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What is a Menstrual Cup & Does My OBGYN Approve?

December 29, 2021

When most women think about period products, they think of pads and tampons. Pads and tampons have been the go-to supplies for menstrual care for as long as we can remember.

If you’ve been to the period aisle lately, things are looking a little different these days. There are so many more products on the period aisle shelves than just pads, tampons, and pantyliners. One relatively new item that you may have noticed is the menstrual cup.  Not sure what that is? No worries, we will explain:

  • What is a menstrual cup?
  • Why you would use a menstrual cup?
  • How can your Virtual OBGYN doctor help with your period questions/needs?

What is a Menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup is a small, flexible, re-usable cup used to collect menstrual blood during your cycle.  The cup nestles comfortably inside the vagina similar to a tampon and can be emptied, rinsed, and re-inserted as often as necessary.

Today, menstrual cups are usually made out of silicone; they have also been made from rubber or latex in the past.  Although many women have never heard of the menstrual cup, it has been around for a long time (menstrual cups were patented in 1937). The fact that they are still around today shows that they have been a proven method of menstrual management throughout history.

The recent rebound that menstrual cups have made since the year 2000 can be attributed to the use of medical-grade silicone which is a softer, more flexible and comfortable material than what was previously used.

Menstrual cups come in a variety of options. There are multiple sizes and shapes available, different levels of rigidity/softness, and different price points.  The price of a menstrual cup is generally in the range of $20-$40 depending on the brand.

Why Would You Choose a Menstrual Cup?

The up-front cost of a menstrual cup may seem off-putting.  However, most menstrual cups claim to last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced.  If you calculate the cost savings of not having to buy period supplies (tampons and pads), there is a significant cost savings each month. With a menstrual cup, it’s a once in 10-year expense that equals as little as one quarter per menstrual cycle.

You can also feel great about keeping tampons and pads out of sewers and landfills. All that is needed for a menstrual cup is a little bit of silicone every 10 years or so.

Another reason women may choose a menstrual cup for their cycle is that sometimes the cotton and other chemicals in tampons and pads can be drying and irritating. Silicone menstrual cups are considered hypoallergenic because they are made of medical-grade silicone with no additional scents or chemicals.

One last perk that a menstrual cup can provide is that some women find they have to go to the restroom for changing out period care items less often.  Some menstrual cups claim that you can go up to 8-12 hours depending on your flow as well as the brand and size. The smaller menstrual cups tend to have 2-3 tampon capacity and the medium cups may have a 3-4 tampon capacity.

How Can your Virtual OBGYN Help with Your Period Needs?

One thing is for sure when using a menstrual cup instead of other period products; you will learn a lot about your menstrual cycle!  Menstrual cups can be a useful tool for both patients and their gynecologists.  If you are experiencing irregular periods, your Virtual OBGYN may suggest that you use a menstrual cup in order to observe more information about your period, including a measurable blood volume, consistency, and patterns in blood flow.

If your current period product practice isn’t working for you, bring it up during your next online gynecologist appointment. Your doctor can help you select the right period care to fit your needs.

Now you know what a menstrual cup is and why a gal might choose to use one.  Is a menstrual cup something you would ever try or are you already using one? Share your thoughts or experiences about menstrual cups on our Facebook page or e-mail us!

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