Menstrual Cups

Why (I believe) you shouldn’t buy “Chinese Cheapies”

Everyone wants a bargain, not everyone has cash to spare  – I’m quite budget conscious myself.  I get it.  But sometimes paying a bit extra is worth it.

There are a LOT of places selling really cheap cups.  As in under $2 “cheap”.  Other brands can cost $40 or more.  For that kind of price, who wouldn’t want to spend just $2 compared to paying 20x that price!

But cheap isn’t always best.  There are a few things to consider –

1) Is the cup design a good one for you?

2) Is the material safe?

3) Do you want to support a good brand or support a dodgy one?

The thing is, a menstrual cup is really an investment.  A menstrual cup should last around 10 years.  So you’re talking about the more expensive menstrual cups costing about $4 PER YEAR or less, tampons would cost you more than that per month.  Even the most expensive cup is a MASSIVE saving on using tampons. I don’t know about you, but I consider my vagina is worth more than $4 a year to keep happy and healthy. I don’t want to be shoving anything up there for long periods of time unless I’m fairly confident that there will be no long-term side effects of that.  Cervical cancer is something I’d like to avoid and IMHO putting something of unknown and potentially dodgy composition up close to your cervix for 12 hours a day may not be a sensible idea.

At the end of the day, buy what you want – but I want to make sure people are aware of what they are buying and thinking about factors other than the price.  If you’re buying to donate to impoverished women, or buying for a friend – consider their vaginal health too.

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | Cup Related, news | 2 Comments

Rebranding?

I wanted to address this issue, as it seems to be relevant in many cases of the newer cup brands that keep popping up, and I wanted to make consumers aware of the possibility of this practice.

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September 13, 2016 Posted by | Cup Related | | Leave a comment

Cup Quiz and Insertion Video

I found this interesting cup quiz!  It asks a few questions and suggests a cup that might be suitable for you. (I got Lena when I did it).

http://putacupinit.com/quiz

 

That site also has a great video of inserting a menstrual cup, using an anatomical model.

http://putacupinit.com/an-inside-look-at-menstrual-cups

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Cup Related, news, Using a cup | 1 Comment

Menstrual Cup Timeline

Making a timeline of “Menstrual Cup” inventions depends on what you consider to be a menstrual cup.  For the purpose of this list, I’ll consider anything that is:  fully internal, self-supporting, capable of holding its shape and capable of holding menstrual fluid on its own.  There have been devices that were similar to a menstrual cup but had external collection pouches and other features that I would not consider to be a “menstrual cup”.  This list includes cups that have been patented but may never have been produced, as well as cups that have been (or continue to be) available to purchase commercially.

