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Menstrual Cups: What to Know Before Making the Change

Menstrual cups have been around since their invention in the 1930s, but they were not manufactured in America until 1987. In comparison to pads, which have been around since the 1800s, and tampons which have been popular since the 30s, menstrual cups are extremely new. Because of this many women are skeptical of them or in general are not sure how they work. So, the question remains, should you be making the switch to using menstrual cups? 

As any menstrual product there are pros and cons. Let’s start with a discussion of the pros of making the switch. Depending on your flow it has been reported that a cup can be worn for up to twelve hours, or slept in. Though for sanitary purposes and overall safety they should be changed regularly like pads or tampons. Many see the appeal of menstrual cups for their sustainability compared to disposable menstrual products. Most are made out of silicone or rubber and won’t break down if thrown away, but they are reusable. Many fear that they could get stuck or are hard to remove, but similar to a tampon string they have a stem for easy removal. But what about TSS? Toxic shock syndrome is a bacterial infection that occurs when a tampon picks up bacteria and is transferred to your body. It is rare and usually only associated with tampons. Because menstrual cups are made of silicone or rubber rather than cotton, there is little to no risk of getting TSS from a cup

Now let’s talk about the risks of using a cup. Most of the safety of a cup comes from correctly using them. If they are inserted or removed incorrectly there can be problems. If inserted incorrectly they could get stuck. If you do not break the seal of suction when removing them you could dislodge your IUD. This is because the pressure would pull it out, but again it can be avoided if you remove the cup correctly. Another fear is that menstrual cups can cause yeast infections. Because bacteria can cause these Ph imbalances, this is possible But if you have clean hands and a clean cup; then the risk of this happening is little to none. 

The choice to make the change comes down to whether or not you think a cup is for you. As long as you follow the directions, most of the risks involved are eliminated. Menstrual cups can be pricey, ranging from six dollars to forty. This is an investment that pays off because they can be reused. With a little bit of research, this could be a sustainable change that you can safely make in your life.

Grayson Jarrell is a sophomore at Furman University majoring in Studio Art. She spends her free time painting, reading, writing, and riding a skateboard.
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