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Talking about menstrual cups: a how-to

Talking about menstrual cups: a how-to

Periods aren’t fun to talk about. Why is that? (Definitely another post for another time) For a woman, it’s a normal bodily function just like breathing, eating, sneezing or snoring. All these things happen every single day and we don’t feel awkward (OK, maybe the snoring). You may feel doubly uncomfortable talking about a product that may not be as well known or is “out of the norm” for periods and menstruation. We get it! (We get weird looks when we are asked what we do for work, ha!) Here are some helpful tips for when you’re talking about menstrual cups. 

holding menstrual cup

What are menstrual cups?

If you’re going to explain it to someone, you’ll feel most comfortable if you know exactly what it is you’re talking about, right? Here’s a quick refresh. Menstrual cups are egg-shaped cups typically made from medical-grade silicone that are inserted into the vagina. They collect menses and can be worn for up to 12 hours, safely. If you’re casually talking about it, all the detail may not be necessary…

“A menstrual cup is an alternative to tampons and pads. They are better for your body and eco-friendly.”

If they push for more detail or “Wait, how do they work?” you can quickly say, “It’s inserted in the vagina and collects your period mess!”

Menstrual cups aren’t just a fad

Even though menstrual cups have recently gained popularity, they have actually been around for nearly 100 years! Tampons and pads took the spotlight in the 1970s because they were a disposable product. Up until that point, most women still used rags and other reusable cloths to soak up menses. If I had only known washcloths and wads of fabric in my underwear, I would leap at a throw-away product too! Women working outside the home became increasingly popular in the 1970s as well which would make reaching for a tampon even more appealing. 

menstrual cup

What should I say when I’m talking about menstrual cups? 

Whenever we’re excited about something new, we always talk about what we love first, right? So here are some super easy and quick perks when talking about menstrual cups.

Period cups are eco-friendly. Menstrual cups save nearly 250 tampons (and plastic applicators) from entering the landfills, per woman, per year!

They are healthier. Tampons are linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). This is no mystery. Recently, however, tampons have been the discussion of vaginal flora and disturbing the pH balance in the vagina. We talked about that recently. Menstrual cups do not soak up anything, they just collect. So this doesn’t mess up your vaginal balance. 

Menstrual cups save you money. A typical box of tampons is $7, and that’s not even the really nice, organic ones. In two months time your Pixie Cup will have nearly paid for itself. 

They are convenient. Menstrual cups can be safely left in the vagina for up to 12 hours. This was a mind-blowing fact for me! I was used to getting maybe 3 or 4 hours out of a tampon and I felt like I was a slave to toting them around during my period. 

We’re here for you

Here at Pixie Cup, we believe in period freedom for all women. Our company was founded on that very fact. This is the breath and backbone of everything we do here and with our Buy One, Give One program we do just that. Every time a Pixie Cup is purchased, we donate one to a woman in need. So really, you not only changed your life, but you changed someone else’s too. How’s that for a fact?  

How did you break the ice with your boyfriend, girlfriend, BFF or coworker? We would love to hear the story. If you’re still on the fence regarding switching to a menstrual cup, hopefully, we’ve made the idea of “the conversation” easier! Head over to our store to see the different styles + sizes. If you’re questioning which one is best for you, we have that covered too

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Is Pixie Cup FDA Approved?

Is Pixie Cup FDA Approved?

Customers often ask us if Pixie Cup is FDA Approved. In this post, we’ll chat about the ins and outs including what FDA Approval actually means. 

FDA Approved Pixie Cup

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for telling us which foods, drugs, and medical devices are safe for us to use. And while we assume that anything that’s been cleared or approved by the FDA has been rigorously tested, that’s not always true. We value transparency and want to debunk myths by outlining everything between the FDA and menstrual cups!

What is FDA Approval? 

FDA Approval happens (or doesn’t happen) when a company registers their product with the FDA. A mountain of paperwork is submitted, and the FDA conducts rigorous inspections of concept, manufacturing, ingredients, and materials. 

