What is a menstrual cup?

Every month, millions of girls and women everywhere in the world have their period. This article explains what a menstrual cup is and why it might be helpful during your period.

What is a ‘period?’

‘Menstruation,’ also called ‘a period,’ is when women who are not pregnant have blood come out of their vagina. Every month, a woman’s ovaries release an egg. If this egg is fertilised, the woman becomes pregnant. If it is not fertilised, the egg and uterus lining are released through the vagina. This is the period. It usually lasts for around 3-6 days and happens every month. This starts around the age of 13 and ends when women are between 45 and 60 years old. It is normal to have small variations in when you get your first period, the times between them, and how much you bleed. You can find more information about periods here.

Period products

Here are some general tips on how to manage your period. To prevent the blood from making stains on their clothes, women might choose to use menstrual pads, tampons, or cloth. Normal menstrual pads and tampons can only be used once. Cloth does not absorb the blood well often has a strong smell. A menstrual cup might be a good alternative.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is shaped like a small cup and made of flexible silicone. It is inserted into the vagina during your period to collect the blood. After you empty it, it can be washed and used again.

How to use a menstrual cup

  1. Wash your hands and the cup with clean water. 
  2. Find a comfortable position to insert the cup. Many women like to sit on the toilet, squat, or put one foot on the toilet. 
  3. Before inserting the cup, you have to fold it. Fold it in half, so it looks like a C, or push one side down and pinch the sides together. 
  4. Insert the cup like a tampon into the vagina. 
  5. Once in the vagina, the cup will open up. You should not be able to feel it. 

It might take a few times until you are fully comfortable doing it. Try as often as you want to, as long as you feel comfortable. With a stem on the bottom of the cup, it can be pulled out. After four to twelve hours, empty the cup over the toilet. Clean the cup with clean water. After the period is over, put the cup in boiling water for three minutes to sterilise it (kill any germs). It can then be used for your next period.

It takes time to know how your body works. Learning what menstruation is and what to do during this time each month is part of the process. The menstrual cup is an option that might be a convenient alternative to other sanitary products.

Marwin Ramos

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