Menstrual Cups

Winny Cup

While I said I wasn’t going to individually list rebranded cups any more, I will when one is particularly newsworthy….. and that’s Winny Cup.

winnycup

While the cup itself is nothing unusual – it appears to be yet another rebranding of the short stemmed cups with lines around the top (eg. Blossom Cup, Dutchess Cup, Charlene, Athena, Lola etc. etc. etc.) – There are some points on their website that are worth mentioning (because, you know… I like being a bit snarky sometimes…. maybe it’s because I’ve got my period [I don’t, but according to the articles on the site I’m totally justified to be crazy and angry if I’m on my period, so hey, why not use it as an excuse!]).

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November 29, 2016 Posted by | news, The Cups | | 1 Comment

Changes to the Cup listings

It is becoming very difficult and time consuming to list each brand separately on this site, as many of the new ones coming onto the market appear to be the same cup design given a different name (“Rebranding“). This also makes things very confusing in both how I’m going to list them on the site (lots of duplicating info) and for you to find information about the cups.

So from now on I will focus just on just individually listing the “unique” cups (designs not similar to any other existing cups) in separate posts, and all the suspected rebrandings and cups that look the same as other cups already listed, won’t receive individual pages.  These will still be linked in the cup list on the side menu.

There is also now a MASTER CUP BRAND LIST – with all cup brands listed by uniqueness and stem type.

 

Cups I’ve recently been made aware of but haven’t listed here yet:

November 16, 2016 Posted by | news | 2 Comments

New Purple LENA

LENA now comes in 3 colours!  The original pink, as well as turquoise and now purple!

It’s no secret that purple is my favourite colour, so since I also love the shape of the LENA cup, there now being purple ones makes me very happy!  The turquoise is really lovely too.

lena_allstack

My camera doesn’t really show the purple it as it appears in real-life, and it’s been horrible and overcast for days, so the lighting isn’t great – so in the photos it does look a bit more blue than purple, but it is a very lovely lavender colour.

The official photos show it accurately

image1

While the colours are pastel shades, they have a very vibrant look – with a lot of colour.  They are translucent not opaque, with a lot more depth of colour than some of the other translucent coloured cups.

lena_allline

As with the original, the boxes are 100% recycled and are printed with vegetable-based inks!

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October 18, 2016 Posted by | news, The Cups | | Leave a comment

Survey from “PATH”

I was contacted by a representative from PATH, a health organisation who is doing research into menstrual products in developing countries.  They asked me to share surveys they are doing, so that menstrual cup users can give feedback on their cup use, that may be helpful.

Hi,

My name is Celina and I’m a big fan of this forum and the supportive online community you’ve fostered. I work for PATH, a global health nonprofit based in Seattle, Washington that is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of women and children around the world.

Research suggests that without access to affordable, reliable menstrual care products, girls and women in developing countries may resort to using unhygienic alternatives like feathers, soil, strips of mattress, or old rags to absorb menstrual blood. We feel strongly that increasing menstrual hygiene options for girls and women has implications for their health, education and gender equity. PATH is interested in improving upon existing models of menstrual cups, to design an affordable product that would be appropriate for girls and women in developing countries. We’ve created three short surveys to better understand users preferences and experiences with different menstrual cups and would greatly appreciate your feedback. 

  • If you currently, or have ever used a reusable menstrual cup, you can take our 10 minute survey HERE.
  • If you currently, or have ever use a disposable menstrual cup (Instead Softcup), we’d love your feedback HERE.
  • If you currently, or have ever used a diaphragm off label as a menstrual cup, we’d love to hear from you HERE.

The more feedback we receive, the better we will understand women’s needs and preferences. Thank you for your support, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Celina”

March 16, 2016 Posted by | news, Polls | 1 Comment

Genti-She Comment

Genti-She left a comment on my Genti-she listing (3rd March 2016), to say that the http://genti-she.weebly.com site (the only website I could find for them) had been hacked and was now a hoax site:

genti-she_comment

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March 7, 2016 Posted by | news | Leave a comment

DIY Menstrual Cup Project

http://www.orangenarwhals.com/2015/11/diy-menstrual-cups-hack4fem

This seems to have been made as more of a project to see if it was possible, rather than with the intention to actually make a usable cup, but this website has an interesting article on the process of making a DIY cup!

