Menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular for their health, environmental and economical benefits. Here are the most commonly asked questions and their answers.
- What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a soft, flexible cup that is worn internally, collecting menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it like a tampon. It is reusable, safe and comfortable.
- How do I know what size/brand of menstrual cup to get?
The size and type of menstrual cup you need will depend on factors like your age, lifestyle and whether you have delivered a baby vaginally. Most menstrual cup brands will have a basic guide to help you find the right size. In addition, we at Lady Matters will help you find the perfect cup through a free personal consult, so be sure to get in touch!
- Should I try a cheaper menstrual cup to see if it will work for me before investing in a better quality product?
We strongly recommend that you do not buy a ‘cheapie’. There is a reason some are cheaper than others. Cheapies are often made of dangerous and/or low quality materials with inadequate design. They may cause irritation, leaking or just not fit right and will not be a true representation of what a good quality cup will feel like. We recommend that you stick to reputable brands that use FDA approved materials.
- Do menstrual cups leak?
A properly inserted menstrual cup that is the correct size for your body will not leak. The correct cup will also be very comfortable; you should not be able to feel it.
- Can I do sports/swimming while wearing a menstrual cup?
Absolutely! Menstrual cups are ideal for active women. It is important to get the correct firmness cup if you are very active.
- How do I insert/remove my cup?
Most good brands will come with a full instructional leaflet explaining how to insert/remove your cup safely and comfortably. There are several ways to fold your cup for insertion. While there is often an initial learning curve involved, once you find your preferred method, insertion is easy and can be done in seconds.
- How long can I wear a menstrual cup before having to empty it?
Menstrual cups can be worn for up to twelve consecutive hours, but if you are prone to heavy flow, you may need to empty it more frequently. Menstrual cups can generally hold a lot more fluid than a tampon, but capacity varies between brands.
- How long do menstrual cups last?
Good quality and well cared for cups can last up to 10 years. Another good reason to invest in good quality. Just think of all the money you save over a period of 10 years by not purchasing disposable products!
- Are menstrual cups hygienic and safe? How do you clean them?
Yes, they are much safer than tampons and other chemical laden disposable products. The materials used to make menstrual cups do not absorb bacteria, so the risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is virtually non-existent. Your menstrual cup should be rinsed with warm water and natural, fragrance free soap when you empty it. After each cycle you need to sterilize your cup. The most popular method of sterilizing is by boiling. This can be done either over the stove or in the microwave using a sterilizer cup.
- What are menstrual cups made of?
Most good quality menstrual cups on the market are made of medical grade silicone. There are also cups made from latex, and Me Luna cups are uniquely made from TPE (medical compliant thermoplastic elastomer). Both TPE and medical grade silicone are hypoallergenic and will not cause irritation or allergies, but we still recommend that you stick to cups made from FDA approved materials. People that are sensitive and prone to allergies should stay away from latex cups. Colored cups made from FDA approved materials are also perfectly safe.
- What are the advantages of using a cup made from TPE?
The Me Luna brand menstrual cups is unique to others in that it is the only cup made from TPE (medical compliant thermoplastic elastomer). This material is a product from Germany. It differs from silicone in that it reacts to the warmth of your body, and then softens and moulds to your unique shape. It has FDA approval and is hypoallergenic. It is also free from phthalates, silicone, latex, pvc and dangerous plasticisers. TPE’s tactile properties are different to silicone. It feels smooth, dry and not sticky. This material’s unique ability to mould to the shape of your body means your cup may not be perfectly round after you have used it for a while. Boiling the cup for sterilization will restore it to it’s perfectly round shape, ready for the next use.
- Can I use a cup postpartum?
No, as with tampons, menstrual cups should not be used postpartum. The body needs time to heal after giving birth (whether vaginally or via C-section) and menstrual cups should only be used for menstrual bleeding.
- Can teenagers use menstrual cups?
Absolutely! As long as she is comfortable with using products internally, menstrual cups are a great solution for teen girls. There are brands that make very small cups, especially for young, active teens.
- I have a low cervix, can I use a menstrual cup?
Yes, you will need to find a menstrual cup designed especially for a low cervix. These cups are shorter than most others.
- Can a menstrual cup get ‘lost’ up there?
No, a menstrual cup can only go as far as your cervix. If you have a high cervix, it means your cup can creep up quite far. This is totally normal and not something to worry about. In the unlikely event that you can’t feel your cup when you reach for it, you can bear down or try squatting and this should naturally push the cup down so you can reach for the stem. If this is a big worry for you, Me Luna makes a cup with a ring grip at the bottom. The ring grip helps for easier removal and you can tie a cotton string to it at first (similar to a tampon) until you are more comfortable with the idea of an internal product.
- How do I deal with a menstrual cup in public restrooms?
Emptying your menstrual cup in a public restroom is not difficult at all. If there is access to a stall with a basin to rinse your cup that is the ideal option. If not, you can either carry a water bottle to rinse your cup or use hypoallergenic wet wipes to wipe your cup clean. Just be sure to give it a good rinse the next time you are able to.
Lady Matters stocks the Me Luna range of menstrual cups in South Africa. We chose this brand as it is one of the top rated brands currently available worldwide. It is made from unique, high quality materials and offers the largest range in colours, sizes and shapes. We believe there is a Me Luna to suit every menstruating person regardless of age and lifestyle.
Do you have other burning questions about menstrual cups? Please post them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them for you.