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Everything you need to know about menstrual cups – what are they made of, how do you choose and use them?

  • Why has the popularity of menstrual cups increased in recent years?
  • What is a menstrual cup made of and how do you identify a “quality” menstrual cup?
  • What are Femi.eko cups made of and what are their certifications?
  • How do you choose the right menstrual cup?
  • How do you use the menstrual cup correctly?

The menstrual cup is a hygiene product for menstruating women. In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know about it: from the materials it’s made of to how to choose and use it.

Why has the popularity of menstrual cups increased in recent years?

The menstrual cup is that flexible, bell-shaped product that follows the anatomy of the vagina. You’ll find it made from natural rubber, TPE, but more often from medical silicone. 

Eco component aside, the menstrual cup can collect more menstrual blood than tampons or pads. That means better protection and more comfort. Plus, it can be worn by people who want to continue swimming, fitness, yoga or any other sport. It can also be used by women who want to enjoy their holidays or by young women who want to get rid of the stress of spotting. 

Used and stored correctly, the menstrual cup lasts up to 5 years. It will provide protection for up to 60 periods.

What is the menstrual cup made of and how do you identify the “quality” one?

A menstrual cup can be made from natural rubber, silicone, latex or elastomer (a substance of natural or synthetic origin that has both plastic and elastic properties similar to rubber).

There are even disposable cups. They are not so popular, however, because one of the undoubted advantages of using a cup (saving money) disappears. 

Going back to the material the cups are made of, you’ll see that most models are made of silicone. Although most manufacturers will mention that their models are made of silicone, you won’t find the words “medical grade, biocompatible silicone” on all of them, but you should look for it for your own safety.

Medical grade silicone is used to manufacture pharmaceuticals and implant devices. As there are different types of silicone (including in medicine) it is important for the user to know that the one from which the cup is made, a device worn inside the body, is of the category that allows it to be put inside the body for several hours. 

The term “medical grade” applies to silicones that meet three requirements, here they are below:

  • a long history of successful implantation in both animals and humans,
  • manufacture under pharmaceutical conditions,
  • quality control for medical applications: ISO13485:2016.

So look on the manufacturer’s website and on the packaging of the products you buy. Look for the statement that the silicone used is medical grade, biocompatible/non-releasing molecules into the body.

What are Femi.eko cups made of and what are their certifications?

In the case of menstrual cups Femi.eko we chose to use a special German quality silicone. It is called ELASTOSIL and meets the highest quality standards. 

Femi.eko cups and the material they are made of have certifications that they are safe to use:

  • ISO 13485:2016 – certificate showing the menstrual cup as a medical device, 
  • ISO 14001 for ELASTOSIL demonstrating commitment to continuous improvement and reducing environmental impact,
  • CE- is the Europeans Union approval and marking that indicates a product has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements.
  • FDA- is the USAs approval and marking. It is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; 
  • ISO 10993 In Vitro Cytotoxicity Testing: Ensuring the Biocompatibility of Your Medical Device – additional testing, done on request,
  • RoHs Report – proving that the product is free from contamination.
  • MSDS, SGS, etc. 

Thus, the Femi.eko cups are:

  • Biocompatible
  • Biodurable: thermally and chemically stable
  • Sterilisable for repeated use (steam, y-ray, ethylene oxide)
  • Resistant to repeated use
  • Do not support the growth of bacteria

You can consult the full list of brand certifications on the website, under each product (HERE)

Are there people allergic to silicone?

Although very rare, cases of silicone allergy do exist. They manifest themselves in swelling of the skin, itching and redness. The chances of a woman being allergic to silicone are very small. The less likely the manufacturer uses medical grade silicone, which has been tested and approved beforehand.

What are the advantages of using a menstrual cup?

As we show you here, the menstrual cup has multiple benefits.

With its help, a woman is much at liberty during menstruation. She can continue the activities she enjoys (swimming, skiing, yoga, etc.) and will end up spending much less on hygiene products.

Calculations show that a menstrual cup pays for itself in less than 3 months, saving 7 times its value afterwards.

Of course, not to be neglected is the eco factor. With the help of a menstrual cup, tons of biological waste that would normally be difficult to manage is kept out of landfill.

By using one menstrual cup one woman prevents over 11,000 pads/tampons from being thrown away. Multiply that figure by all the menstruating women in the world and you’ll see why switching to a menstrual cup will really make a difference!

In addition, let’s not forget that during the process to produce cotton pads and absorbents, millions of cubic metres of water end up being polluted. 

How do you choose the right menstrual cup?

The main thing that matters is the type of cervix, whether you gave birth (vaginal) and your age. 

Of all the above criteria, the type of cervix is the most important.

The cervix is where blood comes out when we are menstruating and where an intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted. To the touch it is a rounded area at the end of your vagina that feels like the tip of your nose. 

There are several types of cervix: low, medium or high. The cervix descends during menstruation and rises during ovulation, so if you want to use a menstrual cup, it’s best to measure the cervix on bleeding days.

How do we measure the cervix?

We’ll wash our hands thoroughly and insert our index finger into the vagina looking for that lift I mentioned above. 

We will then remove the finger measuring in centimetres how much of the finger we managed to insert until we reached the cervix.

Here is the interpretation below:

  • 0 – 44 mm: low cervix
  • 45 – 55 mm: medium cervix
  • over 55 mm: high cervix

For women in the second category (medium cervix) the use of the cup will be the easiest, as will its choice. They will most likely be able to use almost any type of cup.

In the case of Femi.eko cups, size A (26 ml) and B (32 ml) are equally suitable. You make your selection according to your preferred size, but also according to the length of the cup and the capacity you are looking for. 

Women with high cervixes need longer cups (with longer tails or rings for attachment). You may feel you have to “fish” the cup out when you take it out, as it has risen during wear. 

In the case of Femi.eko cups, size B is best suited for a high cervix.

As well as women with high cervixes, those with low cervixes will need specially designed cups or can choose a menstrual disc.

How do you use the menstrual cup correctly?

The menstrual cup is a device that must be sterilised before each (first) use during a period and after the bleeding days are over.

Its sterilization is best done using dedicated sterilizing machines or by boiling in water for 5 minutes. 

Between cycles, the cup is stored in its special bag. 

You should NOT use a menstrual cup if: 

You have burning, rashes, sore or sore genital area, or pain or discomfort during urination

How long can I wear a menstrual cup?

We recommend wearing for up to 12 hours. The cup should be emptied at least twice a day or every 8 to 10 hours. If you have a heavy flow, you may need to empty it more often. This prevents leakage.

Is it normal to feel pain while using the menstrual cup?

You should have no pain when using a menstrual cup if you choose the right size that corresponds to your cervix type.

The only time you may feel slight discomfort is when inserting the cup for the first time or when removing it (especially if you have a high cervix and the cup you choose is too small).

The Femi.Eko® menstrual cup is specially designed to be comfortable, made of very soft medical silicone, smooth to the touch and anatomically shaped, making it even more comfortable to wear, even if you’re a first-time user.

Conclusion

Menstrual cups are modern devices that allow adult women and teenagers to live a free life without interrupting their favourite activities because of menstruation.

Choosing a cup made of good quality materials and following the steps indicated in the user manuals ensures success, even for women used to other types of menstrual products.

The use of cups saves money and is an important step towards sustainability and environmental protection.

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