The go to solution for most women to secure their menstrual flow is using a sanitary pad or a tampon. After ages of believing in various absurd myths and using unfit materials like cloth, paper or plastic, we came down to a safe and secure sanitary pad that helps women comfortably conduct daily activities. Eventually, tampons made their way as a more convenient and comfortable solution. What is noticed today is that every single pad and tampon disposed is contributing majorly to hazardous waste. They are considered unsustainable waste in copious amounts as they are made of non-biodegradable materials like plastic.
What Are Menstrual Cups?
When this environmental hazard was realised, loads of companies started investing in developing a more eco-friendly menstrual product. This was where the idea of a menstrual cup was developed, a reusable feminine hygiene product that is not only more comfortable and durable but also more pro-health and vagina friendly. It's true that most women still are not familiar with the menstrual cup because it seems a little foreign, unfamiliar and risky.
The cup is a small, flexible funnel-shaped item that is made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to catch and collect menstrual fluid. This period cup can hold more blood than other methods like reusable pads, leading many women to use them as an eco-friendly alternative to tampons. Depending on the extent of the flow of your menstrual blood, you can even wear a cup for up to 12 hours, unlike a pad or tampon. Many such other innovative solutions to tap menstruation flow are coming about like period underwear, but as of now, menstrual cups are growing more in popularity with wider acceptance by women across the globe.
Why Use A Menstrual Cup?
1. These period cups are much more budget-friendly than other alternatives. It is a one-time investment for a reusable menstrual cup, unlike tampons or pads, which have to be continually bought and can cost more than ₹ 7,000 a year.
2. Menstrual cups are much safer. Because menstrual cups collect rather than absorb blood onto often risky materials like plastic, you are skipping any chances of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare bacterial infection associated with careless tampon use.
3. Menstrual cups have more capacity. One such cup can hold about one to two ounces of menstrual flow. Tampons, on the other hand, can only hold up to a third of an ounce, and sanitary pads even less.
4. They are eco-friendly. Reusable menstrual cups can last a longer time, which means you're contributing less unsustainable waste to the environment.
5. Surprisingly, you can have sex. Most reusable cups need to be taken out before you have sex, but the soft disposable ones can stay in while you get intimate. Not only will your partner not feel the cup, but you also won't have to worry about leaks.
6. You can wear a cup even if you have an IUD. Some companies claim a menstrual cup could dislodge an IUD, but a 2012 study Trusted Source debunked that belief. You can always check with your doctor about using a menstrual cup if you have any queries about its safety.
Read More: Can Cannabis Tampons Treat Period Pain?
How To Use A Menstrual Cup?
Although these cups are largely available in the market, Indian women may still not be familiar or using the menstrual cups, thanks to the stigma that revolves around periods. However, if you are interested in using a menstrual cup, the first step would be to talk with your gynaecologist. Even though you can easily buy any of the cups available online or in most stores, you will first have to find out what size you need. Most menstrual cup brands sell small, medium and large versions.
According to Healthline, to figure out the right menstrual cup size for you, you and your doctor should consider:
- your age
- length of your cervix
- whether or not you have a heavy flow
- firmness and flexibility of the cup
- cup capacity
- strength of your pelvic floor muscles
- if you've given birth vaginally
Smaller menstrual cups are usually recommended for women younger than 30 years old who have not given birth vaginally. Larger sizes are often recommended for women who are over 30 years old, have given birth vaginally, or have a significantly heavier period.
Before Inserting The Menstrual Cup
When you use a menstrual cup for the first time, it may feel uncomfortable. But greasing or lubricating your cup can help make the process smooth. Before you put in your cup, lubricate the rim with water or a water-based lubricant. A wet menstrual cup is much easier to insert and comfortable to wear.
How To Insert Your Menstrual Cup
It is relatively easy to insert a menstrual cup if you know how to wear a tampon. Follow these simple steps :
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Apply water or 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.
You shouldn't feel your menstrual cup if you've inserted the cup correctly. You should also be able to move, jump, sit, stand, and do other everyday activities without your cup falling out. If you're having trouble putting in your cup, speak with your doctor.
When And How To Take Your Menstrual Cup Out
You can wear a menstrual cup 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, just 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. Reusable menstrual cups are durable and can last for 6 months to 10 years with proper care. Throw away disposable cups after removal.
