Ok. So where the @#$! have I been?
Until recently, as in 6mo or so ago, I had never so much as heard of a menstrual cup! I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this, being an OB/GYN and all……Then I had a patient here, a patient there that would mention them and how FABULOUS they were. I even had a recent question submitted to the Ask Dr. Angela podcast regarding peri-menopausal bleeding and the woman submitting the question RAVED about her menstrual cup.
NEVER wanting to be out of the loop, I started asking A LOT of questions and doing a little research. This is what I found out and thought YOU might need to know:
Menstual cups have been around FOREVER!!!! A midwifery group patented a version of the menstrual cup in 1932!
There are two types of menstrual cups: a bell-shaped cup made of latex, silicone, or a material known as TPE(thermoplastic elastomer). The second sorta puts you in the mindset of a diaphragm. Remember those? Anyway, it’s made of polyethelene.
Bell shaped cups are reusable and can be replaced anywhere from annually, to every 5-10 years depending on which type you use and the manufacturers recommendations.
The polyethelene cups are disposable, and depending on the brand, can either be discarded after each use, or can be used for a subsequent menstrual cycle and then disposed of.
Most menstrual cups come in two sizes; small and large. Both sizes accommodate more than what a regular tampon can hold. Regarding size selection; teenagers, women under 30, women with no history of vaginal birth and those with lighter flow may want to opt for a smaller size, while women over 30, with a history of heavier flow, and a history of vaginal birth may want to consider a larger cup size.
The distinction between those who have and haven’t had a history of vaginal birth is likely one of accommodation. Those with vaginal birth history are likely to require a larger menstrual cup due to laxity in the walls of the vagina from previous childbirth. Size preference may also come down to comfort.
You can find menstrual cups almost ANYWHERE! Target. Amazon. From what I gathered, I’ve seen them priced anywhere from $5.48 at Walmart to $29.99 at Target.
A few OBVIOUS advantages regarding menstrual cup usage vs tampons/pads are as follows:1)less likely to have to worry about Toxic Shock Syndrome with the menstrual cup as it in non-absorbent, 2)perhaps a decreased risk in vaginitis, specifically since menstrual cups don’t alter the natural flora of the vagina(can anyone say less Bacterial Vaginosis? AGAIN, this is pure speculation on my part), 3) less issues with contact dermatitis! I can’t begin to tell you how annoying and irritating pads/liners can be. But of course, you all can TOTALLY relate to that.
From what I have gathered, if inserted correctly, there seems to be minimal discomfort, and minimal leakage…sorta like with tampons I suppose. I would LOVE to hear from YOU! Are YOU a menstrual cup user? If so, click here to share your thoughts on the Ask Dr. Angela Facebook page. Inquiring minds want to know! Who knows, I might even give it a go!
Hoping this blog post has added value to your day!
Until Next Time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.