Menstrual collector: what are the pros and cons? See how to use

Contents

What is menstrual collector?

The menstrual cup  is an option to ordinary pads because it is reusable and can last up to 10 years. Unlike the tampon, it is inserted at the entrance of the vagina and not at the bottom of the canal, and can remain there for up to 12 hours without changes.

Made of hypoallergenic medical silicone (does not cause allergies), it literally works like a cup. It is inserted into the vaginal canal, stores the blood, then is removed, washed and inserted again.

The main difference between the menstrual cup for ordinary pads is its useful life, it lasts an average of 10 years, while a disposable pad takes about 500 years to decompose in the environment.

Advantages and disadvantages of the menstrual collector

Talking about menstruation is still taboo, and everyone knows it, but the subject has been on the agenda with increasing frequency among Brazilian women.

According to Inciclo, one of the first national brands to manufacture the product, the increase surprised even the company’s managers.

In the last two years (2015-2016), the company grew more than 3000% in sales. Although they do not reveal how many units were sold, we can analyze the fields in which this increase has influenced, such as: macroeconomics, female empowerment and aid in the sustainability of the planet.

Learn more about the advantages:

Macroeconomics

With the growing number of Brazilians who have become consumers, or show interest to some degree in the product, we have an increase in demand.

That is, the more people looking for a product, the greater the production of that product should be, to supply the market’s need.

In short, new jobs are created and with that we heat up the other aspects of the economy. For example: if Ana Lúcia got a new job, she will probably pay off her overdue debts and make more purchases. When she makes new purchases the trade will be able to remain, and all those who work in it.

Personal economy

A menstrual cup costs an average of 80 reais, much higher than the average of 5 reais for external pads and 12 reais for internal pads.

However, the expense becomes insignificant if we take into account the average 10-year life of the product. That is, in 10 years your spending on tampons will be approximately 1,500 reais, and with tampons, 2,400 reais, while with the menstrual collector the expense will be significantly better, corresponding to 80 reais.

Now that everything is at the tip of the pencil, it is notable that the cost of a collector is minimal compared to that of ordinary absorbents.

Sustainability

It is past time to think about how our current actions impact future generations. For those who want to leave the planet a little better, the menstrual collector can be the beginning for an end to the damage to the Earth.

The common external absorbents are made mostly of cellulose, polyethylene, propylene, thermoplastic adhesives, silicon paper, superabsorbent polymer and odor control agents. All of these materials are derived from trees and oil.

The tampons are composed of cotton, artificial silk, polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene. Of course, the composition varies from one brand to another, but the focus here is how the materials generate environmental impact. Whether at the time of manufacture or decomposition.

An excellent example of a material that even before reaching the absorbent is already doing harm to the planet is cotton. It requires a lot of water, pesticides and fertilizers when planting.

These chemicals alter the nature of the soil and cause damage that took decades to recover.

After use, the absorbents are discarded. This disposal can occur via garbage or sewage. In the sewer, it clogs pipes and generates several disorders. However, it is not because it is discarded in the trash that it will cause less inconvenience, at least not for Mother Nature.

A discarded absorbent takes 100 to 500 years to decompose. This is due to the synthetic materials and chemicals that are involved in manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the menstrual cup is reusable, no matter how much water is needed for washing, it is not abundant at all: it is literally like washing a cup.

Choose your panties

Women who use tampons know that there is nothing more annoying than wanting to wear those pants or tighter dress and not being able to, because the panties will appear on the clothes.

When using the menstrual collector, the woman gains all the autonomy when it comes to dressing her lingerie, or even not wearing it, after all, with the menstrual collector, you can even sleep without underwear.

Lower risk of bacterial infections

Because it is used inside the vaginal canal, bacteria that proliferate in the intimate region, because of the blood moisture and contact with the entire pubic area, are avoided.

No unpleasant smells

No, menstruation does not have an unpleasant odor! It may be hard to believe, but the blood that leaves the body has no smell at all. What happens to leave that characteristic smell is the contact of the air.

