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.
They are quite safe and if used as recommended, the most hygienic method for the process of preventing menstrual blood from staining your clothing. 
Pros of Menstrual Cup
There are many advantages to using menstrual cups:
- 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. 
- 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  with boiling water or a sterilizing solution.
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 , 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
|||^||Cleveland Clinic: Tired of Tampons? Here Are Pros and Cons of Menstrual Cups|
|||^||WebMD: What’s a Menstrual Cup?|
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