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Is The Menstrual Cup A Better Choice Than Tampons? Here Are The Pros And Cons

Is The Menstrual Cup A Better Choice Than Tampons? Here Are The Pros And Cons

Throughout the course of time, women have used cloth, sanitary pads and tampons to collect their blood during their menstrual periods. A menstrual cup has been proven to be an effective alternative to these common methods.

A menstrual cup is a flexible cup made from silicone or rubber that is designed to be inserted inside the vagina to collect menstrual blood. Rather than absorbing the blood like the traditional methods, the cup collects the blood without any leakage and can be emptied at your convenience.

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They are quite safe and if used as recommended, the most hygienic method for the process of preventing menstrual blood from staining your clothing. [1]

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    Pros of Menstrual Cup

    There are many advantages to using menstrual cups:

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    • Easy-to-use: If you have used diaphragms for birth control or tampons during your periods, then you will find it very easy to insert a menstrual cup. It can be folded to resemble a tampon and pushed in towards the back of the vagina. If inserted correctly, you wouldn’t even feel it’s there.
    • Less embarrassing odor: Unlike with sanitary napkins, the fluid in a menstrual cup doesn’t get exposed to air, so you wouldn’t have to face any embarrassing menstrual odor wafting out.
    • Lower costs: Long-lasting reusable menstrual cups save you more money in the long run than the regular use of pads and tampons.
    • More peace of mind: Pads and tampons need to  be changed every four to eight hours while menstrual cups need to be emptied only twice a day.
    • Less pharmacy visits: When you use disposable pads and tampons, it means a monthly visit to the pharmacy to buy them. With menstrual cups, a good quality reusable one will last you at least a year.
    • Less landfill waste: Since they can be reused, the piling waste of used tampons and sanitary napkins in landfills will get reduced. A bonus point is that less trees need to be sacrificed than there are to produce the paper-based alternatives.
    • Maintains Vaginal pH: As tampons and pads absorb the vaginal fluid along with the blood, the pH balance and the beneficial bacteria in the vagina get disturbed, leading to a whole host of other problems.
    • You can still have sex: It’s a personal choice whether to remove the cup or not as you can have intercourse without removing the cup.

    Cons of Menstrual Cup

    There are some disadvantages to this method, most of which can be resolved through practice. [2]

    • Insertion difficulty: Young girls and those who have never had intercourse may find the cup difficult to insert, though with practice, it becomes easy enough.
    • Fitting problems: If you have problems like fibroids or a dropped uterus, a menstrual cup may not fit properly.
    • Removal issues: Some may find it difficult to remove the cup. This is also just a matter of practice and learning to do it the right way. You need to pinch the base before you pull it out.
    • Messy emptying: If you are not careful, emptying the blood from the cup can get quite messy.
    • Sterilization: After each cycle you have to put in the effort to sterilize the cup [3] with boiling water or a sterilizing solution.

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      Conclusion

      You can buy disposable menstrual cups or opt for long-lasting and reusable ones. You can use the same cup all throughout your menstrual cycle. If you are latex sensitive [4], check and make sure the menstrual cup you purchase is made entirely of silicone.

      Many women discover that the cup is barely half filled even after the full 12 hours. But, you may need to empty it more frequently during the heavy flow days to avoid leakage. If you monitor the fullness of the cup over a couple of cycles, then you will know how long you can wait before having to empty the cup. If your cycle is regular, you can insert it before the period starts to avoid spotting on your clothes.

      Menstrual cups come in various formations and sizes. You may need to experiment a bit before you finally discover the one that suits your needs perfectly. Just like the other products for your periods, menstrual cups can be bought from grocery and drug stores or you can buy them online.

      Featured photo credit: hercampus.com via hercampus.com

      Reference

      [1] Cleveland Clinic: Tired of Tampons? Here Are Pros and Cons of Menstrual Cups
      [2] WebMD: What’s a Menstrual Cup?
      [3] The Diva Cup: Care and Cleaning
      [4] Cleveland Clinic:
      Latex Allergy

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      Anju Mobin

      Anju is a Certified Nutritionist, and a Highly Experienced Health, Fitness and Nutrition Writer.

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      Last Updated on March 25, 2020

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

      When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

      So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

      1. Exercise

      It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

      2. Drink in Moderation

      I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

      3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

      Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

      4. Watch Less Television

      A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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      Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

      5. Eat Less Red Meat

      Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

      If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

      6. Don’t Smoke

      This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

      7. Socialize

      Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

      8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

      Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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      9. Be Optimistic

      Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

      10. Own a Pet

      Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

      11. Drink Coffee

      Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

      12. Eat Less

      Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

      13. Meditate

      Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

      Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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      How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

      14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

      Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

      15. Laugh Often

      Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

      16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

      Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

      17. Cook Your Own Food

      When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

      Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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      18. Eat Mushrooms

      Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

      19. Floss

      Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

      20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

      Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

      Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

      21. Have Sex

      Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

      More Health Tips

      Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

      Reference

      [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
      [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
      [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
      [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
      [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
      [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
      [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
      [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
      [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
      [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
      [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
      [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
      [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
      [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
      [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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