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8 Menstrual Cup MYTHS To Look Out For
Are you thinking of using a menstrual cup?
With the rising popularity of menstrual cups, it can be hard to separate the facts from the fiction, especially with so many misconceptions circulating on the menstrual scene.
In this post we’ll dispel some of the most common (and sometimes dangerous) myths that we’ve come across to help you make an informed decision.
MYTH 1: You need to replace your menstrual cup every year
As an ethically minded business we’ve been wanting to set the record straight on this one for a while. The beauty of using a menstrual cup is that it is reusable. With proper care, a high-quality menstrual cup should last for years and years. We’ve heard from quite a few Mooncup® users who have been happily using theirs for as long as ten years!
Obviously, it’s completely down to personal choice how frequently you replace your cup, but do remember – if you look after your Mooncup® there’s no reason it shouldn’t serve you for a very long time.
However, some say that your menstrual cup will need to be replaced as frequently as every year. While this may make sense commercially (a ‘one off purchase’ model is certainly less lucrative than repeat purchase!); at Mooncup Ltd we feel that one of the most central benefits of a menstrual cup is to put a stop to all that unnecessary waste.
At Mooncup we’re proud to shout about how long our product is designed to last for. While we may not have the multi-billion-pound budget of other sanitary giants, we’re pleased to say we’re completely committed to our ecological values.
MYTH 2: All menstrual cups = Plastic Free Periods
Sadly, this is not true. The quest to live a plastic free lifestyle can be a complicated path, and it’s easy to assume that using a menstrual cup will mean you’re having a completely “plastic-free” period. Meanwhile, many menstrual cups on the market today are made from TPE (thermosplastic elastomer) which is in fact, a plastic itself.
It’s also important to consider any single-use plastics involved. Is the packaging your cup comes in excessive in its use of plastic? Think: plastic bags, plastic coated packaging, plastic windows, unnecessary wrappers etc.
Luckily, of course there are some deeply eco-minded menstrual cup manufacturers around – including ourselves of course. 😊 The Mooncup menstrual cup is made from medical-grade silicone – a high quality material which contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. While silicone is indeed a synthetic compound, it is not a plastic hybrid. It is made from naturally occurring silicon found in silica (sandstone and quartz). Silicon is the second-most abundant element on the planet, after oxygen. (Royal Society of Chemistry).
And please be assured that simply by switching to a reusable menstrual cup you’ll be making a HUGE positive impact on the environment. Think how much plastic you’ll be diverting from landfill 😊
MYTH 3: Menstrual cups are a new invention
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the menstrual cup is a new concept with the recent boom in media coverage. In reality the first menstrual cup, made from rubber, was invented in 1937 by an American woman named Leona Chalmers. As World War II broke out and a rubber shortage hit, the production of her cup ran into difficulties. Unfortunately for Chalmers her cup was met with a resistance from the public who were reluctant to clean and reuse the cup. Perhaps ahead of its time, the idea was shelved in part due to the rise in popularity of disposable products.
The menstrual cup as we know it today…
The Mooncup® was the first ever medical-grade silicone menstrual cup on the market, invented by our founder Su Hardy and launched in 2002. The material resolved the problem of latex allergies linked to rubber cups.
MYTH 4: Silicone menstrual cups can be organic
Silicone menstrual cups cannot be correctly described as “organic”. Organic substances are of the sort produced by, or found in, living things. Organic matter is always carbon-based.
According to The Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic certification body: “organic refers to any produce from organic farming that does not allow the use of synthetic fertilisers, genetically modified (GM) ingredients and herbicides.”
Silicone can never be “organic” as organic matter is made up of carbon. Therefore, it is impossible to have a silicone “organic” menstrual cup.
Be wary of misleading language like this and remember to always look for products that are honest and transparent about what they are made from and where they are made.
But don’t forget that it IS possible to have a tampon made from organic cotton, such as Natracare. Check out this great post from The Soil Association which explains what to look for in tampons Tampons: what it means to be organic and ethical.