The air is responsible for coagulating the blood, which is a kind of rot. In the case of ordinary absorbents, this blood spends a lot of time in contact with the air when, with the collector, this contact does not occur.

In short: the blood that comes out of your uterus does not smell like anything other than blood, similar when you injure yourself in any other place.

Other advantages presented are:

  • Greater blood collection capacity;
  • Greater comfort when sleeping;
  • Less risk of leaks;
  • Greater safety in the practice of sports (including swimming).

Disadvantages

The reported disadvantages with respect to the menstrual cup are mainly related to the inappropriate use of the product. They are:

Increase or appearance of abdominal pain

Some women reported that after they started using the menstrual cup, they began to experience a significant increase in their cramps. This can be caused by the incorrect positioning of the collector.

Discomfort

It is not uncommon, and much less rare, that initial reports of discomfort are made. Just like any other new experience, it is necessary for the body to get used to its new reality.

Therefore, as the woman acquires practice in inserting and removing the collector and her vaginal musculature, she gets used to it and the initial discomfort disappears.

Leaks

The risk of leaks from a menstrual cup compared to a regular tampon is much less, however, it still exists. The leaks are caused when the woman does not insert the collector correctly or when she is not using the collector of the right size for her vaginal canal.

Menstrual Collector Sizes

The choice of size is fundamental in the adaptation process with the product. After all, it is a piece of intimate use, therefore, it does not have exchanges after opening the packaging.

Choosing the ideal size, in addition to preventing leaks, makes it comfortable to use.

When choosing the size of the menstrual cup, it is necessary to take into account the age group and also the gestational history of the woman.

The size suggestion is made based on the tonicity of the pelvic floor (muscles, fasciae and ligaments that support the organs of the pelvic cavity) which, due to age and pregnancies, lose their elasticity. This is not a rule, after all there are cases in which the organism reacts differently with age or with pregnancy.

Check the size indicated for each case:

Size A Size B
Women  over  thirty Women  under the  age of thirty
Women who have been pregnant
(Regardless of the type of delivery)
Women who have never been pregnant
The collector is about 4.3 cm in diameter The collector is about 4.0 cm in diameter
About 7.2 centimeters in height
(Counting the rod that can be cut according to preference)
About 7.2 centimeters tall (Counting the rod that can be cut according to preference)

Contrary to what many people think, the amount of flow and physical size of the woman does not interfere in the choice of the size of the collector.

How to put on the menstrual cup

When it comes to menstrual collectors, placement is one of the biggest apprehensions of women. These are some steps that will make the process as simple as possible. Check out:

First step: Hygiene

Make sure that your collector is well sanitized. Before using it, the ideal is to boil it in water for 5 to 8 minutes. Before touching the collector again, wash your hands thoroughly so that you do not run the risk of contaminating it.

If it is not possible to boil the water to sterilize it, there are other options, such as: using hydrogen peroxide up to 12%, chlorine water up to 3%, cleaning tablets from Clor-in , Milton or sodium hypochlorite.

If you use any of these options, it is important to rinse the collector with clean, running water before introducing the cup into the body. Thus, allergic reactions, burns or diaper rash are avoided.

However, it is always recommended to use the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid damage to the product.

Second step: Ideal position

The second step is the collector’s insertion position. There is no rule that will be applied to all women, as the ideal position varies according to the preference of each user.

Some of the most suitable positions are squatting, standing (feet together and knees apart), sitting or with only one leg raised (commonly supported on the vessel).

Third step: Fold

As with the insertion position, there is no universal way to bend the collector. There are several folds that can be used for the insertion of the collector. Some collectors come with instruction manuals that suggest some of the most common folds.

In the circumference of the collector, there are small holes that are responsible for vacuuming the product. At the moment of making the fold it is necessary to always start with them.

In the image above, we can see 3 of the most common folds. The “C” fold, also called “U”, then “Pushdown” and “7”. Other folds are also:

  • Diamante;
  • Half diamond;
  • S;
  • E;
  • Triangle;
  • Tulipa;
  • Origami;
  • Labia fold.

