Menstrual cup…yes, that’s right! The menstrual CUP. Now you may or may not have heard of them, but they are eco-friendly, feminine hygiene products that you can use in the place of tampons or pads. They are typically made of silicone and are typically ~5-6 cm long (including the stem).
So why would you even consider using a menstrual cup? Some of the pros are that you can wear them for 10-12 hours, without worrying about leakage or bacteria that could lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome. They are reusable, you wash them 2-3x a day, and according to a distributor’s websites they can last from 1-3 years, saving you money on feminine hygiene products. They typically run $20-30 per cup. It softens with body heat so it is meant to form to your body, allowing people who have difficulty inserting tampons use something besides pads.
What are the cons? For one thing, taking them out the first time seems to be the hardest part about using the menstrual cup. It stays inside the vagina by placing light suction and pressure on the vaginal walls. It is meant to be taken out easily, but from some of the blog posts I have read online, this is sometimes not the case. Some women are bearing down to remove the cup and this is something that, we as physical therapists would like you to avoid! This puts stress and strain on the pelvic floor muscles as well as surrounding ligaments and fascia that support your pelvic organs. In order to avoid bearing down, it is suggested to break the seal before removal. A suggestion from Divacup.com is that the cup may be too high if you are having a hard time removing it. Not everyone has trouble using the menstrual cup, but it is something that seems to require practice.
There are many different types of menstrual cups. Diva, MeLuna, MoonCup and LadyCup are all popular brands that you can find online. Most of these have 2 different sizes, one meant for women who have not had children, and one meant for women who have. MeLuna has several different sizes and a way to calculate what size you should wear online. However, just because you have had a child, doesn’t mean the larger size is the one for you! It depends on the condition of your pelvic floor muscles. Talk to your pelvic floor physical therapist and ask if the menstrual cup is right for you and how to use it.