Women have been on the go for centuries, so the question of how to deal with menstrual flow has been addressed as far back as ancient Egypt, where strips of papyrus were soaked and rolled into crude tampons. In ancient Greece, tampons were fashioned by wrapping tufts of lint around thin wooden sticks, and Roman women of that time used tufts of soft wool. Animal skin, grass, paper and moss were also used by women from different parts of the world to address the issue prior to the advent of pads, tampons and menstrual cups.
The idea of delayed menstrual flow disposal came about in the 1800s. Prototypes of various receptacles included the catamenial sack, an example of which was Farr’s Improved Menstrual Receptacle, which featured an insertable cup and a larger receptacle that was cradled in a lady’s undergarments. It also featured a removable cap to conveniently empty menstrual flow without removing the inserted cup. Later, fully internal receptacles were developed, but due to the overall conservative way of thinking at the time, the idea of insertable menstrual cups never really got off the ground.
In the early 1900s, menstrual cups climbed to new heights with the patent of a bell-shaped menstrual cup by McGlasson and Perkins, an American midwifery group. American actress Leona Chalmers also patented her latex rubber menstrual cup with the claim that, "uncomfortableness or consciousness of its presence," would be done away with and that women could now wear "thin, light, close fitting clothing" without visible belts, buckles or pins.
Although the idea was ingenious, the menstrual cup still failed to gain popularity despite numerous design and concept changes by various companies. By-and-large, women were still scandalised by the idea of insertion. Neither were they keen on having to deal with their menus. Additionally, it was at this time that tampon and sanitary pad manufacturers started aggressively promoting their disposable products as convenient and hygienic. Finally, some women suffered from uncomfortable latex allergies, which put them off inserting latex into their bodies.
Finally, at the beginning of the 21st century, the MoonCup company released the first ever medical grade silicone menstrual cup. Hypoallergenic and durable, medical grade silicone eliminated the latex allergy problem as well as the problem of discolouration, and the MoonCup helped to capitulate the menstrual cup concept into the mainstream market. Although medical grade silicone menstrual cups are now the most popular of their kind, rubber and thermoplastic elastomer cups also lend a plethora of choice to the environmentally conscious lady.
Since the advent of the modern menstrual cup, more and more women are realising their great benefits. On the health front, menstrual cups eliminate the threat of Toxic Shock Syndrome, a life-threatening bacterial infection that is caused by fibres shed by tampons that have been left in for too long. Other health benefits of menstrual cups are that they do not draw out excess fluids that are actually meant to cleanse the vaginal area, nor do they strip the vaginal wall lining, which opens up the chance for disease. Best of all, they are chemical-free and won’t trigger a rash.
Women have also enjoyed the financial benefits of using menstrual cups. While some companies recommend swapping out their products annually, many cups can last up to 10 years if taken care of, which means the initial steep outlay for a cup is repaid within a few months.
Perhaps the most convincing benefit that has prompted women to convert to menstrual cups is their convenience. Menstrual cups hold up to five times the amount of liquid that tampons or pads can. This means that women can leave their cups in for around 12 hours without having to worry about leakage or health issues. In fact, the chance of leakage is so low that that is a deciding factor in itself. Not having to carry around tampons or pads and being able to sleep through without worry of leakage are also points in favour of menstrual cups.
Finally, once women have overcome the initial mental blockage of dealing with their own bodily fluids, it has become a pleasure for many to learn about how their own bodies work. Knowing more about their mysterious monthly visitor has empowered many women and given them confidence.
Originating in Germany, The MeLuna Company is a respected and trusted lady product manufacturer in Europe. Boasting an extensive range of products including menstrual cups, cup cleaning accessories and family planning products, the company was recently given the stamp of approval to sell its products in the US, a mark of its products’ safety and effectiveness. Elsewhere in the world, the company’s products have already been lauded for their quality and affordability, and the company has gained a name for itself for its efforts in providing thoughtful products to keep ladies as comfortable and safe as possible.
In 2002, Su Hardy realised her mission to supply women with an eco-friendly, safe and high-quality alternative to disposable menstrual products. She started the Mooncup Ltd. Company from her home and The Moon Cup, the first ever commercially produced menstrual cup, was born. After the well-known UK pharmacy Boots picked the Moon Cup up, the phenomenon was sealed in the public’s consciousness and now the company is still a forerunner in the cause of saving the environment. So much so, in fact, that the Mooncup Ltd. Company is the only menstrual cup manufacturer to be awarded an ‘ethical business’ certification.
