TMI Time: an introduction to cups that go "down there"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Menstrual cups. That’s right. I said it. Intrigued, aren’t you?

Well, everything else is hiding behind a cut so that we don’t scare the ability to reproduce out of passerbys. So click on through if you think you can take it!


The basic facts 

Menstrual cups are soft, malleable pieces of silicone or rubber (no, not like the “dimethicone” kind of silicones, and no, not the “elastic band” kind of rubber) made to hold, rather than absorb, the sloughing off of unfertilized endometrial tissue your period. They’re shaped like closed funnels (don’t scoff; you totally know it’s true) or small bowls (in the case of the disposable cups.)


(Or should that be disposa-bowl?)


[rimshot] 


The first cup was patented in 1932 (!!!) and was made from rubber. Most menstrual cups are not associated with high frequencies of TSS, unlike tampons. There are a few questions, and by this we mean like, “one question by one study one time,” being raised about the relationship between cups and endometriosis, but there are questions being raised about everything… I mean, your sunscreen can give you cancer, gluten will kill you, and your dog secretly wants to eat your brains.


(Sorry if I’m offending anyone. I just don’t buy into irrational worries until someone else* does.)
*Someone else, like maybe… the federal health authority. Which for the record, still supports cups being on the market. So there! 

[gets off soapbox]

Why they’re gaining popularity

Greenliness! (I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.) But no, seriously — reusable menstrual cups mean that you buy one cup and it lasts you anywhere from one to ten years. So sure, they’re synthetic, but so are many tampon applicators and pads. Plus, the durability of cups means a greatly reduced amount of wastes associated with pads and tampons: plastic wrappers, rayon-cotton absorbencies, bleach used to make them white, transport fuel, packaging…

The point is, overall, reusable menstrual cups reduce waste. Also awesome? The fact that many of them can be worn in anticipation of your period (no more washing your undergarments in the sink!) and they can (but don’t always) hold much more than the average tampon — while a regular absorbency tampon will hold 6-9ml, and an extra super absorbency will hold 12-15ml, cups start at 10ml and go right up to 30ml. 30ml!!!


The disposable

“Well, okay,” you say, “but what about the disposable? They don’t reduce waste!”


They sure don’t. And you know what I have to say to that? Pthooey!


…I’m just kidding. (Seriously, what is wrong with me today?!) Disposable cups come with their advantages as well! For instance, they’re much more portable (you have to wash and sanitize a re-usable menstrual cup completely before re-inserting it,) they can be worn during intercourse (yes, that kind of intercourse… stop your snickering!) and they’re much easier for some (no, not all) women to insert and wear comfortably.

Plus, they look like very short, overweight condoms, which makes for a great conversation starter.

What peaked my interest

All of the above! But more specifically, here are some stats about my own period that might help put future reviews and babble into perspective:

  • I feel incredibly guilty each and every period because of the amount of waste I produce. It’s obscene!
  • I always carry my bag into the washroom with me (must… have… lip balm!) so the whole “sneak in a tampon” thing isn’t an issue — but I always worry about when I do need to go change it. Always.
  • My flow is incredibly heavy, especially for someone my size. During a good cycle, I can use about three extra supers on my heaviest day (that’s about 45ml,) but on most of my cycles, I go through seven. Think about that for a second — SEVEN extra super tampons, plus a few pads. That’s A LOT OF FLUID.
  • Seriously. Think about that for a second. I bleed like a medium-sized animal being drained for– I should stop talking.
  • The point is, if I can use something that doesn’t mean having to change a tampon every hour and a half, I’m so in.

Still interested?
That’s good, because I’ll be posting more about them shortly, with a few reviews and thoughts. This post isn’t going up real-time, don’t come crying to me about why I’ve been oh-so-bitchy recently (that’s just my winning personality,) but as I write this, I’ve just finished using cups for my (entire!) period. And you know what?


…I loved it!

A great resource for information on menstrual cups that I’ve recently stumbled accross is the livejournal page of the not so creatively named “Menstrual Cups” community. So maybe the name is a snoozefest, but I kid you not: this page is likely the most helpful page you’ll ever come across, relating to cups!

Would you ever think about trying a menstrual cup? Have you already? Let us know in the comments!

all images credit the sites they link back to. honestly, these three were chosen at random, and there are many many others! they just happened to have the types of images I was looking for. 
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3 Responses to “TMI Time: an introduction to cups that go "down there"”

  1. Our comments were lost for this during the move to our new url (which breaks my heart). However, I took a number of screenshots of them before then and turned it into one big, long screen, so you can still read them if you're interested!

    Read the comments here.

  2. Nice blog! Except for one fun fact: you don’t actually need to sanitize a reusable cup every time you reinsert it. A quick rinse is enough, and if you can’t do even that on occasion, well, that’s fine too.
    Apart from that: thumbs up!

  3. [...] Our intro to cups {here}. [...]