positive young black lady demonstrating menstrual cup in beige studio

Menstrual Cups – Your New Bestie

Tired of that dreaded dry tampon near the end of your period? Looking to save a few extra bucks? I suggest you give menstrual cups a try!


I’ve gone from pads to tampons and I now use a cup and in my opinion, it’s the best option out of the 3 (well at least for me).


I’ve been using a menstrual cup for a few years now and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it helps me save money I would have otherwise spent on tampons. Using today’s prices, I would have spent about R80 a month on tampons (because I used to use about 2 boxes a month); which means I now save approximately R960 a year.

Whereas, you can get a menstrual cup for about R149 from TakeAlot.


Still not convinced to make the switch? I hope that by the end of this article, I’ll have convinced you to…

faceless woman showing menstrual cup with tender white flowers
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

What Is A Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual or moon cup is a silicone device that you insert into your vagina when you’re on your period to collect your menstrual blood.


I know when I use the word device it sounds kinda hectic, believe me, it’s not. It’s just a silicone CUP, as the name suggests.
It’s an alternative to a tampon or a pad as it serves the same purpose.

How Does it Work?

I know that when you look at the thing you probably think, “How the hell is that gonna fit in my vagina?” It’s quite simple, just fold it with the opening facing upwards and gently slide it into your vaginal opening (where you’d normally insert a tampon). There are many ways to fold the cup, fo whatever works for you.

See… easy!

menstrual cup with white gentle flowers placed on pink surface near bag
Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

By the way, not all menstrual cups look like the one depicted in the above picture but that is the basic “look”.


Now, let me tell you about the benefits of switching to menstrual AKA moon cups…

Benefits of Switching To Menstrual Cups

Money-saving

These babies are cost-effective and will save you tons of cash!
You’ll buy 1 cup that you can use for up to 2 years and save the money you would have spent on packs of pads or tampons.
And who doesn’t love saving money???

Think about how many packs of tampons or pads you go through with each cycle per year and do that math.

If you take good care of your cup, it’ll last.

Easy to clean & use

There are several ways in which you can clean and sanitise your cup which is discussed later in this post.

No odours or risk of leakage

Once properly inserted the cup collects your menstrual blood before it even leaves your vagina so there are no “period blood smells”.

It doesn’t leak if properly inserted. You’ll know it’s not properly inserted if you feel pain or discomfort.

Ensure that the holes are clear to allow suction and that baby will catch everything!

They hold more blood than pads and tampons

This means that they allow for longer wear and you don’t have to worry about changing them too frequently.

Menstrual cups can hold between 30 to 60 ml of menstrual fluid, depending on the brand and the size of your cups. They come in different sizes according to your menstrual flow but it’s said that on average, they hold more than a tampon.
You can keep the cup inside you for up to 12 hours depending on your cup size & menstrual flow (my sister got me the grande which I only have to empty when I wake up in the morning and before I go to sleep at night). This is longer than a tampon or pad which needs to be changed more frequently.

Environmentally friendly

The substance the cups are made from is biodegradable which makes them environmentally friendly.

Comfortable

Menstrual cups are very comfortable to use and in my opinion 100x better than pads and tampons.


You don’t feel the cup inside you (not really) if inserted correctly and you go about your business.


Because it’s so comfortable, be sure to remember to take it out when your period is done and don’t forget it up there lol.

top view of a menstrual cup beside a potted plant
Photo by Amy Murrell on Pexels.com

Can also be used by virgins

You can start using it from your first period if you are comfortable with that idea.
Read this article for more information.

Mooncup menstrual cup (menstrual cup)
Mooncup menstrual cup (menstrual cup) by Leona W. Chalmers is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

My sister bought my cup for me and let me tell you my periods have never been better! They are 100% more comfortable. I don’t need to worry about leaks and the cup just sits inside so comfortably that I forget it’s even there.

Since it stays in longer, it’s great for times when you’re going somewhere where you won’t have access to a proper bathroom to change your tampon or pad.


