Description: The menstrual cup is a reusable, flexible and lightweight cup which is non-absorbent and collects a woman’s menstrual flow; this method supports the vagina’s natural moisture level and pH balance. There are two versions of the menstrual cup currently available on the market; one is made from soft, medical-grade silicone, and the other is made of pure gum rubber very similar to the material used in many baby bottle nipples. There are also two sizes of menstrual cups available: one size is for women under the age of thirty who have never had a child; the other size is for women who have had vaginal or c-section birth, and for women over the age of thirty who have never had a child. The size difference is small, but is important to minimize leakage.

The menstrual cup holds one full ounce (30 ml) of liquid. On average, a woman will bleed between 3-4 ounces during one menstrual cycle. Each woman will find her own rhythm of use with this product, but can expect to empty and rinse her menstrual cup 2-3 times each day of her period. Because of the non-absorbent nature of the menstrual cup, it can be worn overnight, or up to 12 hours. A woman can enjoy movement-based activities including swimming while wearing her menstrual cup.

What to look for: Look for a menstrual cup that is made out of pure gum rubber, or medical-grade silicone. Be aware that there are two sizes of menstrual cups available, and look for the indications listed for each size.

Uses: The menstrual cup is used similarly to a tampon, but catches and contains the blood rather then absorbing it. The menstrual cup is designed in shape to fit comfortably within the natural slant of the vagina. Once in place, the menstrual cup does not touch the cervix, but rests below it. Because the menstrual cup collects blood, the cup will need to be emptied and rinsed throughout each day of use. The cup may be sterilized by rinsing it in diluted vinegar water, or boiling it for five minutes.

Where to find: Find the menstrual cup at natural food stores, or order directly from individual companies.

Avoid: Avoid the extensive costs of purchasing expensive sanitary products that can only be used once. If taken care of, the menstrual cup has a life expectancy of approximately ten years!