There are plenty of folding options, just test and find out which one is best for each woman. Once the fold has been chosen, it is necessary to relax to insert the collector.

Relaxing is essential, as the pelvic muscles need to be elastic. The collector must be inserted into the vaginal canal towards the anus. This is necessary, because contrary to what many people think, the vagina canal is not vertical: it is tilted towards the anus.

After insertion, the collector opens and molds to the vaginal canal. When properly fitted, it forms a vacuum (sometimes it even produces a “ploc” sound).

To make sure that the folds have unfolded, gently rotate the collector, another option for the same purpose is to move the wall of the vagina with a finger and the index finger all around it.

How to remove the menstrual cup

Removing the menstrual cup can become a challenge for first-time users. All collectors have a small cable, some women mistakenly pull the collector by this cable.

This is not the ideal way, as the cable serves to assist, but should not be responsible for all removal , as this will bring pain to the woman.

The function of the cable is for women who have a high cervix to reach it and then have it removed. A proof that the cable does not serve to do the removal is that several women cut it, because they have the lowest cervix and do not feel the difficulties to reach the collector.

As it is vacuum inserted into the vaginal canal, when it is pulled by force, the negative pressure made by the collector will cause pain. The correct way to remove the collector is to eliminate the existing vacuum first:

  1. Use your pelvis as if you are defecating. When doing this movement, the collector will lower a few centimeters in the vaginal canal. Women with a low cervix may feel the lower part of the collector;
  2. With the thumb and forefinger, the woman must pinch the lower part of the collector which, with the movement, will receive air, causing the vacuum to be eliminated;
  3. Even without the vacuum, it is not yet time to pull the collector, because in the enlarged (unfolded) size it can bump into the bladder or urethra. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary that, after pinching and pulling slightly, the woman squeezes the middle of the cup. Thus, it will decrease in size and will not touch the urethra or bladder, which in turn will not cause you pain.

For women with the highest cervix, a finger is inserted into the vaginal canal, until they find the collector cable. After this step, the same procedure is repeated for women with low cervix.

Informing that it is necessary to use the collector at least twice before cutting the cable, only then will it be possible to state the height of your lap and how much of the cable you will need to cut.

In some cases, with women with very high necks, it is recommended to stay in the squatting position to remove the collector, as this position shortens the vaginal canal, making it easier to find the collector cable.

How to clean the menstrual cup

It may seem like the most desperate thing in the world, but it is actually very simple to clean the collector. Just perform these 3 steps:

Step 1

When removing, make sure your hands are completely clean, after all, our hands come into contact with various bacteria throughout the day.

Step 2

Many women prefer to do the removal in the bath, while others prefer to do it in the vase. Regardless of the location of choice, it is necessary to discard the blood and immediately afterwards wash the collector with water and mild soap. Rinse it well and reuse. Repeat this cleaning at least 3 times a day.

If the exchange needs to be made in a public bathroom, it is always advisable to have a spare collector. If this is not possible, clean it with toilet paper or wet wipes and, when you get home, clean it properly.

Step 3

After the menstrual cycle has ended, it is necessary to sterilize your collector. For this, it is recommended to boil it for 5 minutes. Aluminum or teflon pans cannot be used, as they release metallic substances that can damage the collector’s silicone.

Some brands, in addition to selling the collector, also sell a special pot, made of agate. The pan has a smooth surface, which facilitates its cleaning.

Once completely cleaned, store your collector in its own bag. Always remember to keep it in hygienic and bacteria-free places.

How to sanitize the collector that fell into the toilet in 3 steps

At the time of withdrawal, it is not uncommon for some women to drop their sink into the toilet. In this situation, it is common to have doubts on how to proceed. See below how to properly sanitize your collector:

First step

Soak the collector in 1 liter of water, add a tablespoon of bleach and let it act for 15 to 20 minutes.