It is worth mentioning that silicone intended for prolonged skin contact (especially used internally), should be tested for bio-compatibility to make sure it is safe, and that just because something is food-safe doesn’t mean it is safe for internal use….. so I REALLY STRONGLY recommend you DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME (not for actual use purposes anyway).  But the concept is interesting indeed!

March 3, 2016 Posted by | news | Leave a comment

Stopper Stem Cup

unnamed_stopper

Found on Alibaba (a site that sells wholesale, so I don’t know if they are available anywhere at retail prices/amounts) – this is a cup (with the same lines around the top as the Blossom/Dutchess etc. cups have) with a hollow tube stem that has an attached stopper on the end.  This would allow you to empty the cup while wearing it.

Sizes are listed as being Small: 35mm diameter, 7omm long, Large 40mm diameter, 80mm long

March 3, 2016 Posted by | news, The Cups | , | 2 Comments

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

How Are Menstrual Cups Made?

I’ll start by saying I don’t know for sure…. this is really just me thinking out loud 🙂  but lately I’ve seen a few photos of menstrual cup molds, so I think I understand the basic idea of how they are made… so because I found that interesting, I thought I’d share that with you too.  If anyone knows more about this than I do – please feel free to comment and let us know!!

I’m sure we’ve all noticed that some cups have seams on the sides, and some cups don’t.  One cup company told me that they were using a different type of mold so that they didn’t get a seam. There have also been a couple of cups produced in a “half and half” colours.  Early on, She Cup brought out a pink/purple cup (photos here) and lately there was a pink/black cup spotted on Alibaba

pink-blackcup2b

So this precise division of colour for the pink/black cup, and the fact a lot of cups have side seams seems to suggest that some cups are made in 2 halves.  In this case, 1 half has black silicone and the other half uses pink.  The SheCups were made from similar colours so the difference isn’t as striking and there seemed to have a little more blending in the 2 colours and the line where the 2 colours meet is also not vertical.  So these may not have been made in the same way.

A couple of AliExpress lisings have shown cup molds, and the Fleurity video shows another type of cup mold.  Basically it seems that the cup molds have 2 parts – something that forms the shape of the outside of the cup and something that fills up the space that will be the hollow inside of the cup – and the silicone is inserted between the parts to form the cup.

 

cupmold_2part

Looking at this mold above (from here), it appears that this would make the cups that are made in 2 halves and probably have a side seam.  I presume that the bottom 2 pieces (that form the shape of the outside of the cup) are fitted together, and the top piece (that forms the inside of the cup) inserted between those 2 halves.  There does appear to be small channels around the mold, and this may be where the liquid silicone is injected into the mold.

If you look at this picture of cups that still have leftover silicone from the molding process (found here), you can see there are some darker/thicker lines, which may have been from channels like I theorised, where the silicone was injected into the mold.  These obviously get removed from the cup before they are sold to customers, so it is interesting to see a photo of this stage of the process!.

cupmold_excess

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cupmold_2part2

This mold is shown in the Fleurity video.  Again it shows the cups would be made in halves and likely have a side seam.  It would seem from looking at the mold, that the part we can see on the right that has the metal pins poking out of it, would fit over the part on the left, so that those pins fit into the holes we can see on the part on the left.  This would ensure the mold fits together properly.  When the 2 parts are sandwiched together, those shiny cup shaped pieces would form the hollow inside of the cup.  As there appears to be no channels for the silicone to be injected into this mold, so I do not know how it would be filled, unless it is done via that centre part with the handles…

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cupmold_noseam

This mold (found here) makes cups that would not have a side seam.  The pieces on the right appear to be the mold for the entire outside of the cups as one piece and the pieces on the left would flip over and fit into those bottom sections to form the inside of the cups.  You can again see the pins on the corners of the mold to make sure the 2 parts are correctly fitting.  There are again lines on the mold that may be channels for injecting the liquid silicone into.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | news | 2 Comments

