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After publishing the article on creating a First Period Kit, a couple of readers asked if menstrual cups are suitable for teens, and whether I would recommend them. My instinctive response was, “I don’t see why not”, but I started doing some research, and contacted leading manufacturers of menstrual cups, to find out what their young customers had to say.
For those who are thinking, “What is a menstrual cup?”, it is a small silicone vessel that is inserted into the vagina. It collects menstrual blood and is emptied into a toilet several times a day, before being washed under clean water and re-inserted. Most manufacturers of menstrual cups make them in different sizes, and there is no physical reason that a younger girl would not be able to use one. For some girls, there may be an initial ‘ick’ factor to overcome, but that isn’t really any different to using tampons.
- Change less often – depending on how heavy the flow, you can go up to around 12 hours without emptying, which sees you through a school day
- No worrying about how to get out of class, with a tampon or pad stuffed up your sleeve, so that the teacher/boys in the class don’t see you’ve got your period
- You don’t have to change before/after sport
- Less leaks – once you get used to it, you will likely find that you have to worry less about leaking.
- No risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome – unlike tampons, menstrual cups don’t put you at risk of TSS
- No odor – because the menstrual blood is contained in the cup, there is no nasty odor to worry about
- Environmentally friendly – no adding to landfill sites with tampons or sanitary pads
- One time purchase – instead of spending money each month on san pro, you buy a menstrual cup. Most manufacturers say that you can use for many year, saving a fortune.
- Initial discomfort – they take a bit of practice to insert correctly, and require the user to be reasonably comfortable with their own body
- Removal or adjustment – some people struggle to remove the menstrual cup – here it’s important to follow instructions, and break the seal to remove.
- Emptying in public bathrooms – if you do need to empty when you are out and about, you might not have a sink in the cubicle. Some people carry a bottle of water to rinse the cup for this, or just wipe and replace.
We asked a couple of manufacturers of menstrual cups, what their young users thought of using cups.
Through our Advice Service, we know that there are lots of young girls using the Mooncup® from 11 upwards. As you may well be aware, the Size B Mooncup is designed so it can be used by younger women- of course, it very much depends on the individual’s emotional maturity, knowledge about her body & genuine desire to use a menstrual cup!
While, irrespective of age, it can take some to get accustomed to the idea of shifting habits from pads or tampons to the Mooncup, there are equally many savvy young people that have done a lot of research (usually online), and get in touch already knowing they want to use the Mooncup.
The newest LilyCup is a collapsible cup, which would be ideal for teens to pop into a school bag, for the dreaded unexpected period arrival. Here some comments from teen users of their product
“On my third day of my cycle with the lily cup compact, and I am incredibly pleased. The quality of the silicone is 5-star, and I don’t feel it at all once it’s inside! I sometimes even forget that I’m on my period! The only thing that I really struggled with at first was removal, but after using the tips that Bree from Precious Stars Pads give, insertion and removal is a breeze! Thank you Intimina for making my period easier!”
I have used this cup for 2 cycles now and let me just say…I’M IN LOVE!!! This is my first menstrual cup and I will never go back to tampons-EVER! I can leave this in all day and just empty it in the morning and before I go to bed. I’ve never had it leak and now that I’ve had some practice, insertion and removal is a breeze! It’s probably about as close as you can get to not having a period. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING UP WITH SUCH AN AMAZING PRODUCT!!!!
The reviewer mentioned above is Bree Farmer. You can check out her reviews of menstrual cups and re-usable san pro on YouTube. She is incredibly open and confident when talking about bodily functions that still make a lot of women blush. You’d think that after going through the whole pregnancy and childbirth thing, we’d be a bit less embarrassed about menstruation, but it is still a taboo subject for many women.
I particularly love this video for girls, on how to ask your mum for a menstrual cup.
Bree is still a teen herself, and has set up a business selling re-usable san pro, which you can find here.
In conclusion, the answer to the question, if menstrual cups are suitable for teens, is a resounding YES. If you think that your daughter might be interested, send her a link to Bree’s videos and let her do some research of her own!