What on Earth is a Menstrual Cup?

If you’re tired of managing your period the same old way with pads and tampons every month, a menstrual cup MAY just become your new best friend – but I don’t want to make any unreasonable promises so I’ll let you learn for yourself!

One of the products I firmly believe will make your period better, based on my very own personal experience, is the humble menstrual cup. And I admit it, the name is not glamorous, but let’s cut some slack here, because it was actually invented way back in the day, some eighty years ago! 

A, no doubt, very progressive woman for her time, Leona W Chalmers, developed the first menstrual cup patent in 1937. Leona hailed from the USA and was a singer and actress. So it’s not a new invention or new gimmicky trend by any stretch, but as to why it hasn’t gained as much traction as pads and tampons, I don’t know the answer.

what is a menstrual cup

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever remember learning about a menstrual cup at school. I remember my physical education teacher putting a tampon into a glass of water and showing how it expanded but I don’t remember the menstrual cup.

If, like me, you also never learnt about the menstrual cup, fear not – there’s no time like the present to get you educated!

Some fast facts for you are:

> A menstrual cup is a soft, reusable cup made from medical grade silicone. This vague description might not be enough to give you a correct visual, so it’s probably best if you just look at the image up top – that’s a menstrual cup! 

> The cup is folded (remember it’s soft) and inserted into the vagina to catch, rather than absorb, the menstrual flow.

> When removed, the cup is emptied, not disposed of (do you hear that? That’s the sound of the environment cheering!) rinsed and then used again.

> It can be kept inside for up to 12 hours, after this time or at any time prior, you can remove the cup to empty it and clean it ready to insert again.

> Once your period is done for the month you can sterilise the cup by popping it into a pot of boiling hot water for a few minutes.

> The menstrual cup can be kept and reused for up to 10 years – for quite a nice saving to your wallet AND the environment.

Generally menstrual cups come in two different sizes, one for those who have given birth and one for those who haven’t. However this is a general guide only and you may need to work out what’s best for you depending on your own body.

SO you came here to learn what a menstrual cup is and now you should have a good idea.

In short – a soft, silicone cup inserted to catch your menstrual flow, that can be left in for longer than a tampon and is reusable for a significant number of years. Thanks to the visual up top you know what it looks like and should now successfully be able to identify one in a line up!

If you’re thinking of making the switch to a menstrual cup, then there are some things you need to know before you go out and buy one! I’ve created a handy guide called The Better Period Guide to Choosing Your Best Menstrual Cup and it will help guide you through all of the things you need to consider when choosing your menstrual cup. You can download it below:

If you’d like to learn more about menstrual cups, you can check out some of my other blog posts:

10 Ways Using A Menstrual Cup Will Make Your Life Better

5 Tips For Your First Time Using A Menstrual Cup

If you would like to go on and try a menstrual cup, you can check out some of my favourites on my recommended resources page

And if you have any questions about menstrual cups that remain unanswered please comment below or send me an email. Similarly if you feel like sharing your own experiences with a menstrual cup, please do, I would love to hear from you. 

Ellie The Better Period Author bio image

Ellie Heasman

The Better Period

Ellie Heasman is a period blogger and founder of The Better Period. Ellie helps people on their journey to a better period through introducing them to the world of menstrual cups and period underwear, and sharing knowledge about the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness. You can join in the better period conversations on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ or find out more about Ellie here.

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