Black/Pink Cups

On Alibaba … which seems to be basically a showcase site rather than an online store – so perhaps not available to purchase…

But half and half pink/black cups!

pink-blackcup

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/FDA-Approved-medical-grade-reusable-Soft_60371099212.html

 

Although no cups are FDA approved, and “organic?  I think not 😛

pink-blackcup2

January 13, 2016 Posted by | news | Leave a comment

Cup News

Searching through AliExpress I found a couple of interesting things…

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Gyncup, for wholesale at $5.52 each (here)….. making me further suspect these are cheaply made Chinese cups (Aneer/iCare?) with new branding

gyncup-ali

A cup that looks like a copy of the old style Yuuki (here and here) Available in colours.  Looks like the Girlies Cup.

yuuki-copy yuuki-copy2

A new look Bassrose box (here), but not the valve-stem Bassrose cup, it shows a Blossom/Dutchess etc. cup instead.

bassrose-blossom

A few new cup brands/rebrands (who I have no details for) – See the Cups with No Details and Nameless Cups pages

lola leasen cleocup

ringstemcup unnamed_02d

As well as some new cups I do have details for

aphrodite Beianyi honeymoon01 nabelle

Aphrodite | Beianyi | Honeymoon | Nabelle

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Eve Cup (Femfulness) used to be selling the flat tab stem cups (Like Lunette), but is now selling the wide flat tab ones

evecup-new

November 26, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , | Leave a comment

iCare Box similarities

There is a company on AliExpress (http://rockbrook.en.alibaba.com) who seem to make the iCare menstrual cup.  There are a couple of cup brands whose boxes are very similar in design, and whose cups are the same style.  The reason I want to bring this to your attention is because if the other brands of cup are actually the same as the iCare, but named something else.  You should be aware that some of the rebranded cups are selling for a lot more than the iCare cup.  Also it’s interesting news 🙂

 

rockbrook_01

The Luno Box has the same cup-flower design on the box (although due to the difference in the pouch, it’s unclear if Luno have bought iCare cups, or if iCare have copied the Luno)

luno_pink2 luno_purple

The Improving Birth cup appears to have the same flower designs on the side of the box and paragraph spacing for the writing, and even the same wrinkles on the pouch (eg they photoshopped logo on)

ibicarecups

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Also……  there are other Aliexpress stores, like “Easy Joy Time” (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1166401) and “Care for Women” (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1920862), who don’t seem to be Rockbrook, but are selling the same design cups as the “Anytime” or “iCare”, but calling it the “care” cup, using the same font as iCare, and what appears to be the same writing on the side of the box, and even the same box design – just with the i  removed.  I suspect these businesses are buying the iCare/Anytime cups and rebranding them as “Care” and “Femcup”?

care

care2

Or the same “Anytime” cup with a box that is the same as the Greek Femecup

femmecup_anytime

They also sell that Femcup box/pouch with an iCare style cup too (could Femcup be an iCare rebrand?)

femmecup_care

November 25, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , | Leave a comment

Shenzhen Zhida Xintai Technology Co.

There is a company on AliExpress (http://zdkjsy.en.alibaba.com) who sell a lot of different designs of menstrual cup.  These same designs are some of the ones we see commonly thought to be “rebrandings” (where someone buys a cup and sells it under a different name).  The reason I want to bring this to your attention is because this company are selling the cups for as little as 50c per cup…. whereas cups that appear to be identical and renamed to something else, are being sold for up to $30 each.   So if you are going to buy one of these cups, it would be a lot cheaper to buy from what appears to be the manufacturer.

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The cups they seem to manufacture are these:

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Short stemmed cup with a series of small grip lines just under the rim

ZhidaXintai_04a ZhidaXintai_01

Sold for as little as 50c each, cups with these same design features are being sold under the brand names: “Aneer”, Athena, Blossom Cup, Easy Cups, Charlene, Cup’ax, Dutchess Cup, Femma’s Cup, PlaytamxSure Cycle, Vida Cup.

