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What You Need To Know About Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups may look a little different to your regular pads and tampons, but I can assure you once you start using these you'll never go back! In this blog I've put together a guide to the best natural Menstrual Cups and how to choose the best Menstrual Cup for you.
Periods are a fact of life, and in Australia we are so lucky to have so many options when it comes to getting through that frustrating time of the month. However, many of these options have a high environmental impact. This is where Menstrual Cups come in! An environmentally friendly alternative to disposable pads and tampons, Menstrual Cups in Australia are a serious game changer when it comes to making your period more bearable and planet-friendly. Easy to use, cost-effective and completely eco-friendly, once you try one you'll wonder why you didn't join the club sooner!
What is a Menstrual Cup?
Menstrual Cups are a reusable alternative to tampons, made from flexible, medical grade silicone that can last for up to 10 years. Tampons, in comparison, are made from soft, disposable materials such as Cotton and must be thrown out after each use. While certified organic and biodegradable tampons are much better for our bodies and the environment than mainstream alternatives, they can still create a lot of unnecessary waste. A reusable Menstrual Cup can be used as period protection in place of tampons or pads over and over, and can simply be emptied and cleaned after each use.
Benefits of menstrual cups
Even with organic period products, think about how many pads or tampons you use during your cycle and how much waste you throw in the rubbish each time - including packaging, wrappers, applicators and more. A Menstrual cup is reusable, so by using one you're seriously cutting down your landfill contribution, plus you're not having to fork out for sanitary items every four weeks. Using a Menstrual cup can reduce the waste produced by your cycle to just the packaging of a Menstrual cup approximately once every ten years.
Unlike pads and tampons, which can sometimes provide limited options in the face of a heavy period, Menstrual cups are a wonderful option for women with a heavier flow. As a Menstrual cup can be worn for up to 8 hours, unlike tampons which need to be changed every few hours, and is also completely leak-free, you can go about your day with peace of mind. You can even wear them during vigorous exercise or a yoga class! Even better, they're also much lighter on your wallet. The price of a period can add up - Australian women can actually spend up to $200 per year on pads and tampons.1 On average, women can have periods for 38 years, meaning we can spend over $7,500 over a lifetime, and that's not even including chocolate! By opting for a reusable Menstrual Cup you could save yourself thousands of dollars.
How to use a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual Cups come in different sizes, so I get so many questions from women who are unsure of which one to choose. As Menstrual cups work by creating a gentle seal, finding the right size is an important step to successful Menstrual cup use. While it might come down to simply whether or not you've had a vaginal birth, some are made for the height of your cervix. So how do you measure the length of your vaginal canal?
Wash your hands then insert your index finger into your vagina to locate your cervix. Your cervix is a bump, which feels a bit like the end of your nose, but is shaped like a donut. If you feel your cervix sitting just inside the vaginal opening or when you have only inserted the tip of your finger up to the bend in your finger just below your fingernail, you most likely have a low cervix. If you are unable to reach your cervix or need to insert your finger past the middle bend in your finger before you can feel your cervix, you probably have a high cervix. Once you've found the right size, fold and insert your Menstrual Cup into the vagina, where it opens to create a secure seal to collect menstrual fluid. When full, gently remove, empty and rinse your cup, and re-insert as needed.
Natural menstrual cups
JuJu Menstrual Cup Model 1
Ideal for women under 30 who have not given birth vaginally, the JuJu Menstrual Cup Model 1 is a smaller size. Recently updated, the new model now features improved grip at the base of the cup for easy removal. The stem can even be trimmed for those who prefer a shorter stem. Hypoallergenic and easy to use, the cup can be folded and inserted, where it opens to create a secure seal. After use, just empty, rinse and thoroughly clean.
JuJu Menstrual Cup Model 2
The JuJu Menstrual Model 2 is great for women who over 30 or those who have had a vaginal birth. Leak and odour-free, this larger model also includes an improved grip at the base with trimmable stem. Perfect for busy mums, it's comfortable, convenient, discreet and reliable, and can be worn for up to 8 hours, even during exercise classes, swimming and overnight. For those with a high cervix, the JuJu Menstrual Cup Model 3 is ideal, while a low cervix suits the Model 4.
Lunette Menstrual Cup Clear
Available in Clear, Blue, Coral and Purple colours as well as two different sizes, the Lunette Menstrual Cup Clear is also made from 100% medical-grade silicone and is hypoallergenic, odourless and designed to last from 5 to 10 years. It will not affect the natural lubricating ability of the vagina, only needs to be emptied 2 to 4 times a day, and can be used overnight or while playing sport. With a smooth lining, it's easy to clean and even features measuring lines to help you monitor your flow. Safe for use with both an IUD and a contraceptive ring, Model 1 is made from slightly softer silicone and is suitable for younger users and women with a light to average flow, a low-sitting cervix, strong vaginal muscles and a sensitive bladder. Model 2 is ideal for women with a heavier flow, who are pregnant or have children, have a high cervix. Lunette also work with local and international organisations to provide Menstrual Cups and education about sanitary protection to girls in Kenya and West Africa.
With two different sizes, the DivaCup Model 1 and Model 2 are ultra-flexible, made from high grade surgical silicone that has been used in healthcare for over 50 years. Free from latex, plastic, PVC, acrylic, acrylate, BPA, phthalate, elastomer, polyethylene, and colours and dyes, these biocompatible cups offer up to 12 hours of leak-free protection, with extra-grip ridges for easy removal. According to DivaCup, forms of Menstrual Cups have actually been around since the 1930s - when women needed alternatives to conventional period protection due to tough times. The DivaCup Model 1 is perfect for women under 30 and/or those who have not given birth, while Model 2 is specially designed for women who have given birth either vaginally or by caesarian.
Lunette Feelbetter Cupwash
Keeping your Menstrual Cup clean is a really important step in maintaining hygiene and using Menstrual cups safely. With the specially formulated Lunette Feelbetter Cupwash, developed to deeply clean and sanitise silicone cups, you can keep your Menstrual cup clean without damaging the silicone. A mild, Vegan formula with a water base, this liquid wash is lightly scented with cleansing Lemon and Eucalyptus Essential Oils and has been tested to ensure little to no irritation, even for those with allergies. To use, carefully wash your Menstrual Cup using only a small amount of Cupwash, then rinse thoroughly to ensure all traces are removed.
Specially designed to clean and protect silicone Menstrual Cups, the DivaCup DivaWash is a plant-based formula that is gentle, pH balanced and totally fragrance free. Also ideal for use as a body wash, this concentrated formula is suitable for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin, working to deeply cleanse without drying out the skin.
Lunette Disinfecting Wipes
For quick and easy disinfecting, the Lunette Disinfecting Wipes are a really handy option for sanitising your menstrual cup when you're out and about and need to be discreet. Convenient for camping or travelling, they're made from biodegradable viscose material which can be flushed down the toilet if there is no sanitary bin available, or even thrown into the compost where it will break down in less than 6 weeks. Please note that the disinfecting wipes are specifically designed to clean the Lunette Menstrual Cup and are not suitable to be used for personal hygiene.
Source: 1The Switch Report.
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