Second step

Wash and dry your hands. Remove the sauce pan and take it to another clean container. Add pure hydrogen peroxide , volume 10. The level to be added must be sufficient to cover the collector. Soak it for at least 5 hours and a maximum of 7 hours.

Third step

After the above steps, just sterilize the collector with boiling water for 5 minutes. If possible, also add a teaspoon of baking soda.

Dry it well and store it in a clean and airy environment.

How to remove stains from the menstrual cup

During menstrual cycles, it is common for some small spots to appear on the collector. To prevent this from happening, a teaspoon of baking soda can be used each time the collector is boiled.

If the collector already contains these stains, or looks grimy, just dip it in pure 10-volume hydrogen peroxide for 6 to 8 hours. Remember to always rinse with clean, running water!

Complications of the menstrual collector

The glass itself does not cause any complications for the woman. What can happen is that, due to misuse (including poor hygiene and insertion), it generates discomfort, leaks and even infections. Find out how this can happen:

Nuisances

During a bad placement, the collector can generate friction, which causes discomfort or pain throughout the day.

Leaks

Incorrect insertion can leave space, which leads to a poor positioning of the collector, so it can detach and let its contents leak.

Common questions

Because it has only been on the agenda for the past few years, the menstrual collector still raises many doubts wherever it goes. Get to know the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Can I go to the beach with the collector?

-Yeah . As it is inserted in a vacuum in the vaginal canal, it will not move even with activities in the water. So have fun in the water with no worries!

Is it possible to have sex using the menstrual cup?

In most cases, no . The menstrual cup is inserted in the vaginal canal, that is, the same place through which the penis would enter.

With the obstruction, it is impossible for the penis to enter the region, except in some cases where the collector is disposable and, because it is disposable, its size is smaller and it is inserted more deeply, which allows sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration.

Can virgins use menstrual cups?

-Yeah . However, there is a risk of rupture of the hymen, after all, the collector is for internal use and it may be that accidentally, when being inserted or removed, it causes the rupture of this film.

However, there are some brands that have smaller collectors, intended for this consumer niche. With smaller collectors, the risk of hymen rupture is also less.

Can I use the collector during an infectious treatment?

No . It is recommended that you only start using it at least a week after the infection has healed.

Can I use the collector in the postpartum period?

No . Both obstetricians and gynecologists say that it is not recommended to use any internal product in the postpartum period.

Each organism reacts differently after postpartum, however, the cervix is ​​still recovering and inserting any foreign object can cause inflammation.

The use is released after the first menstruation after the quarantine period , but the correct thing is to consult the gynecologist before taking any initiative.

Who has recurrent candidiasis can use menstrual collector?

-Yeah . Interestingly, in some cases, women report a reduction in the number of infections after the use of the collector has started.

According to Inciclo, this occurs because the menstrual collector does not interfere with the natural moisture of the viagina, so it will not absorb the secretions of vaginal protection.

Another reason is because the collector does not smother the intimate area like the absorbent pads, which leave the vagina in direct contact with the already decomposing blood, which increases the risk of infections.

Who has intense menstrual flow can use collector?

-Yeah . Gynecologists even recommend the use of the collector for those who have an intense flow, as the storage capacity of a menstrual collector is much higher than the capacity of ordinary pads.

Does the collector interfere with vaginal lubrication?

No . On the contrary, he is the best in this regard. Unlike ordinary pads, it collects only the blood and not the natural moisture in the vagina.

Can you sleep with the menstrual cup?

-Yeah . As it is inserted in a vacuum, it guarantees the safety of the white sheets even at night.

Can I use the menstrual cup together with an absorbent?

It can , but only if it is external. Many women, at the beginning of the adaptation, use absorbent pads in addition to the menstrual collector, this serves to pass the feeling of security that leaks will not occur.

Throughout the menstrual cycle, when they feel more secure, they abandon the use of tampons for good.

However, the menstrual cup and tampon should never be used. It is necessary to choose one of them and stay with him.

I have a latex allergy. Can I use a collector?