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Long tab stemmed cup

ZhidaXintai_04bZhidaXintai_01d

Sold for as little as 45c each. There are quite a few brands selling cups with this stem type and same general look, although it is difficult to know which brands may be selling these cups, as the iCare cup (made by Rockbrook) is also very similar in design (really just slight differences in measurements).  Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of different measurements given for cups like this that look to be the same cup – so it’s difficult to tell which are the same.  See my Similar/Rebranded page for a list of cups with this design and their measurements (if known).

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Other Cups

ZhidaXintai_01e ZhidaXintai_01c

They also sell the “Bassrose” valve stem cup, and a cup I haven’t seen around much, (which I’m calling the “Embossed heart cup” for the time being), and never given a brand name, which seems to have a thicker solid rounded stem, with a heart shape design on the side of the cup.

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Some of the listings for this company are for bulk (100 cups minimum order), specifically talking about selling them on Amazon and they state that they can provide the boxes for you.  Some pictures also definitely show the Smart Cup packaging and what appears to be the Dutchess Cup packaging (picture below shows a screenshot of the listing that shows bulk packaging with the Smart cup and Dutchess Cup boxes added to show they look to be the same boxes).

ZhidaXintai_03b2b

 

One concern is that the listings for the cups say they are medical grade or food grade, and imply they are FDA approved.  I don’t know if the mention of food-grade silicone is because they use the same materials list for all their silicone products and don’t change it to medical grade for the cup listings (their cup listings claim it’s medical grade in the text).  Or if people can choose to have their bulk lot of cups made in a cheaper foodgrade silicone?

ZhidaXintai_02

I would also like to point out that the FDA told me there is no such thing as FDA approved silicone….. and that it is an offense to make misleading statements that would imply your menstrual cups have FDA approval when they don’t (as putting an FDA logo onto pictures of the cups would do, and showing certificates that imply they are giving FDA approval).  So I’m not sure about how accurate a statement on FDA approval on silicone is (See my article on the FDA here)

The company details say: “Certificates: FDA/CE/SGS certified company”  – which may mean the *company* has certification with the FDA, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the menstrual cups or silicone they use is certified/registered/approved by the FDA.  Only cups that are registered with the FDA are supposed to be sold in or to the US, and as of writing this article, none of the brands listed on this page, nor a company with this name appear in the FDA database for registered businesses or products.

This could explain why a lot of the cups that appear to be rebrandings of this cup, claim to be FDA approved or made from FDA approved silicone.  They may be misinterpreting what the FDA certificates actually mean?

 

November 25, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Few pieces of news

  • Amy Cup (who previously offered a different shaped cup with applicator tube – now has a “Crystal” cup that is the same sort of design as the more standard menstrual cups.  Appears to be available only in blue.  Details on the Amy Cup listing.

amycupcrystal2

  • The La Luna cup has been renamed to Mahina

laluna_mahinasite-crop

ruby-purple

  • Female Cup” has been spotted on “deal of the day” type sites in Australia and Switzerland, the latter site shows a picture of a different cup than the one normally shown as Female Cup.  So it is unclear if they have changed designs or not.

female-blossom femalecup2b

Also spotted on Aliexpress

female-ali

November 6, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loon Cup

looncup

Looncup is currently under a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to start production of this cup.  It is a cup with the ability to track your menstrual fluid volume and colour, to track your cycles – connecting with your smartphone to give you updates.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/700989404/looncup-the-worlds-first-smart-menstrual-cup

October 19, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | 3 Comments

Folding Cups

There’s a couple of cups that are obviously influenced by the Lily Compact folding design (Lily was the first cup to feature a foldable/collapsing design). And as usual, there are now some branded cups that appear to be rebrandings of these AliExpress cups:

collapse_cup_1 collapse_cup_3

Found on AliExpress | Found on Alibaba

vjaycup feminesse

Vijay Cup |Feminesse

ellacup

Ella Cup

September 15, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crowdfunded “Moon Cup”

mooncup_crowdfund1

http://www.mooncup.com.tw

mooncup_crowdfund

Appears to be the same sort of design as the Femmycycle, but with a flower-like design around the edge.

