Menstrual Cups & sponges are a great alternative to tampons as you do not have the high risk of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and you never have to buy boxes of stuff… you just use the same one over and over. It’s a very cost effective option. Menstrual cups catch menstrual flow rather than absorbing it.
I pre-washed my Menstrual cup on my first washing with just dish soap and hot water. Boiling is an effective option for sterilizing your Silicone cup, but some people have reported that their Latex-Rubber cups eventually gum up. I recommend following the manufacturers directions for best results.
To use you simply follow the directions that come with the Menstrual cup. You fold it, insert, twist & tug slightly creating the seal. Then you are good to go. You don’t have to change cups very often as they hold up to 2 oz. (most women only bleed on average 4 oz during their entire menstrual cycle), so you can go all day without changing in most cases (although until you know your cycle I recommend on checking more often at first). Cups take awhile to figure out, so I recommend using either a cloth pad or a pantiliner for your first few cycles while you figure out the most comfortable placing. I personally have a tilted uterus so I have to place my cup lower than most people and its trickier to place it in such a way that prevents leaks… it took me many months to finally figure it out, but it was worth fiddling with!
If you are looking for Menstrual Cup wholesale manufacturer, go to Menstrual Cup manufacturers websites to check the OEM, Menstrual Cup wholesale vendor.
When changing – simply pinch (breaking the seal), fold, and gently pull out. Then dump out the contents into the toilet, rinse it out, and put it back in. Super easy. This gets trickier in a public restroom though. An option would be to have wipes in your purse, or grab and moisten a paper towel before going into the stall. After dumping it out in the toilet, wipe it out and place it back in, then wash your fingertips off with the wipes. If this sounds like too much work you may simply make sure to change before going out so you don’t have to mess with it in public. Unless you’re a heavy bleeder, you should be able to go for a long time without needing to dump it out. Planning is the key issue here.
After your cycle is through you may boil your silicone Menstrual cup. Washing with dish-soap & hot water is a fairly common practice — however I do not recommend it. Some women have reported that simply washing with soap and water may lead to irritation or yeast infections. This may be a result of the dish-soap affecting the natural PH levels in your body. Instead, you might try the following procedure:
- Rinse well in hot water
- Wash with apple-cider vinegar, colloidal silver, baking soda, H2O2, or Tea Tree Oil.
- Rinse WELL
- Let it completely air dry, then stick in your carry bag until your next month.
Be sure to follow the directions that come with your specific cup, as some cleaning methods/solutions may not be recomended, for your brand.
To clean out any plugged suction holes — simply use a pin, or clean while you are in the shower. To do this you fill your cup up halfway with hot water, create a suction with your hand over the opening, turn upside down, shake — and the water should squirt, cleaning out the holes. Another simple method is to completely submerge your cup under water and then squeeze the water through the holes.
Sea sponges are harvested right from the ocean floor by sea divers and then washed and sterilized for use. They are inserted internally and absorb menstrual fluid much like a tampon would.
The care of sponges are a lot like cups with just a few variations which I will mention below.
Before using you need to wet the sponge and squeeze excess water out, then insert. It is recommended to not use soap when cleaning but instead use either baking soda, vinegar, H2O2, tea tree oil, or colloidal silver with warm water instead. This helps the PH not upset your natural flora. It’s also recommended to let it air dry between cycles in an open ventilated space so that bacteria does not grow.
Sponges need to be replaced sooner than cups and great heed needs to be taken in washing to keep it sanitary. You also can’t wear a sponge as long as a cup, and it’s much trickier to change in a public restroom. But its still a better option then disposable tampons as the risk of TSS is nil and its more cost effective.
A great tip for changing your sponge in public restrooms is to take along a pre-moistened sponge in a zip-lock baggie. Take the clean one out of the baggie, and replace it with the used one. Then you can clean the used one at your convenience. Just don’t wait too long.
Below is a table to help you choose the option that best suits your needs:
|Jade & Pearl|
|Made Of:||Latex Rubber||Silicone||Silicone||Silicone||Sea Sponge||Polyethylene||Organic Cotton|
|Life Expectancy¹:||At least 10 years||Several Years||Several Years||At least 10 years||6 months or more||Not re-usable||Not re-usable|
|Sizing:||A – After Birth|
B – Before Birth
|1 – Before Birth|
2 – After Birth
|A – After Birth|
B – Before Birth
|According to flow|
|Return Policy:||90 Day Money Back Guarantee||1 Year Money Back Guarantee||Discretion of Mooncup, Ltd.||no info||No||No||No|
|FDA Approved:||Yes||Yes||Pending||No info||No||Yes||Yes|
|TSS Risk:||No||No||No||No||No info||No||Yes|
|Extras:||Drawstring Pouch||Drawstring Pouch –|
|Can Boil||Can Boil||Drawstring Pouch||Can have clean sex with it in||None|
|Average Cost:||$35.00||$32.50||£18.99 UK||29.50€ FI||$8.00 2-pack||$13/box of 14.|
$CPY = $65
|$6/box of 20.|
$CPY = $72+
|¹ “Life Expectancy” ratings are manufacturer’s claims.|
Links on caring, washing, & using menstrual cups:
- An excellent Wikipedia overview on all aspects of using and caring for menstrual cups.
- A side-by-side comparisson of the different menstrual cups.
- A site dedicated to menstrual cups – links to an LJ community as well as a wonderful wiki FAQ page on the topic.
- A yahoo group community on the topic of menstrual cups.
- Buy the wholesale menstrual cups through menstrual cup manufacturers in China.
Links on caring, washing, & using menstrual sponges:
- A great overview on everything you need to know about sponges.
Still not sold on the idea? Check out our article on sound reasons to make the switch!
Feel free to also check out our forums for more links, information, and more on this subject (and others)! It’s also a good place to ask any questions and gain support!