The Unexpected History of the Menstrual Cup
We are so excited to announce our new product of menstrual cups!
With the rise in popularity of menstrual cups, you are probably just as curious as we are in where they came from and why now? Turns out patents for menstrual cups date back to the 1850s! This beats the first pads by a whole decade and even the modern tampons by a half century! These early dated patents were mostly just inventive and never quite made it to the market.
The first modernized menstrual cup, like the ones we use today, was invented in 1937 by an American actress named Leona Chalmers. Her patent of the design was made from latex rubber. But in WWII, there was a shortage of latex rubber and the company was forced to stop production. After the war, Chalmers made some improvements to her design. Back with a better product than before, the company sent thousands of samples out to nurses who recommended her product. The new product launched as “Tassette”. Tassette launched a 30 by 40 foot sign advertising as “not a tampon, not a napkin!”, being the first Times Square billboard devoted to feminine personal hygiene. This was a HUGE pivot point in feminine hygiene history. Even with advertising, women were hesitant to use the product and the idea of reusable internal protection was considered somewhat scandalous. With a limited amount of sales revenue, Chalmers' company disappeared in 1963.
“The Keeper” is a menstrual cup that was reintroduced in 1987. It is still sold today. During the 21st century, a new material of medical-grade silicone was built into the design of menstrual cups, allowing women with latex allergies to safely use the biodegradable menstrual product method. Over time there was less uncomfort in the idea of women having to empty and clean the cup after usage. People slowly started to recognize the advantages of using the menstrual cups and accepting the product.
So, back to the question- why are they popular now? Women today use them for many reasons- to reduce landfill, to spend less money, ease of use, more time between changes, or less trips to the pharmacy. There is still a struggle today to spread the word of menstrual cups. Studies show that only between 11-33 percent of women are aware of menstrual cups existence. Help us spread the word about our menstrual cups and take part in reducing the landfill caused by feminine hygiene products!
Now on how to use them…using a menstrual cup can be challenging in the beginning and it definitely takes some practice- you won’t be a pro at it right away. Once you get it down, think about not only all the landfill you will be saving, but also the money!
First, wash your hands. When ready, you will want to fold the cup in half so it resembles a taco shape in your fingers. This is called the C-Fold (see image below) and is most common, but you can also try the seven or punch-down fold. Once inserted, let the cup unfold and form. Spilling and leakage can happen when the cup has not expanded fully, so you want to make sure it's far enough in and that it is secure. One way to check this is by placing your fingertip along the rim to see if the cup is fully rounded without dents. Twist or rotate the cup if needed. Once secure, pull down slightly to create a little suction to seal it.
You can wear your cup for up to twelve hours depending on your flow. Once hour twelve hits, you’ll want to remove it. It is recommended you do this over a toilet or in the shower. Make sure your hands are clean! Your first instinct will be to pull it down and out- try to avoid this. The suction created won’t allow it to budge much and it may hurt. Use your abdominal muscles to contract and push the cup slightly out. When it is low enough, grab the cup, squeeze and wiggle it from side to side so the suction releases.
You will want to clean it between wears. This can be used with water or tissue. Be sure to use water as often as you can to clean it though. You can also use natural soaps- try to avoid scented and non natural ingredient soaps. Between cycles you can boil it in hot water to deep clean the cup. Taking care of your menstrual cup is the best way to avoid stains and discoloration on the cup.
We hope you join our journey with menstrual cups! We understand that menstrual cups still may not be ideal for everyone, so we promise to continue to offer other menstrual care options and continue to expand our product offering based on what menstruators want.