“FDA approved” means that the agency has determined that the “benefits of the product outweigh the known risks for the intended use.” Manufacturers must submit a premarket approval (PMA) application and the results of clinical testing in order to get approval.

What does the FDA regulate?

For the most part, the Food and Drug Administration evaluates the safety of:

  • Prescription drugs for humans and animals
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Biologics (e.g. vaccines, blood products, biotechnology products)
  • Dietary supplements (not all are subject to FDA regulation)
  • Medical devices (everything from menstrual cups to pacemakers)
  • Surgical implants
  • Food additives
  • Cosmetics
  • Products that give off radiation (e.g. X-rays, microwave ovens)
  • Tobacco products
  • Infant formula

What about menstrual cups?

The FDA allows companies to piggyback off other concepts if they can prove their product does the same job as a competitor and that the manufacturing, packaging, and ingredients are FDA Approved; this is called FDA Cleared. [or 501(k)] Menstrual cups are considered a Class II medical device, meaning it is inserted into the body but doesn’t aid or perform surgery or sustain life.

FACT: No menstrual cup on the market has been officially FDA Approved.

Most of them are officially FDA Cleared, however. Let’s take a quick look at how the Food & Drug Administration regulates tampons, pads, and menstrual products in general. 

protest menstrual products
Al Drago/The New York Times

As the rise for health and wellness continues in recent years, women are seeking out more information about what exactly goes into our bodies. (yay for us!) And with that, we’ve started to question what’s in tampons and pads. An article in the New York Times hits the topic hard. Because up to this point, the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to put ingredients on the packaging of disposable menstrual products. There is currently a bill in legislation about transparency in tampons + pad ingredients.

If you’re curious as to what’s actually been found in mainstream tampons and pads, our friends at MadeSafe have put together all the specifics.

infographic tampons and pads

Is Pixie Cup FDA Approved?

We have gone above and beyond to make sure our manufacturers maintain a level of safety and excellence. They undergo annual unannounced inspection and audit to ensure quality and safety standards are still in place. We, at Pixie Cup, are the specification developers and have to complete the application process to be FDA Cleared for sale in the USA. Our manufactures and packagers also have to be FDA Approved. The approval process for them is more rigorous as their facilities have to maintain FDA standards.

Here at Pixie Cup, we only use medical-grade silicone. Medical grade silicone is approved by the FDA for its biocompatibility, which means it’s safe to be inserted inside the body without any risks. So while the cup itself may not be FDA Approved, the material we use is. The medical-grade silicone that we use for our Pixie Cups is hypoallergenic and latex-free, so it’s safe for people with latex allergies. Silicone is also non-porous, which means that it’s resistant to bacterial growth. That being said, it’s still extremely important to make sure that you keep your cup as clean as possible and wash it every time you use it.

https://youtu.be/Wtdf8pLEdFg

When using your menstrual cup regularly, be sure to maintain cleanliness and sterilize your cup appropriately and regularly so it’s the best condition possible! If you’re new to using a menstrual cup, you will soon realize all the benefits and freedom that comes along with them!

We’re in this together.

Here at Pixie Cup, everything we do is geared towards making an impact for the better. Every time someone purchases a Pixie Cup, we donate one to a woman in need through our Buy One, Give One program. 

On top of that, we care about YOU too! We care about your satisfaction and that’s why we have our 100% Happiness Guarantee. If for any reason you aren’t totally thrilled with your PIxie Cup purchase, we will refund you. Along with that is our transparency — please feel free to contact us regarding any questions you may have. We’re here to help!

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Benefits of Using a Menstrual Cup

Benefits of Using a Menstrual Cup

girl holding menstrual cup

Many women are switching to menstrual cups because not only are they better for the environment, but also for health + wellbeing! Continue reading to learn more about the revolutionary period care and the benefits of using a menstrual cup.

What is a menstrual cup?

Aren’t sure what a menstrual cup is? It’s a flexible cup designed for use inside the vagina during your period to collect menstrual blood. The cup actually collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it as tampons or pads do. Menstrual cups are commonly made of 100% medical grade silicone. They’re flexible and easy to care for.