-Yeah . Most collectors are produced with hypoallergenic and non-latex silicone. However, it is always recommended to pay attention to the composition.

Can I use lubricants when placing the cup?

-Yeah . Water-based lubricants are ideal, but it is necessary to use only what is necessary, otherwise the cup will not create the vacuum that keeps it fixed in the vaginal canal.

Can I share the menstrual cup?

No no and no!  Just as a used tampon is not reused, menstrual collectors are not shared.

This measure is necessary to reduce the chances of vaginal infections through the transmission of germs. The cup must be for personal use and that’s it.

Can my vagina get wider when using the collector?

No . The vagina is elastic, it is naturally programmed to widen and then narrow. In addition, the collectors are made of flexible silicone to adapt perfectly to your vaginal canal, and not the opposite.

Who uses IUD (Intra Uterine Device) can use collector?

-Yeah . However, care must be redoubled, as when removing the menstrual collector the woman may accidentally pull one of the IUD wires.

Use vaginal ring. Can I use the menstrual cup?

-Yeah . The vaginal ring is positioned very close to the cervix, while the collector is close to the vaginal entrance.

Unfortunately, the vaginal ring is at risk of loosening with any internal product that the woman uses, so it is always necessary to visit the gynecologist regularly.

If I sleep with the collector, will the blood return to the uterus? This is bad?

No . The muscles of the uterus are constantly contracting during menstruation to expel blood through the cervix, which is a small orifice through the blood flow.

When lying down, the blood remains in the vagina and in the region posterior to the cervix, but does not return to the uterus due to the inclination of the cervix and the constant flow of blood.

The blood that is collected there is not dangerous, as it is clean. The flow only becomes propitious to cause infections when the air comes in contact, which is not the case of the collector. Therefore, there is no evidence that this is harmful to women.

Can the collector cause endometriosis?

No . Endometriosis is the disease where the blood returns through the tube and settles in different regions of the abdominal cavity. As the collector does not make the blood get stuck in the body and much less come back, it has nothing to do with the disease.

Does the menstrual cup serve as a contraceptive?

No . The menstrual collector, only serves what the name suggests: collect menstruation. Whoever uses the collector to prevent pregnancy or the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, is highly mistaken.

During menstruation, the risk of becoming pregnant is lower, but it is recommended to always use a contraceptive method indicated by the gynecologist.

Can I use the collector to contain the vaginal discharge?

No . The collector was built and tested to collect the menstrual cycle, so it is not recommended to use it for any other purpose.

Does the menstrual cup increase the risk of urinary tract infection?

No . Those who take a stand against the menstrual collector tend to spread fallacies about it, one of which is that the collector increases the risk of urinary tract infections. However, there is no relationship between urinary infections and the menstrual cup.

Does the cup get in the way of urinating?

Not at all . Urine exits the urethra while the collector is inserted into the vaginal canal. That is, the collector does not interfere with anything when urinating.

How do you know if the glass is full?

There is no “X” or “Y” time to know if your cup is full or not. Over time, the woman learns when to empty her glass. This is due to the difference between each woman’s menstrual cycle.

In the beginning, if the woman has a high flow, she can perform the change every 6 hours, until it is observed how long it takes to fill the collector.

Who takes hormonal contraceptives can use the menstrual cup?

Yes, of course . If the woman menstruates, there is no problem.

What is the best brand of menstrual collector?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question . It is necessary to study the specifications that each brand can offer, if it fits your needs and if your body adapts to the model.

It is important to buy only new products that are sealed, be wary of sites that offer the product with the value far below the market. Opt for national brands, this ensures that all hygienic procedures have been carried out.

How much does a menstrual cup cost?

The disposable models cost an average of 20 reais each, while the non-disposable ones are in the range of 80 to 100 reais, depending on the brand.

So, after all you’ve learned, will you want to try the newest darling of women? It has several advantages and promises to make women more confident to carry out day-to-day activities.

Share with your friends, and don’t forget to go to the gynecologist frequently!

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