1903-coke-US737258-0_web 1903 – Inventor: Coke & Mallalieu
This first of the early designs to actually hold the menstrual blood itself, I would consider this to be the first of the “Menstrual Cups”. Longer and slimmer by appearance, it would seem to have an internal lip to help limit leakage, and the diagram and instructions talk of a ball which floated ontop of the blood, and formed a seal against the internal lip when the cup was full.
https://www.google.com/patents/US737258
1907_nelson_US854593-0_web 1907 – Inventor: Nelson
This patent mentions the device being worn during menstruation, and uses the term “cup” – so I presume it was intended to be used as a menstrual cup-like device and was able to collect menstrual blood. The little string coming from the bottom of the cup was for attaching to a belt (perhaps to stop the feeling of it getting lost)
https://www.google.com/patents/US854593
1914_Jorgenson_US1113561-0_web 1914 – Inventor: Jorgenson
This rather uncomfortable sounding metal (aluminium) receptacle was believed to hold position better in the vagina than the rubber versions previously patented.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1113561
1918_Norquist_US1263797-0_web 1918 – Inventor: Norquist
This design is starting to get closer to what we think of as a modern cup.  The image here shows it side on, as it has a curved shape and ring grip on the base.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1263797
1932_goddard_US1891761-0_web 1932 – Inventor: Goddard
This patent is said to be used for the Daintette and Foldene cups.  So it may be the first cup design to be commercially viable.  Patented for the “Cokzene” company, perhaps this cup was the Foldene?
https://www.google.com/patents/US1891761
1935_hagedorn_US1996242-0_web 1935 – Inventor: Hagedorn
This patent is also referenced for the Daintette and Foldene cups.  The only differences I can see with this and the above cup are the addition of channels (#15) in the wall of the cup and perhaps there were no airholes in the Goddard version as they are mentioned in this patent but not in the other.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1996242
1937_chalmers_US2089113-0_web 1937 – Inventor: Chalmers
Commonly claimed to be the first menstrual cup as we know it, although as you can see, the above cups predate this.  The Keeper and subsequent “modern” cups do however have a shape closer to this cup.
https://www.google.com/patents/US2089113
1950_chalmers_US2534900-0_small2 1950 – Inventor: Chalmers
This patent talks of using a thin rubber with strengthening ribs around the top of the cup and spiraling around the inside.  Intended to be made from much thinner material than her previous design.  Flat tab stem with a hole in it for threading a string onto. The back of this cup was flattened and thicker than the rest of the cup, said to help keep it in place without tipping.  This design also included an air vent (tube) running from the rim of the cup to the base, to help equalize pressure.
http://www.google.com/patents/US2534900
1952_gordon_US2616426-0_web 1952 – Inventor: Gordon
This cup was designed to fit “sideways” like an Insteads Softcup does.
https://www.google.com/patents/US2616426
1968_waldren_tasette_US3404682-0_web 1968 – Inventor: Waldron
This cup was created for the Tassette brand, and would be the disposable “Tassaway” cup they brought out, after their reusable Tassette (which appeared to be the same as the Chalmers cup) didn’t prove cost effective to produce.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3404682
1971_Waldron_Tassaway_US3626942-1_web 1971 – Inventor: Waldron
A slight modification to the above Tassaway menstrual cup, adding stabilising ribs to the bottom of the cup and removing the centre ring.  This design appears to have also made the cup cheaper to produce.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3626942
1974_zoller_US3845766-1_web 1974 – Zoller
I’ve not been able to find reference for this cup anywhere, so it may never have been produced.  Which is a shame, as it looks interesting!  The wavy lines were said to help the cup grip the vaginal walls.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3845766
1986_china_small 1986 – Unknown (Chinese)
This cup has a very long body, designed to be emptied via a hollow tube stem with a stopper on the end to seal it. Presumably the idea was for the stem to protrude out of the vagina so that it could be emptied cleanly. Patent expired in 1992. See full patent info (in Chinese) including pictures here.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN85201219U.

1988 – Inventor: Cattanach (“Gyneaseal” – No patent image available) An Australian balloon-like menstrual flow collection device. Referenced at the Powerhouse Museum & Museum of Menstruationhttps://www.google.com/patents/EP0236457A4http://worldwide.espacenet.com

1992_keeper_USD323212-1_web 1992 – Inventor: Crawford
This patent for a Keeper cup says “showing my new design”. But I could not find an earlier patent. The Keeper was first sold in  1987.  So it may mean the new design compared to previously patented cups from other inventors, or this could be a design of the Keeper that was never put into production.  I have never seen a Keeper in this style.
https://www.google.com/patents/USD323212
1994_contente_US5295984-5_web 1994 – Contente, Rose, Potter
This is the design for the Softcup – made for the Ultrafem company, revised in another patent.  The same cup design was later patented for the Insteads company, after Ultrafem went out of business. Interestingly the patents refer to the product being created for the application of drugs or hormones, and the use for menstrual blood collection is only a minor secondary use.  Patent expired 2013
https://www.google.com/patents/US5295984
1997_chinese_small 1997 – Inventor: Unknown (Chinese)
An “inflatable” menstrual cup with pump. Presumably inserted and then inflated to the desired size to ensure a good fit. The patent doesn’t indicate if the pump is removable or not (I suspect not). Patent expired in 2000.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN2260593Y
See original submitted patent (in Chinese) here.
1998-keeper-US5827248-1_web 1998 – Inventor:  Crawford
Another Keeper patent, this one providing various methods for emptying the cup while leaving the cup in place.  As well as showing the standard Keeper design without the ability to empty the cup via the stem (referenced as an exemplary prior art menstrual cup.)  None of the stem-emptying designs ever seem to have been put into production.  Patent expired 2010.
https://www.google.com/patents/US5827248

