.
These are cups made of medical grade silicone designed to to be worn internally and collect menstrual blood. They provide period protection for up to 8 hours without causing any rashes or leakage. Using these, you can have a safe, healthy and comfortable period in an eco-friendly manner. One cup saves you 10 years’ worth period supply expenses.
To use a cup, all you need to do is fold the cup, insert it in the vagina and then take it out after 6-8 hours to empty the menstrual flow, rinse and reuse.
Unfortunately, due to cups being a not-so-common period solution, there are many myths that have been circulating about it. Thus people are apprehensive to use it, due to which they are stuck in the loop of period discomfort, rashes and leaks. It’s time to bust these myths with the truth about the cup.
1st Myth: Unmarried or virgin women cannot use a menstrual cup
This is literally the most frequently asked question and also the most common reason why menstruators are apprehensive to use them. Thankfully it’s just a cultural myth and not really a medical fact.
Unmarried women can safely use a menstrual cup if it’s a choice that they make. In fact young girls across the world are already using menstrual cups and other products that require vaginal insertion just like tampons.
You will be surprised to know that in the west, tampons are the first period product that are introduced to young menstruators. Also, many health programmes in Africa are advocacing menstrual cups to young girls.
So, a young menstruator can very well start using a menstrual cup from the very first period. The only thing they need to keep in mind is to start with a smaller cup size. There are tonnes of videos online that one can watch to learn how to use a menstrual cup, including one by Sirona.
2nd Myth: The hymen can break due to the cup
Some women are worried about their hymen breaking due to the cup. Many girls don’t realise that the hymen might be long gone or torn even before their first period. In fact, some girls are born without a hymen and this is completely normal.
Hymen is just a flap of skin that’s present near the vaginal opening. In young girls, it can very easily get torn by just being involved in simple and playful activities like riding a bike.
So, if there is anything menstrual cups do, it is helping you go swimming and running without any discomfort.
3rd Myth: The vagina becomes loose while using a cup
Many women assume that if they wear a menstrual cup, their vaginal canal will stretch and loosen over a period of time. It is very understandable why women might have this fear. Most of us do not understand how our bodies look and function on the inside.
In reality, vaginal canal is surrounded by very powerful pelvic muscles that make it stretchable and distancable. When the cup is inserted inside the vagina, these muscles stretch to make room for the cup. But as soon as the menstrual cup is removed, just like an elastic, these muscles go back to their original shape.
So, you don’t have to worry about using a menstrual cup making the vaginal muscles loose.
4th Myth: The cup might get lost inside the body
Many women fear that the menstrual cup might get lost inside their bodies. The menstrual cup is meant to sit right under the cervix. Women who have high cervix, might not be able to find the stem of the cup very easily. Hence, they might end up panicking.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, don’t worry. All you need to do is strain like you would to pee. And the moment you are going to apply the pressure you are going to be able to feel the stem of the cup.
Remind yourself not to pull the stem of the cup immediately. Instead use the stem as a director, reach for the base of the cup and pinch it. The moment you are going to pinch the base of the cup, air will move out of the cup through these four air holes at the top and the vacuum will break.
Only once the vacuum has been broken, should you glide the cup out comfortably. Dump the menstrual flow, wash and rinse the cup and you are ready to use it. The cup will go as high as the vaginal canal and sit under the cervix, hence, do not worry – the menstrual cup can not get lost inside your body.
5th Myth: Cups are painful to insert and remove
This is one myth which is partially correct, if you don’t know how to insert the cup correctly it can be painful. That is why you should watch videos on cups, to learn how to insert and remove a menstrual cup correctly.
Remember that your vaginal canal is not a straight up. In fact it’s inclined backwards towards the backbone, almost at an angle of 45 degree. So when you are to insert a menstrual cup, remember that you have to glide it backwards towards your backbone.
If you try to push it up instead, you’re going to meet the resistance of the interior wall of vagina and that’s going to cause you some pain and discomfort.
Menstrual cups are comfortable to wear. You will instantly not be able to feel the menstrual cup, if you have inserted it properly. Remember, if you can still feel the cup inside you, probably you haven’t inserted it correctly.
6th Myth: Menstrual cups can cause TSS
TSS or Toxic Shock Syndrome can be a life-threatening medical condition and it’s caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus Aureus that produces a toxin.
Normally this bacteria is not found anywhere inside our vaginal canal but we can accidently introduce it there through our fingers or the products that we use.
Once this bacteria is present inside the canal and finds the right medium which is blood, for a long enough period of time, it starts to multiply and produces a toxin. If additionally there is a presence of a cut, a wound or an abrasion inside your vaginal mucosa, this toxic will find a way inside your bloodstream and cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.
So, only when all three conditions, that is presence of the right bacteria, the right toxin as well as a cut or an abrasion on the wound that allows movement of the toxins inside the blood are present can it result in Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Theoretically, a menstrual cup collects menstrual fluid, while forming a physical barrier between the vaginal walls and the collected menstrual fluid. Hence, the chance of TSS is very low. If you are using a cup or any other period solution, it is important to proper maintain menstrual hygiene. If you are using a cup, make sure that you empty it every 6-8 hours. In the case of sanitary pads, make it a point to change them in 4-6 hours.
Whether you choose to use pads or tampons or switch to cups, it is important to understand your options well to make an informed decision.