According to Cosmopolitan, Dr Allen, an ob-gyn in Atlanta says these cups can last up to 10 years. So it's probably not an exact 'lifetime investment' as you still have to throw it out at some point. As for cleaning, Dr Allen recommends sterilizing the cup between cycles using boiling water. Ob-gyn Sherry Ross, MD and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period, recommends using warm water and unscented soap in the same Cosmo article. Dr Ross suggests that you can also use a vinegar solution - one part vinegar, nine parts water, to clean your cup.
Both Dr Allen and Dr Sherry say the cups are safe to wear with IUDs. "Recent studies that have looked at IUD expulsion and menstrual cup use have been reassuring in that they have found no increase in the IUD expulsion rate between pads, tampons, and menstrual cups," said Dr Allen.
With menstrual cups becoming more and more popular, companies are also releasing new methods to clean and sterilize your menstrual cups, like the Pixie Cup Steamer. A few years ago, the most common way of sterilizing was boiling your cup or using pre-packaged cup cleaners that were sold by speciality brands, but today, you can find tons of these menstrual cup steamers on Amazon. You have to simply pour water into the unit, place your cup inside, and turn it on. These streaming devices tend to be faster than boiling, and you've got a bonus way of keeping your cup sterilization contained as opposed to having to mix it with your cooking pots and pans.
Best Menstrual Cups To Buy In 2020
1. Diva Cup
If you have done your research about the various menstrual cup brands available in the market, you most definitely must have come across the Diva Cup more than once. The most popular and widely used menstrual cup is really preferred by dozens of women all across the world. Of the over 7,000 high rating reviews, women express the comfort they were introduced to when they first used this cup. The Diva Cup like almost all cups is a reusable, bell-shaped one worn internally and sits low in the vaginal canal, that collects rather than absorbs your menstrual flow.
It is an environment friendly and economical option that considers your hygiene an utmost priority, thus contains no harmful chemicals or dyes and is made of 100% medical grade silicone. It guarantees no leakage and lasts up to 12 hours at a time, without any harmful side effects to your body. Although it comes in 2 sizes - Model 1 which is recommended for women under the age of 30 or have not vaginally given birth and the Model 2 which is generally for women over the age of 30 or have given birth. Unfortunately, only the Model 2 is available, but it is most definitely worth the purchase.
2. Sirona Cup
Sirona Menstrual cups available in 3 sizes are made of ultra-soft material that offers long-lasting period care and leaves no room for any irritation, menstrual odour, itching, rashes or dryness that is usually caused by sanitary pads. Wearing this, women can enjoy secure, comfortable, leak-free protection for up to as long as 10 hours. The leak-proof design makes the cup flexible and the spill-proof rim fits your body's curves ensuring complete, mess-free protection. Made from 100% medical-grade silicone, the cups are reusable making them not only cost-effective but also a zero wastage product. A single cup can last up to 15 years.
The small, medium and large-sized menstrual cups are categorised for women with different built, belonging to different age groups and who have or have not given birth. It is also a great pick for beginners and teenagers. It is an FDA approved, skin-friendly and free from SVHC (Substances of Very High Concern) female hygiene product. Made from 100% medical-grade silicone, the cups are reusable and are thus budget as well as eco friendly. Although it is recommended to replace it every 3-5 years depending on the water quality in your area, this softer cup is highly recommended for all.
3.Bodybay Menstrual Cup
Bodybay claims to be the most somatological menstrual cup on the market, that is designed adhering to somatological principles to match your body comfort. During periods, you may need to use many sanitary napkins, but you get to spend less with this pack of 2 menstrual cup packages. The highly-rated and widely used cup is a 100% hygienic and safe for use. It uses imported silicone, and every step of production is thoroughly checked to make sure safety. Again it is viable for use for up to 12 hours, making it a very efficient time-efficient option. The brand keeps every menstrual cup user's comfort in mind and says that the user will feel nothing with it whether you go dancing, swimming or running. It is easy to clean, durable and leaks proof and comes in small and large sizes. It is a highly recommended pick on the list of the best cups available online.