2000 – Mooncup UK

2003_zadini_US06540728_web 2003 – Inventor:  Zadini
An inflatable menstrual cup.  The patent also shows alternative versions.  Doesn’t seem to have ever been produced though.  Patent expired 2007
https://www.google.com/patents/US6540728
https://www.google.com/patents/US6746432

2004 – Lunette

2006 – Moon Cup USA

2007 – Femmecup & Yuuki

2008 – Alicia/Hygina, Diva Cup, Lady Cup, Miacup, MPower

2008_Diva_US20080077097A1_web 2008 – Inventor:   Chambers & Chambers
Made for the Diva Cup company, although Diva had been on sale since 2004 (presumably under a “patent pending” status, since the patent was submitted in 2004)
https://www.google.com/patents/US20080077097

2009 – Fleurcup, Green Donna*, MeLuna, Cheers Cup Concept Design.

2010 – Iriscup, Miss Cup/Inciclo, Naturcup, Shecup

2010_sheu_US20100312204A1_small 2010 – Inventor: Miin-Tsang Sheu
This cup design features a reusable outer cup, with a disposable inner “bag” – the idea being that the disposable bag can be added so that it can be removed and the cup wouldn’t need to be cleaned before being used again.  The patent doesn’t explain whether the bag would be flushable or not, it just says it is disposable and replaceable.  Doesn’t seem to have been in production.
https://www.google.com/patents/US20100312204
2011_lee_PCTKR2010004860_web2 2011 – Inventor: Gook Hoon Lee

Spill proof menstrual cup.  Allows blood to flow through into the body of the cup, but not back out again (though how would you empty it easily?).  I’ve not seen a cup with this design – so I don’t think it was ever produced.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2011013954A2

2010_Chinese01_small 2010 – Inventor:  Unknown (Chinese)
This cup looks similar to the Keeper/Mooncup design.  The patent was granted in 2010 but in 2012 there was a cessation (meaning they no longer own the patent right).  Could be because they didn’t pay to keep it patented? See original submission (in Chinese) with picture here.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN201481625U

2011 – Cup Lee, Juju, Mialuna, Naturalmama, SiBell

2012 – Amulette*, Bella Cup, Female Cup*, Femmycycle, Jasmine*, Lila Cup, Lily Cup, Mami Cup, Organicup, Ruby Cup

2012_lilycompact_small 2012 – Lily Cup Compact
This seems to be the patent for the folding Lily Cup Compact.  The original patent is in Chinese, so the google patent page has a translation. You can see the diagram for this patent in the original submission here (in Chinese) here
http://www.google.com/patents/CN202235938U

2013 – Angel Cup, Copita, Eco Cup/Lybera, La Maleta Roja, Farmacup, Femicup*, Luna Cup, Luv Ur Body, Magga Cup, Sckoon Cup, Victoria Love