How do I use a menstrual cup?

If you’ve used tampons for years, you’ll likely be able to adjust to a menstrual cup with ease. For the pad-only users, it may take a little getting used to but you’ll get the hang of it! Here are some simple instructions:

  1. First off, wash your hands well.
  2. We suggest applying a water-based lubricant (like our Pixie Cup Lube) to help make insertion easy and comfortable. Apply the lubricant to the rim of the cup. 
  3. Tightly fold the menstrual cup in half, holding it in one hand with the rim facing up. (Here are some folding techniques)
  4. Insert the cup, rim up, into your vagina like you would a tampon but without the applicator. It should sit a few inches below your cervix.
  5. Once the cup is in your vagina, grab the stem and rotate it. This will help it spring open to create an airtight seal that stops your cup from leaking

What are the health benefits of using a menstrual cup?

We’ve recently discussed how tampons can contribute to vaginal dryness. When your vagina is dryer than usual, it can become a breeding ground for bacterial overgrowth, which may disturb the delicate pH and bacterial balance in your vagina. Ultimately this could lead to an infection. Your menstrual cup doesn’t disturb your natural fluids and flora in the vagina and does not soak up anything. 

Tampons are linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which happens when a substance is in the body for too long. A menstrual cup holds menses in the silicone cup as opposed to having it continually touch the vaginal walls. Our friend, Meg, gives a great explanation of TSS in her YouTube video.

Menstrual cups are eco-friendly!

This is a pretty hot topic regarding the benefits of a menstrual cup these days! The average woman uses 5 tampons a day during her period. That combined with the number of days in your period, multiplied by the number of years the typical woman menstruates equals thousands of tampons or pads in the landfill. Ack! 

5 tampons x 5 days x 35 years (average menopause starting at age 50) = 10,500

Menstrual cups can last up to 10 years if properly taken care of! That means that 1 single menstrual cup can save up to 3,500 tampons/pads being sent to landfills. That number really puts it into perspective, huh? And when the menstrual cup’s life has come to an end, all you have to do is throw it into your wood stove or have a ceremonial burning at the next bonfire. It burns to simple ash that is completely biodegradable. 

tell me more giph

How convenient are menstrual cups?

Girl, pull up a chair! A tampon holds 5ml of fluid when it’s completely maxed out. Our Pixie Cups come in three sizes. Here is a great visual: 

menstrual cup capacity

Small – holds 25ml | Large – holds 30ml | XL – holds 35ml

That means you can literally go hours between changes. It depends on your flow, but technically you can safely go 12 hours before you empty your menstrual cup. 

Hot yoga class? Go sweat it out.

Are you training for a marathon? This period protection has your back.  

Spending the day at the beach? Pack the sunscreen, but don’t pay any attention to Aunt Flo!

On a budget? Another benefit of a menstrual cup is it’s a purchase you make once a decade. No more last-minute runs to the gas station convenience store or sending your boyfriend to buy your pads. It’s one less thing you have to scramble cash for every month. 

One of the things most women hate during their periods is how “dirty” or “gross” they feel. Not only are your hormones raging and you’re potentially bloated, but you smell. Even if no one else can pick up an odor, you can. And that’s honestly what matters most: YOU BEING CONFIDENT. Because a menstrual cup holds your menses completely airtight in the vagina, there is no odor that comes sneaking out. If you have an issue with your menstrual cup leaking, we have some tips and tricks to help with that. 

No more surprises!

If you are tracking your period regularly, via an app on your phone or by bullet journaling, you probably have a really good idea of when your period is going to arrive. Gone are the days of hyper-packing your purse or backpack just in case your period surprises you. If you use a period cup, you can place it in the morning and go about your day — if Aunt Flo visits, you’re already prepared for her!

How has using a period cup changed your life? Gals are switching all the time. Share with us your ideas on living free and uninhibited. Don’t take out word for it; here are 10 women who share how making the switch has made their lives better.

If you don’t have a menstrual cup yet, head over to our store. If you’re looking for some direction on which cup is best for you, we’ll help you there too. ❤️

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