Menstruation is a normal physiological occurrence in a female who has attained puberty and has grown to become a woman.
Our great-grandmothers used clean pieces of cloth to collect their menstrual blood, our grandmothers did so too, some of our mothers began to use sanitary towels and sanitary pads which we grew up to meet, tampons are in use too. Now, we have the menstrual Cup as a new innovation.
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that is inserted into the vagina to catch and collect menstrual fluid.
It is said to hold more blood than other collecting methods and can last for 12 hours before it is changed.
Some are reusable while others are to be disposed after each use.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE USING A MENSTRUAL CUP
* Length of the Cervix
* Heavy or light flow
* Cup capacity
* Cup flexibility
* Previous history of vaginal birth(smaller sizes for women who haven’t delivered vaginally and larger sizes for women with history of vaginal delivery).
STEPS TO USE A MENSTRUAL CUP
• Wash your hands thoroughly.
• Apply water or a water-based lube to the rim of the cup.
• Tightly fold the menstrual cup in half, holding it in one hand with the rim facing up.
• Insert the cup, rim up, into your vagina like you would a tampon without an applicator. It should sit a few inches below your cervix.
• Once the cup is in your vagina, rotate it. It will spring open to create an airtight seal that stops leaks.
A menstrual cup can be used for 6 to 12 hours, depending on whether or not you have a heavy flow. This means you can use a cup for overnight protection.
You should always remove your menstrual cup by the 12-hour mark. If it becomes full before then, you’ll have to empty it ahead of schedule to avoid leaks.
To take out a menstrual cup, follow these steps:
• Wash your hands thoroughly.
• Place your index finger and thumb into your vagina. Pull the stem of the cup gently until you can reach the base.
• Pinch the base to release the seal and pull down to remove the cup.
• Once it’s out, empty the cup into the sink or toilet.
Reusable menstrual cups should be washed and wiped clean before being reinserted into your vagina. Your cup should be emptied at least twice a day.
They are durable and can last for 6 months to 10 years with proper care. Throw away disposable cups after removal.
ADVANTAGES OF A MENSTRUAL CUP
They are: affordable, safe, hold more blood than pads or tampons, better for the environment than pads or tampons, can’t be felt during sex (some brands), can be worn with an IUD.
DISADVANTAGES OF A MENSTRUAL CUP
It can be messy, may be hard to insert or remove, may be tough to find the right fit, may cause an allergic reaction and may cause vaginal irritation.
Menstrual cups are becoming popular as alternatives to traditional sanitary products.
Reusable ones are just as safe, eco-friendly and cost-effective and may be a game changer for women around the world.