4. Pee Safe Menstrual Cups
With a manufacturing facility that is germ free and sterilized, Pee Safe has quickly become one of the most recognized names in the menstrual cup landscape. The brand promises that once you buy the cup, you don't have to think about it for the next 5 years as it is a safe, durable and hygienic product. You can wear a cup during the day and even when you are sleeping. It ensures every user that it is leak-proof and extremely comfortable. It keeps you safe from rashes or infection. The cup is FDA approved, made of 100% Medical Grade Silicone, which means it's free of latex, BPA and any harmful toxins that come with harmful materials. It has gone through extensive testing to make it safe. As a highly practical, budget-friendly and sustainable option, the cup is reusable and can be recycled ensuring no harm to the planet. To ensure every user ultimate protection, it contains no chemicals, is fragrance-free and extremely safe to be worn inside your body. It comes in the sizes of Extra Small, Small and Large to cater to every kind of body.
The soft and flexible Safecup, with its proprietary bulb shape makes it the easiest cup to insert and open, ensuring a seal so comfy that you forget it's there. It is a strong contender in the menstrual cups market with its top ratings and great reviews from several women. The firm cup is made from 100% platinum cured, soft medical grade silicone that ensures protection from infections, rash and any kind of spillage or leakage. It is an FDA approved product that ensures a good fit. Their rim is specially designed for a good grip, and their stem is again a unique design and has no added dye to change the colour of the silicone. It uses no rubber or plastic and comes with a quality hygiene pouch case, instruction guide and easily lasts up to 15 years of regular use! It is very versatile as you can use it anywhere, from swimming to hiking or just sleeping comfortably overnight. The Safecup will need to be changed twice on the light days and maybe 4 times a day on the heavy menstrual days, depending on your individual menstrual flow. The soft and flexible product that is available online in 3 sizes, ensures all cup users to invest in an eco friendly option that goes light on your pocket as well!
Sanfe, with its super convenient fitting, fluffy-soft material, and super gentle menstrual cups are one of the best picks for beginners. Cup users have to no more missing school, college, trips, important events, or meetings because of a heavy flow and period discomforts, as this cup is here to offer you comfort and long term care. As per the flow of every woman, the cups are available in 3 sizes-small, medium and large. Sanfe menstrual cups guarantee straight 10 hours protection and freedom so that you don't miss out on any physical activity, duties or fun during your period. It leaves no residual fibres. The reusable cup can hold more blood than any other conventional alternatives and are designed for long-term use and can be reused for up to 10 years, which can help you save a lot of money. Made with 100% reusable flexible medical grade silicone, approved by experts, the Sanfe cups come with a breathable cotton pouch to ensure regular airflow when stored and a proper instruction manual to guide you step-by-step on how to use a menstrual cup. The affordable cup is available online abundantly.
7. Gaaia Menstrual Cup
One of the smallest menstrual cups available and a first in India, the Gaaia - Sensitive was developed specifically for users with more sensitive anatomies like petite women and teenagers. The sensitive, reusable cup is great for beginners who are just getting acquainted with their menstruation cycle. The soft silicone cup worn internally like a tampon, collects rather than absorbs your period, with a capacity as good as 3 pads. You will find that the cup offers 12 hours of protection which is skin friendly as it has no plastic, chemicals or any toxic substances. The FDA approved Gaaia cups are durable, reusable and very eco friendly which are available in extra small, small and large sizes. With its superb ratings and reviews, this is a sustainable choice for every beginner cup user, at such affordable rates.
8. Smart Cup
Smart Cup with its soft, comfortable fit and non toxic material is a prime option for women who are ardent athletes or fitness freaks. When it is that time of the month, exercising can be pretty strenuous thanks to all the pain and heavy flow. But what can be worse is when you have to exercise with a pad with its harsh material that constantly chafes against your skin causing troubling rashes or tampons that cause infections. This Smart Cup period cup is recommended for all women who want to freely and comfortably workout while they have their period. The cup is designed in a way to adjust to your body's movement as you run, dance or even swim! It adjusts and keeps up with any rigorous movements while indulging in physical activities. Made from 100% reusable flexible medical grade silicone, the same with which a baby's pacifier is made, the cup is FDA approved and ensures to last every user for up to 5+ years. The cup can be used for 12 hours each time before a change, depending on your flow. It ensures no leakage and avoids any toxins from entering your private parts, unlike pads or tampons. Available in small, medium and large sizes, this cup is widely used and recommended by many women.