MYTH 5: Menstrual cup size is related to flow
Not always. The Mooncup® comes in two sizes. The different Mooncup sizes are related to age and child bearing history – as both these things affect the tone of the muscles of the pelvic floor.
There’s a tiny difference (0.5ml) in capacity between size A and size B. Both sizes hold around three times more than a regular tampon so won’t need changing as often as you might be used to if you’re currently a tampon user.
In our experience age, childbearing history and pelvic floor tone are more accurate indicators for selecting and happily using the right size: for example there are users with heavy flow who still require the Size B Mooncup® (the smaller size).
If you’re thinking of switching to a Mooncup® take a look at our Mooncup Sizing Guidelines to help you choose what size Mooncup is right for you. As we understand that everyone’s anatomy is different, we have a full time Advice Team who can provide personalised advice to anyone who is unsure.
MYTH 6: You can never get TSS with a menstrual cup
It seems that over time there have been some online reviews that have unknowingly bolstered this myth. TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is a rare and complex disease which can affect both men and women. It has been associated with people who have had surgery, soft tissue and bone infections, and insect bites. It has also been linked to those who menstruate, those using intra-uterine contraceptive devices, intra-vaginal contraceptive devices, tampons and, to a lesser reported extent, menstrual cups.
If you have been previously diagnosed with TSS it is our recommendation to not use the Mooncup menstrual cup. You can learn more on our FAQ about TSS.
At Mooncup we are committed to meeting and exceeding expectations in customer service, which is why we have a free Advice Service run by medical health professionals available to answers any questions you may have on this topic – firstname.lastname@example.org
MYTH 7: All menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours
Another not-so-simple statement floating around on the web!
Understandably, there is some confusion about how long a menstrual cup can be worn for. There are quite a few menstrual cups on the market that claim they can be worn for 12 continuous hours.
At Mooncup we have always stated that the Mooncup should be worn for no longer than 8 hours, in line with the official recommendations for tampon usage. Our recommendation to empty and rinse the Mooncup every 4 – 8 hours is based upon safe practise for users (as opposed to, say, the capacity or potential performance of the Mooncup vs. other menstrual cup brands). Ultimately this recommendation is for safety and hygiene reasons to limit the risk of infections for our Mooncup customers.
It is also important to note that some regulatory bodies such as the ‘Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia (TGA), state that a cup should not be worn for longer than 8 hours.
A menstrual cycle will probably vary from day to day so a guideline of 4-8 hours is useful for most users – however you may need to change your cup more frequently if you have heavy periods to avoid leakage.
One last thing: changing a period cup in public isn’t as scary as you think! Read about public loo (and portaloo!) experiences on our testimonials page.
MYTH 8: All menstrual cups are made equal
Massive myth! You should be careful where you choose to buy your menstrual cup and check it’s adheres to high quality standards. Unless you buy a reputable brand from an authorised retailer there’s a chance that you (and your vagina) might not be as satisfied with your purchase as you expected. At Mooncup we’re often contacted by customers who realise they’ve been fooled into buying a fake or cheaply manufactured cup, so we want to help you make an informed decision…
A few things to look out for:
- Some cups are being made from food grade silicone which cannot be considered to be a safe material for a menstrual cup. Look out for the materials listed and trust your instincts, misinformation is rife when it comes to the new wave of cheap menstrual cups on the market.
- Some cups may claim to have a “CE mark” – commonly known as a certification mark to indicate health, safety and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area. Thing is, menstrual cups aren’t actually regulated in this way. If there IS a CE mark on your cup it could be the China Export symbol – which looks almost identical!
- Another point to consider is where your menstrual cup is manufactured. Unfortunately, not all countries will have high standards of quality within their manufacturing industries, nor will they be conducting ethical trade practices in all instances. Be aware.
Read more on the Mooncup blog