A patient told me how she manages her menstrual bleeding. “I use the DivaCup” she enthusiastically narrated with a big smile on her face as she reached to her purse and pulled out a silk colourful bag with a fresh floral design. “It is a silicon cup that I insert in my vagina when my period starts. I remove, clean and replace it every 12 hours. It is easy.”
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup or barrier worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. Menstrual cups are usually made from medical grade silicone.
“I have been using it for years” my patient tells me. Apparently, it significantly helps her manage the blood flow that she made it the perfect gift to her friends.
How have I never heard about it, yet!? On my lunch break, I researched it and I am sharing this info as I am sure many womyn and their healthcare providers need to know about these products.
Can you imagine being able to swim while on your period!? Menstrual bleeding does not have to force you to leave your desk at work, or wake up at night, or interrupt your summer vacation, or any activities like a marathon, a bike-ride, a yoga class or any workout. Andrea, my medical office assistant, told me: “I know of many athletes who use it.”
If you try menstrual cup and it works for you, it is freeing. It offers you yet another choice in managing your periods without any sanitary products to dispose.
Many products are available: MeLuna, Fleurcup, Selene, DivaCup… I am only sharing the photos of the DivaCup because my patient happens to use this one and she allowed me to snap the shots. I am in no way advertising for one kind over the other. Make sure to read the information leaflet before you use the product of your choice as care instructions differ. Some have latex, so be careful if allergic. Some are reusable, others are disposable.
The flow measure lines (See photo above) help you monitor the amount of blood per day or per period. You can record the amount and report it back to your doctor as this information is very valuable in the evaluation and treatment of menstrual disorders.
On average, womyn have 30-60 ml (1 – 2 ounces) of menstrual blood flow monthly. The DivaCup can carry 30 ml conveniently. If your periods are heavy you might have to empty the cup more often than every 12 hours. My patient described how easy it is to empty the cup: “I reach to its base, squeeze a little and pull it out. I empty it, rinse it with warm water then put it back in.”
Avoid using any scented products to wash your cup. You can boil it for 5-10 min if care instructions allow that. If the cup is 100% Silicone then you can place it in the upper rack of a dishwasher, at the expense of shortening the life of your cup. If traveling always wash the cup with potable water (safe to drink).
“I fold the cup and gently insert it; it unfolds inside and stays in place comfortably.” My patient adds, “the best thing about it: it does not leak.”
If you have used a menstrual cup before please comment on the experience below and share any tips from which other womyn and healthcare providers can benefit.