What Is A Menstrual Cup?

July 31, 2009 at 3:36 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


NEWS:  I now sell menstrual cups at my new store:

www.zanashop.com

Or help provide a menstrual cup for someone in need, by donating to our FundRazr menstrual cup charity app, secure and PayPal-based through Facebook!  Share the app or the link to spread the word: 

http://goo.gl/vV3Gp

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Please join the new menstrual cup discussion community I created.  There are plenty of fun topics and categories there.  It is new, and just starting out, so we need all the new members we can get!  Hopefully it will soon become a favorite hang-out for many cup users! :

http://menstrualcups.friendhood.net

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A menstrual cup (in its most recently-used material) is the latest advancement in period protection, that is worn inside the vagina and collects your menstrual fluid (blood) instead of absorbing it– making it cleaner and more “green” alternative to tampons.  It is also cheaper in the long-run, and new brands are springing up all over the world!

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To describe it better– it is a soft and flexible bell-shaped cup; most are made out of medical grade silicone, and some are made of TPE (the material used to make catheters).  But don’t worry–  Its not the same kind of silicone used in breast implants.  This is a  different kind, which has been used as artificial heart valves in heart patients for the past 50 years.

First, the silicone starts out as a liquid, then it is heated to extremely high temperatures, and cooled into a flexible, rubber-like material, much like a baby bottle nipple.  Then the outside is specially cured to resist the growth and absorption of bacteria.

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They are reusable, so you only need one.  A cup may cost a bit more (usually around 30 dollars), but that’s because they can last for many years!  So in the end, they turn out to be less expensive than disposables.

The cups are worn until they are full, then they are removed, emptied, cleaned, and reinserted.

Now, when most women hear about a reusable menstrual product, they think,

“Is that safe?”

Absolutely!  Remember, the material has been used internally for decades.  And it has natural antibacterial properties.  So the cups are perfectly safe to clean and re-use, as recommended by the companies.  That is why they are so different, and remarkable!

Also, there are plenty of other things that are worn/inserted vaginally, but are also reusable– and the public has never had issues with them.  Things like diaphragms (which doctors actually prescribe), or “personal items” that adults/couples use.  So when you think about it, reusable and washable vaginal products are really quite normal.

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With a menstrual cup, you can have all the same benefits of tampons– but you’ll never run out of anything, the cost over time is lower, and menstrual cups have NOT been associated with TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).  The cups leave no traces of bleach, damaging rayon fibers, or dioxin, the way most tampons do.

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They can even be worn during sports, sleeping, swimming…  Anything you would do while wearing a tampon!  Another benefit they offer is a cleaner feeling, without the common odors during your period.

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But perhaps the biggest benefit, is that menstrual cups do not interfere with the chemical environment of the vagina.  They do not expose you to chemicals or fibers, and they do not dry you up inside.  They simply allow your body’s fluids to flow naturally, without disrupting your delicate ph levels.

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My Personal Feelings:

To start with, I will admit that I was not always such a big fan of menstrual cups.  In fact, I was a faithful tampon user until around January, 2009.  Through my own observation, I have noticed that many women go through several stages of reaction before deciding to switch to menstrual cups.  Even I myself went through this…

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First they might feel surprised, shocked, confused, curious, wary…  Many of them will completely reject the idea at first, because it is something new and unfamiliar, and that is often human nature to do so.  But eventually, curiosity drives them to find out more.  And the more they learn, the better the idea sounds.  Until finally, they take the plunge, and buy a cup.

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It’s true– and I’ll tell you, my own first thoughts were:  “Wouldn’t that spill if you tried to remove it?  Isn’t it a lot of hassle?  Is it safe?”

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Yes, I was one of the women who completely rejected it at first.  But after doing a lot of research and talking to women who have used them, I realized that it was a wonderful solution!  Also, the material holds its shape during removal, so with a little practice, its really not messy at all.

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Certainly not as much as a pad, and about the same as a tampon, often even less.  There are women who have been using even the earlier models, for 10 and 20 years!   Today, I own many brands, and I make videos about cups and their use for YouTube.  I LOVE  helping to educate women on these wonderful items.

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QUESTION:   “Ok, so…  If these things are so great, then how come I’ve never heard of them?  How come I’ve never seen them in a TV commercial, or on the store shelves?  How come every woman in the world isn’t aware of them?”

ANSWER:  Those are the most common questions I hear.  Honestly, the biggest reasons are because 1– In most cases, cups cannot be made in large factories, by the thousands.  They have to be made carefully, in a very clean (often surgery-quality) room.  The material and labor costs are a bit higher, which is why one cup ranges around 30 dollars, for most brands.

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2– The business of manufacturing and selling cups is mostly a labor of love.  Many of the companies are small, and lucky if they break even after the business loans, approval fees, and various other expenses.

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Menstrual cups last so long, the companies simply do not get the high numbers of repeat sales that the disposable product companies do.

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So they usually cannot afford the multi-thousand-dollar TV commercial ads, and publicity.  It is mainly up to the distributors’  internet sites, and word-of-mouth by faithful and adoring cup users, to spread the word.

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At first, many people are not aware of all this, and they assume that since cups are not all over TV and on every store shelf…  They must be a bad idea.   But one of my favorite examples to use is:

“We don’t see prosthetic limbs or pacemakers in commercials, or on every store shelf either.  But that doesn’t mean they are a bad idea…”

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I hope I have been able to help ease some the concerns and apprehension some of you out there may have about these wonderful products.  For some women (especially young girls), its difficult to stand in line at the grocery store, purchasing disposable products.  Particularly when there are boys or men in line behind you, or if the cashier is a man…  But for a cup user, All that is in the past.

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Cups really are amazing, and women who use them actually look forward to getting their period!  Particularly when they are waiting to try their new cup for the first time.

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And even after that, each time they empty their cup, they are reminded of how free they are from a life of disposables, and that they will never run out of  anything again.  When have women ever been able to say that before?

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The nature of these cups, along with the cute little storage pouches are giving us women exactly what we love to have– choices.   And with these choices, cups are more like fashion accessories, rather than sanitary products.  There is finally a period solution that women can keep– even grow to love!  And we cup users do.

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Over to the right under “pages”, you will find my reviews of brands that I own, with photos.  Also some helpful information on the brands that I do not own.  Thank you for visiting my blog, and have fun browsing!

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