A Czech company monitored by European standards, The LadyCup Company opened it’s doors in 2010 and has grown from strength to strength. Alongside its highly popular LadyCup menstrual cup, it now offers a wide range of feminine hygiene products like the LadyP, facial wipes, feminine wipes, cloth menstrual pads, sterilization tablets, lubrication gel and antibacterial gel. The company recently launched ‘LadyTeen’ a sister website targeted towards young adults, too, and is continuing in its quest to educate ladies about the benefits of reusable menstrual products.
MeLuna understands that no two women have the same needs and that’s why they have the largest variety of sizes, lengths, colours and firmness options, as well as handle options. Ladies are sure to find the perfect fit for their needs! The only menstrual cups to be made of thermoplastic elastomer, MeLuna cups are smoother, drier and softer than others and contain no bleach, deodorizers or absorbent gels, nor do they contain silicone, alkylphenols, proteins, latex, or PVC, making them ideal for hypersensitive ladies.
The Moon Cup was the original medical grade silicone menstrual cup and it has stood the test of time to still be one of the most beloved feminine hygiene products on the market! Designed to fit most ladies, it is fuss-free and easy to insert and remove thanks to its comfortable width and grip and long stem. Even menstrual cup newbies aren’t overwhelmed! The simplicity of only choosing between 2 sizes has also helped the Moon Cup continue to be the menstrual cup of choice for decades along with it’s anti-allergy guarantee and competitive pricing.
Every lady loves pretty things and The LadyCup caters to this love by offering 13 brightly coloured cups to choose from, along with matching printed 100% cotton storage bags. Made of medical grade silicone, it is pore-less and has no bumps or raised logos on which bacteria can collect, maintaining the natural pH environment of the vagina even after 12 hours of use. The softer silicone also makes for easier folding for easier insertion. With a 15-year lifetime, the Lady Cup is one of the best investments a lady can make.
HOW TO USE
Here are some information and videos made by our friends to help guide on how to use.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Most menstrual cups are designed to be inserted and removed in similar fashions. Be sure to clean and dry your fingers before insertion or removal.
Experiment around with positions until you find the most comfortable one for you to insert your menstrual cup. The most common positions are sitting, squatting, standing or kneeling.
Grip and gently press your menstrual cup with one hand.
Using the other hand, fold your cup into whichever fold you find most comfortable for insertion.
Grasp the folded cup as near the stem/handle as possible and position it so that the fold is facing the front, then insert it. Angle it slightly towards the back of the vagina. The cup should sit lower than a tampon would.
Once the cup is inserted, release your fingers to allow it to fully unfold. It should adhere to the vaginal walls. Check by using your fingers to find the circumference of the cup.
You should remove, empty and clean your menstrual cup at least once every 12 hours for optimal hygiene.
Sit, squat, stand or kneel.
Push your vaginal muscles a little to push the cup lower down, which will make it easier to grasp.
Grasp the stem and pull gently on it, then grasp as near the stem as possible with your fingertips and gently squeeze the cup to release the suction.
Pull the cup out gently and empty the contents.
If you are finding removal difficult, press the side of the cup away from your vaginal wall with a finger and then remove the cup.
Tips for the Uninitiated!
For the uninitiated, using a menstrual cup for the first time may be a bit daunting. We’ve looked around for some tips from the pros (long-time users) that will help ease you into easing into easing it in (and easing it out too!)
To make the first few insertions and removals as smooth as possible, use a water-based gel lubricant or water, in a pinch, especially for smaller sized girls or ladies.
Initially, try inserting in the squatting position as this opens up the vagina the best. Some women find standing, sitting or kneeling easier, however, so experiment around.
RELAX!!! Any tense muscles will make insertion more difficult. Experiment inserting on a non-menses day so you don’t feel the pressure to ‘get it done’. Bear in mind, however, that your cervix is generally lower during menses, and your vagina more lubricated, so if it is difficult to insert during your non-menses experiments, don’t give up!
When grasping your folded cup, grasp it lower down the cup so that some air remains at the top of the cup. This is to avoid creating an overly-strong vacuum when the cup opens up upon insertion.
Once you have inserted your cup, there are several ways to ensure it is properly seated:
Push down a little with your pelvic muscles.
Pull your cup out a little and re-insert it.
Grasp the bottom of the cup and try to twist it. If it is properly inserted, it should not turn.
If your menstrual cup has a stem, shortening it might make it more comfortable. Shorten the stem gradually, however, snipping off a little at a time until it feels right. If necessary, you may snip it off completely, but only do so if it continues to give you discomfort.
When you first start using your menstrual cup, empty it as often as you would change a pad or tampon so you can gauge your flow. From there, you can adjust how often you truly need to empty it.
Video credits to Popek Popek