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Can teenagers use a menstrual cup?

 

Can teenagers use the menstrual cup?

The short answer is yes
BUT, I think there is a more important question:
Should we be teaching teenagers about the menstrual cup?

To that question, my answer is a resounding “YES!”

Amber, the co-founder of Saalt menstrual cups says,
“The cup can be amazing for teens. They can sleep at night without worrying about bleeding through to their sheets, and on lighter days they can go through their school day without thinking about their period. They can just empty and reinsert the cup when they wake up and forget about it until they’re back home.”

 

BIG benefits of teens learning about the menstrual cup

  1. Education around sustainablility:
    Reusable period products helps teens make more informed and eco-friendly decisions when choosing period care products. It  encourages them to think beyond just their own comfort, and look at the impact of their choices on a global scale, and how their actions can impact the condition of our world for future generations. 
    The menstrual cup is the perfect way to make sustainability and selflessness relatable.

     

  2. It gives teenagers another option to choose from:
    Whether or not a teenager chooses to use a menstrual cup, it’s important that they are aware that it is an option, and what the benefits are. Teenagers deserve to know all the options available to them. Having a range of choices for managing your period means that people’s needs can be met.
    There are more choices than ever for managing periods, including biodegradable and organic pads and tampons, reusable pads, reusable period underwear, and the menstrual cup.

 

What is the right age to start using a menstrual cup?

A teenager is able to start using a menstrual cup at whatever age, as long as they are comfortable to give it a try. 

Amber from Saalt menstrual cups says,
We’ve had many teens who use the Saalt teen cup. Some are able to make the cup work right away, while others need to be patient for several cycles to make it work. 
One thing we like to tell teens is that using the cup is not an all-or-nothing experience. It’s okay to insert the cup one centimeter the first day, and call that a win! Then the second day go for two centimeters if you’re feeling comfortable. Eventually you’ll be able to position the cup so that you can’t even feel it, and then you can be a coach to any friends who would like to join team cup. We also find it is helpful for teens to understand what a hymen is and how very different each hymen can be in thickness, form, and elasticity.”

The Saalt TEEN cup

It can be much easier to use a smaller cup designed for teens when starting with a cup.
The Saalt teen cup is a favourite of mine because:

  • It’s smaller than most cups, making it less intimidating
  • It has a longer stem for easier removal
  • It is made of a soft silicone, but not too soft, making it more comfortable but also ensuring it will stay in place

Here is a comparison between the Saalt TEEN cup and their small/regular sizes:

How to teach teens about the menstrual cup

Teaching teenagers to understand the cup can be tricky if you feel like you don’t completely understand how it works yourself. 
I recommend joining The Saalt cup academy group on facebook, where many cup users are sharing their experience with using the menstrual cup. I found reading through the posts on this page before trying the Saalt cup for myself made my experience so much easier!

 

1. Playlist of menstrual cup tutorials

I’ve made a playlist of helpful cup tutorials on YouTube.
Watching videos helped me to succeed with the cup as I knew what to expect and how to overcome obstacles!

2. Bright Girl Health school presentations on menstrual hygiene

As part of Bright Girl Health, I travel to schools and teach girls all about period hygiene (including cups), the menstrual cycle and their hormones. I’d love to come and speak to your students!

Click here to read more about Bright Girl Health school presentations

Click here to inquire about a presentation for your school

SCHOOL MENSTRUAL HEALTH PRESENTATIONS


Period cups are awesome and will LITERALLY save the planet

The menstrual cup offers more than just a convenient way to manage your period and a longer wear time than a tampon (it can be worn for up to 12 hours before being changed. 8 hours is the recommended time in Australia).

Switching to a period cup makes a BIG environmental impact.

The average menstruator throws away around 11,000 pads and tampons over their lifetime. 

Billions of pads and tampons are disposed of each year.
The waste from these sanitary products either:

  • Ends up in our oceans, rivers and streams
  • Pollutes beaches and the environments of marine life
  • Emits toxic fumes when burned in our waste system
  • Is left exposed in landfill, where conventional (not biodegradable) pads and tampons do not break down for hundreds of years.

Teen really care about the environment. 
After speaking to thousands of teenagers for years about periods, I’ve learned that taking care of the planet is a big area of importance for them when choosing their period products.

Products mentioned:

 

References:

Elledge, M.F., Muralidharan, A., Parker, A., Ravndal, K.T., Siddiqui, M., Toolaram, A.P., and Woodward, K.P. (2018). Menstrual Hygiene Management and Waste Disposal in Low and Middle Income Countries-A Review of the Literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(11). doi: 10.3390/ijerph15112562.

Kaur, R., Kaur, K., & Kaur, R. (2018). Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2018, 1730964. http://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1730964Tolland Development Company. (1999). Tampon. United States of America. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6264972B1/en

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