Currently (as of Sept 2015) asking for crowdfunding donations to raise money to go into production.

The colour picture shows no seam where the flip-out section would attach to (if the design is the same as Femmycycle, which seems to be if you look at the black&white pictures).  So the images are probably all conceptual art and not the actual cup.

I can’t seem to get google to translate the entire site, but here are some sections:

“If I can find enough moon cup supporters willing countersigned + development plan sponsor, then I can put in front of the development and production processes. After the fund-raising, please give me six months, through the license application. 2016 summer, u can start with the moon Cup! ʱ??”

 

“Content moon Cup project, is to “produce on the ground” and develop “the most suitable for Asian women to use the Moon Cup”, unwilling to come to break the long-standing American and European brands in Taiwan tradition, as well as cross-Taiwan can only find on behalf of the girls to buy dilemma. I want everyone everywhere in Taiwan have had to buy, there is starting.”

 

“It will improve the shortcomings of European and American brands, and then adjusted to the most suitable for Asian girls body type size.”

September 4, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | | 1 Comment

Mooncup, Moon Cup, MCUK?

Occasionally this confusion pops up, so I thought that since the original site I’d linked to that explains all this has gone, I’d address this here.

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Long story short….. there are 2 menstrual cups going by the name of “Mooncup”/”Moon cup”, and the “Mooncup” is the same as the “MCUK” but not the same as “Moon cup”.  Clear as mud?  🙂

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The original “Mooncup” product, which often now gets referred to as the “Mooncup UK”, was brought out in 2000 and is manufactured in the UK by The Mooncup Ltd. – www.mooncup.co.uk

In 2006, The Keeper Inc. (makers of the “Keeper” rubber cup) in the US brought out a silicone version of their cup, also calling it a “Moon Cup” (their trademark is registered with a space, although people often leave the space out), which gets called a “Moon cup US” by some people, to help distinguish it from the UK one – www.keeper.com.

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Since both companies have the trademark for the name in their respective countries (more on that below), when the Keeper inc. started selling their “Moon Cup”, the original UK “Mooncup” was not able to be sold to the US due to the trademark issue (and presumably vice versa).  So in 2011 Mooncup UK started calling their cups destined for the US market the “MCUK” – which allowed them to be sold there, making a separate section of their website to allow US customers to buy their cups under this new name – http://www.mooncup.co.uk/how-to-order/mcuk-online-shop.html.

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Why did Keeper Inc. bring out a cup and name it the same thing as another brand already out there?  Well…. some people feel they did it to try and take some of the Mooncup UK market, and there has been a lot of ill will towards the Keeper as a result.  For example, early on, the Keeper website appeared to use meta tags that used the term “mooncup” before they were selling cups under that name – which meant that searching for a Mooncup would also bring up the Keeper website.

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The timeline goes like this:

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2000
August – The domain name http://www.mooncup.co.uk was registered to Mooncup UK.  I’m not sure when the cups were available for sale, but I would assume sometime not long after.
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2002
January – The Keeper inc. registered the domain http://www.themooncup.com February 25th – The Keeper inc. submitted an application to trademark the name “MOON CUP” in the US.

October – The Keeper inc. registered the domain http://www.mooncup.com Nov 12th – Mooncup (UK) submitted an application to trademark the name “MOONCUP” in the UK.
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2003
The domain registration was contested – info on that here – but the findings were basically that there was no proof the domains were being used in bad faith, and that registering a domain name does not by default grant you sole use of the name. The hearing commented that if anyone held a legal right to the name, it would be the Keeper given that they applied for the trademark first.
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2006
On August 1st the Silicone Keeper/”Moon Cup” was first discovered for sale by people in the cup community.  Though it took a while before The Keeper Inc. actually acknowledged it was their cup, so it caused a lot of confusion with people not knowing what was going on, and buying the US Moon Cup thinking it was a UK Mooncup.
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2009
Mooncup UK submitted a trademark application for “MCUK

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So as the timeline shows, Mooncup UK was without a doubt the first to actually publicly use the name, and to sell a product with that name. However, The Keeper Inc. were first in submitting their trademark application. I don’t know how trademark law works in regard to how you determine which trademark is considered to be “first” – whether it goes by the application date, or the date it is granted (I would assume the latter).