9. Namyaa Menstrual Cup
Made of 100% Medical Grade Silicon that is absolutely free from BPA, Latex and any kind of harmful toxins, the Namyaa cups are another potential lon wear option available online. The reusable, bell shaped menstrual cup helps collect your menstrual blood and needs to be inserted like a tampon which works as a healthier, safer and a better alternative to pads and tampons. It sits comfortably inside and can be worn for 12 consecutive hours that helps you stay active and comfortable during your periods as you run, dance, swim, exercise or attend that exciting date or get a peaceful nap for the matter. This cup makes for an economical option as this ultra soft cup lasts for years and is here to offer you complete protection along with an odorless and rash free period every month. The material of it is sensitive to your skin and adjusts to your movements as you comfortably go on with your daily chores and routine. Its three sizes - small, medium and large, cater to all kinds of bodies at such a cost friendly rate.
10. i-activ Menstrual Cup
A renowned brand in India, Piramal has come up with i-activ menstrual cups that are super flexible and ultra soft. Made of 100% Medical Grade Liquid Silicone, it is FDA approved and ensures protection for up to 8 to 10 hours till the next change. This rash free, leak free and odourless cup is a great pick for young teenagers as well as adults, as it comes in versatile sizes like medium and large depending on the flow, age and birth cycle of women. This cup is great to be used not only while taking part in physical activities like cycling, running, dancing or swimming but also during a peaceful sleep at night, without any spillage. It is another very eco friendly choice, like the ones on this list, available online with a protective jute bag at extremely budget friendly rates.
11. Zoei Menstrual Cup
The modern hygiene product is another attractive alternative amongst the other feminine hygiene products as it gives you 8 hour wear time as well as extreme comfort and convenience during your period. Made with 100 % medical grade silicone, this reusable menstrual cup has the amazing flexible quality and with proper care and good cleansing, provides protection for up to 8 to 10 hours. It has an air tight seal formed by the insertion of the menstrual cup that effectively helps to manage the unpleasant odour often released by pads or tampons. It helps to manage the menstrual fluid from exposure to air or any other potential bacteria or infections, thereby managing the foul odour and safeguarding your body from the growth of germs or infectious diseases. These menstrual cups are leakage proof as they are made of quality material which makes it very flexible to fit perfectly and collect the fluid without spillage. It leaves no residual fibres and thus prevents any toxins or chemicals from entering your vaginal canal, comes with an interior marking on the cup to measure the fill and also stems with rings for easy removal. It comes in the sizes medium and large that depend on your body's general or heavy flow respectively. This brand is another great pick amongst the effective, protective and cost efficient cups available online.
12. GynoCup Menstrual Cup
GynoCup claims to be your most reliable friend during your periods, and I have to strongly agree. With its hygienic, safe and easy to use design, every user can be ensured the best care during their menstruation. It guarantees no menstrual odour, no irritation, no dryness, minimise discomfort, and free from itching and rashes that are usually caused by sanitary napkins. Available in three sizes depending on whether you have vaginally given birth and your age, it covers the heaviest to the lightest flow to cater to all kinds of women in the country. Its flexibility and soft wear ensure long-lasting durability which enables you to lives even your period days to the fullest. It efficiently provides up to 12 hours of the leak and spill-proof protection. This flexible cup can be worn during any kind of physical activities and even for an overnight sleep. It is an ideal menstrual aid for all kinds of sports, travelling, swimming, cycling, diving, trekking, dancing, climbing or common daily usage. It has no wings or strings and leaves no residual fibres. Its designs don’t allow any kind of toxins and chemicals to enter your body as well. With a surplus of features, this cup is highly recommended, especially with its affordable rates.
13. Silky Cup
The reusable menstrual Silky Cup is an ideal menstrual aid for all kinds of sports, travelling, swimming, cycling, diving, trekking, caving, dancing, climbing or even common daily usage. This long-wear, durable cup is expected to last you up to 10 years, if maintained correctly with utmost care and cleanliness. It ensures 12 hours of leak-free protection that is comfortable, clean, and easy to use for all its users. This well-reputed feminine hygiene product is made from Thermoplastic Elastomer 100% medical-grade material that has proven its quality and durability on all tests. You almost cannot feel the Silky Cup while you are wearing it, and can easily be worn overnight. It makes sure to and does not cause irritation or dryness, and is non-allergenic and non-toxic to the skin. The cup is smooth to insert and remove and is ideal for women of all shapes and sizes, leaving no residual fibres. The cup is designed to create a seal inside to experience a completely leak-free period without suction holes designed for a higher capacity. This one time affordable purchase covers heaviest to lightest flow in its small, medium and large sizes, making period care easy, safe and comfortable.