2013_Bouhadana_small 2013 – Bouhadana
This cup design was intended for menstrual use as well as for dispensing medications to the vagina. The cup can be emptied via the stem without removing the cup. The stem appears to loop back upon itself as a method for stopping the cup emptying, and straightening this section is how you would drain the cup. See original patent here
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2013108249A1
2014_amycup_small 2014 – Inventor: Pitacco & Coretti
This appears to be the patent for the Amy Cup menstrual cup with applicator. The original patent with artwork can be found here.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014015975A1
2014-femmycycle-US08795248_web 2014 – Inventor:   Shihata
Designed for Femmycycle. Non-spill rim design that prevents spillage when emptying as well as helping prevent backflow of menstrual blood.
https://www.google.com/patents/US8795248
2014_zhangyang_PCTCN2012083408_web 2014 – Zhang & TangPatented 2 lots of designs for a menstrual cup with hollow stem & stopper.  Also designs for what appears to be the  “Victoria Love” cup with openings on the sides of the stem to empty the cup from, with a ball to block those openings.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014056257A1
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014056258A1
2014_shaviv_US20140012216A1-20140109-D00003_small 1903 – Inventor: Shaviv
This design talks of flexible resilient ribs connected to a reservoir bag that has an “absorbent element” on the internal walls. So I presume it is somewhat like the design of the Softcup, where the frame is harder and the material between them much softer.  Designed to be inserted with an applicator, this cup is disposable.
https://www.google.com/patents/US20140012216

2014 – Amy Cup, Aneer*, Belle Cup, Cerene/Continuon*, ClariCup, Daisy Cup*, Dutchess Cup*, Gaia Cup*, iCare*, Lamazuna, Melody Susie, Monzcare/Rainbow, My Own Cup, Pinkcopa, Silkycup,

2014/2015 – ALX*, Ava Loona*, Eva Cup, Eve Cup*, Ève Cup, Comfy Cup*, Cozy Cup*, Cup’ax*, Cupissima*,  Diamond Cup*, Dream Lover*, iClean*, Liberty Cup*, Mcup*, Playtamx*, Pretty Woman*, Well Done*, Tulip Cup, VCup,

2015 – Anytime, A Zen Cup*, Bassrose, BioIntimo, Blossom Cup*, Charlene*, Crystal Cup*, Evalina, LaLuna*, Lena, LilCup*, Luno Cup*, Smart Cup*, Super Jennie,

Unknown (suspect between 2013-2015) – Carrefour, Easy Cup, Natu, Smartcup

(*These appear to be existing/copied cups that have been given a new name)


Want to see more old patents for menstrual products (it’s fascinating!!) I’ve collected them here – https://catamenialpatents.wordpress.com

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Cup Related | 7 Comments

Menstrual Cup Stores Worldwide Map

Want to find an actual physical (“Bricks and mortar”) store that sell menstrual cups, anywhere around the world?  Well now you can!

http://menstrualcupmap.com

menstrualcupmap

The map shows stockist information from the official cup brand websites, with identifying logos for each brand to help you see which cups are available where.

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Cup Related, news | 5 Comments

Which colour menstrual cup would you prefer?

Regardless of the brand/type of cup – thinking only of the colour.  What colour (or colours) would you most want to have your ideal cup made from.

I’ll give options of just colour name, feel free to elaborate on the type of shade (dark, light, “grass green”, “aqua blue” for example) in the comments.

For clarification, by “clear” I mean completely clear – no colouring.  The other colours I’m assuming to be coloured but still transparent.  If you prefer an opaque (non-see thru) cup, please comment to specify that

— I thought this might help cup manufacturers get an idea of what colours are popular.

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Cup Related | 5 Comments

Mademoicell – for Stem cell collection

 

Mademoicell

Mademoicell was designed to collect menstrual blood to be used for stem cells.  Where you would ship the full cup to a lab to have the stem cells extracted and stored.

It is not clear whether these were actually ever commercially available, or if they were a conceptual design only

http://www.fastcompany.com/1648731/the-one-the-only-mademoicell

May 23, 2010 Posted by | Cup Related | | 2 Comments

A cup of a different kind :)

http://touchinglynaive.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/not-for-internal-use-a-crochet-mooncup/

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Cup Related | 1 Comment