The Mooncup UK trademark appears to have been granted on 05 March 2004, and the Keeper Inc. trademark underwent a lot of extensions and seems to have been registered on the 31st Jan 2006.  Which (if I am reading that correctly) means that Mooncup UK actually got their trademark approved first. Although that’s just semantics, and it actually makes no difference who got the name first (from a legal standpoint, ethically I think it does).

Since a trademark only protects the name in the country you register it in (generally your home country, unless you also register it in other countries), which is why it is possible for a name to be trademarked in different countries to different people – giving a situation like this where there are 2 products both with the same trademarked name.

Either way, it created a confusing situation – with a lot of people not understanding that there are 2 different cups from 2 different companies, but that one of the cups had 2 different names, depending on where you live. All of that would have been solved if the Keeper Inc. had just called their silicone cup a “Keeper Clear” or something, rather than calling it a Moon Cup.

May 19, 2015 Posted by | news | , | 2 Comments

LUB’s lifespan/health advice

I saw this a while back and wanted to comment on it.  If you have a look on the Luv-Ur-Body website, they have some FAQ statements concerning the lifespan of the cup and hygiene that I would like to address.  I feel it’s a shame when menstruation and women’s bodies are portrayed as being gross and dirty, especially if it is being done to convince people to replace a menstrual cup more often that they should need to (eg commercial gain for the company)

http://luvur-body.com/wp/faq-busted-myths

“We strongly recommend the use of our Menstrual Cups for just 3 yrs based on hygiene reasons. We do not think it’s hygienic to re-use for 10yrs something vaginally inserted (which mixes with cervical secretion and other bodily fluids/waste) which costs the same as a haircut. Especially if you are sexually active or have multiple partners. Most people would not use a toothbrush for 10yrs”

You don’t reuse a toothbrush for 10 years because as they become “shaggy” with frequent use they become less effective at doing their job, and need to be replaced.  Their lifespan is supposed to be about 3 months for optimal efficiency.  While yes, they also become less hygienic with use (they actually have far more nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide in than a menstrual cup, and you don’t even  clean/boil/steralise them as you do for cups) but that’s not the only reason you would replace them. So it’s not a very good comparison.

The amount of sex you have, and how many partners you do it with, also should not affect how hygienic it is to use your menstrual cup.

“and most women would not re-use a douch applicator spout, clothpad, menstrual sponge or particular pair of panty for 10yrs!”

Again, underpants, sponges and cloth pads all usually wear out before 10 years, so people replace them because of wear, not because they have become unhygienic with use.

“We completely understand that the vagina is self cleaning and that women generally bath at least once a day and will maintain high levels of personal hygiene but hey lets face it, some peoples level of personal hygiene will be poorer than others. That’s why some women get vaginal infections or STD’s and some don’t.”

Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by things like viruses, certain bacteria and parasites.  You do not get an STD because you bathe less frequently or from using a menstrual cup that has become “unhygienic” with age.

“Same way some people have bad breath and some don’t. Thus some will clean their Cups better than others over time and some won’t especially the airholes that tend to get clogged with blood clots. Some women don’t use the pouches to store but rather leave their Cup out on the bathroom sink where it comes in contact with dust mites, germs and bathroom cleaning products.”

And for all those cups collecting dust and germs, they can be boiled or soaked in steralising solution.

“It’s not uncommon for menstrual cups to be re-usable for 3yrs or less, “

Actually it is.

If the LUB cups are only durable enough for 3 years of use, then that’s the companies choice to make their product in that way.  However arguing that they shouldn’t be used for longer because it would be unhygienic is misleading or false, as is trying to imply that a short lifespan like that is normal among other menstrual cup brands.

“some brands made in the UK are re-usable for about 18months only and some are disposable after each use.”

Most of the cups that do talk about a lifespan, say around 10 years. That is the common lifespan for a reusable menstrual cup.