Please bear in mind that not all menstrual cups look like the ones depicted in the above image.

FAQS

Won’t it get stuck up there?

No, there’s nowhere for the cup to go. It has a small tip at the bottom which you can use to gently pull it out when you need to. If it feels like it’s stuck; all you need to do is just relax and gently pull it out. (see above image)

Isn’t it painful?

Personally, my answer to this is NOT AT ALL. Like I mentioned before, once the cup is properly inserted you won’t feel it in there. It creates a small vacuum when it opens up inside you, which you might feel but I’d describe that feeling as weird more than anything.
Sometimes I feel a slight discomfort while inserting it or taking it out but that’s about it and I figure that’s because it’s time to get a new one.

If you’re feeling any pain or discomfort, it’s probably been inserted incorrectly.

How do I clean it?

There are various ways to do this:

At Home

I used to boil mine in a small mug (imagi yencence in Xhosa, I think it’s a steel cup in English. I don’t freaken know) on the stove. That mug’s sole purpose is to sanitize my cup!


If you choose to boil your cup, boil it for 5 to 10 minutes with an open lid. I chose this method because it was the most convenient for me.

You can also sterilize it using a solution or tablets.

Alternatively, you can buy a steamer to sterilize your cup, a menstrual cup wash, or a foaming cleanser to make sure your cup is clean and safe to use. Just choose whatever suits you.

The menstrual cup steamer I’m now using to sterilize my cup is super convenient and easy to use. It’s my preferred method of sterilisation. I got my steamer from TakeAlot and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Highly recommend.

In public:

When using public bathrooms you should make sure to keep your cup steriliser with you so that you can p conveniently clean your cup wherever you are.

Voxapod.com suggests that you spray off your cup with a water bottle (if you have one), use a menstrual cup wipe, or wipe it with clean toilet paper or paper towel. You can read more about that on their site.

Be sure to clean your cup properly. You do not want an infection!

Can I use the cup if I’m a virgin?

Yes, they are safe for virgins to use.

Because the vaginal muscles are more intense, it can make insertion more difficult but virgins can safely use menstrual cups.

Where can I purchase a cup?

TakeAlot.com and other online shops have them available at varying prices. I have yet to see it in any physical stores in South Africa, I don’t know about other countries.


Menstrual cups are also available on Amazon. Please choose a cup size according to your menstrual flow. I tend to be heavy so mine is a grande cup which I got from My Own Cup.

If you live in Cape Town, here’s where you can purchase your cup:

  • Wellness Warehouse on Kloof
  • Shop Zero

South Africans can also purchase a menstrual cup online from PinkCup.

Check the aisle with the feminine hygiene products for menstrual cups.

What is the difference between a menstrual cup & a moon cup?

Same thing! A moon cup is just another name for it. Potato Po-tah-to!

For more information, you can visit My Own Cup’s website.


Make sure to take proper care of your menstrual cup to avoid any infection and ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS before and after insertion!

With time, your menstrual cup itself may develop an odour and even after you’ve boiled it, you discover the smell still hasn’t gone away. Here’s what you need to do to remedy that.

When your cup doesn’t seem right to you anymore then it might be time to replace it.

Do not forget to remove your cup from your vagina at the end of your period!

If you’re not into cups or are uncomfortable inserting tampons into your vagina then you also have the option of reusable pads.


We should all aim to live “greener”, more sustainable lives and one way to start your journey to sustainable living is to make the switch.
Trying new things can be scary but in my opinion, this is one decision you won’t ever regret.


Go get yourself a cup, take good care of your vagina (by the way have you gone for your annual pap?), and save some moola!

P.S menstrual cups won’t “ruin” or “stretch out” your vagina…

So ladies; what are you waiting for??? Make the switch!

If you’d like to hear more about eco-friendly periods then please read this post by The Grumpy Olive.

A true-crime-obsessed, quirky lifestyle blogger from the coastal city of East London, South Africa whose interests include reading, writing and fitness. Find me on Twitter @WeirdnLiberated.
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