DivaCup suggests replacing the cup every 12 months, but does say it is up to the user to decide how long to keep it for  – which some people assume is to sell more cups, although some people have reported their DivaCups as being less durable as other brands.  Femmecup offers a”lite” version that is designed to be replaced after 12 months, but that is specifically designed to be a cheaper version of their regular cup.  That appears to be the only UK cup to have such a low lifespan.

I have seen a cup company (it might have been Diva?) say that they were unable to give a longer lifespan due to FDA regulations.

The only menstrual cup that is disposable after a single use is the Insteads Softcup (and even that is commonly reused by people) – which is not the same type of menstrual cup as the LUB (The Insteads are designed to be a cheap disposable cup option), so is not a valid comparison.

Cups that are frequently boiled or soaked in sanitizing solutions may wear out quicker than cups that are not subjected to these – and you should always check your cups for wear.  However many people feel that cup companies who promote short lifespans on their reusable cups, are doing so with the intention of boosting profits rather than because the cups will only last that long.

As far as cup hygiene goes – obviously you should make sure you cups are cleaned well (including airholes), don’t share cups with other people, practice safe sex and good personal hygiene.

However if you are making sure the cup is cleaned well after each use and before you use it again (and the cup has not deteriorated or been damaged), then there should be no difference in how hygienic is is after 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or 10 years.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | news | | Leave a comment

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 | 4 Comments

Food-grade Vs Medical-grade silicone

One of the theories I had about the cheap Chinese cups, was that they could be made using cheaper silicone, perhaps food-grade, rather than medical-grade.

While most of the listings for the cups state they are medical grade, there are a few that say they are made from food-grade silicone.  Which is a concern.  If some of them are, then it is possible that others are.  You are really only relying on what a product listing says to know what it is made from.

It could also explain why most of the cheap cups are also very soft/squishy.  It could be because there are more softeners added, but it could be because they are made from different silicone.

For example, Blossom Cup’s website claims the cup is FDA approved (which is false), and that it is made from FDA approved medical grade silicone.fda_blossom

Yet their Amazon listing says the cup is made from Food-Grade silicone:

blossom-food2

If it is made from food-grade silicone, then not only is their website fraudulent, but if the other similar cups (Charlene, Dutchess etc.) are in fact the same cups too (just rebranded), then those would all be food-grade not medical grade too… and those claim they are medical grade.

Another example is the cups being sold by Zhida Xintai, those list food grade silicone as their material.

aneer_foodgrade

What is the difference?

I really can’t say if food-grade silicone is going to be worse for a cup to be made from than medical grade.  However something that is safe for contact with food, may not necessarily be safe for skin-contact inside your vagina for days.

Medical grade silicone is designed for products that are used inside the body, and it is therefore tested on animals.  Now, while we might not like that fact, it is done to make sure that the material is safe to have in the body.  Food-grade silicone does not undergo those tests, as it is designed to have contact with food only.  Not for being used on or in the body.

So while food-grade silicone may be perfectly fine to use, there is no guarantee it won’t cause reactions, because it has not been tested for that use.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | news | | 2 Comments

Message from Anigan about Eva Cup

Anigan (EvaCup) posted a couple of comments to different posts here, which I didn’t publish to the blog because some of them weren’t in relevant areas, but I’ll repost what they said here (which makes it more visible to everyone anyway).

I invite Anigan to make more comments to this post if they wish.

“First of all thank you for your interests in reviewing EvaCup. We would like to take this opportunity to make it clear to everyone that EVACUP IS NOT A KNOCK OFF. We designed, developed and patented EvaCup in the US and we’re manufacturing EvaCup in the US as well.

We are a company that specialize in menstrual products and try our best to make HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS with AFFORDABLE PRICES for women of all classes. Our quality isn’t any less than more expensive brands. EvaCup is made in a FDA registered facility as well.
We do have issues with China copying our cups and have been taking legal actions against them. They stole our design and sold the cups on Alibaba. We hired a China lawyer and international lawyer to fight them. After receiving warning letters from our lawyers, China manufactures slightly changed the cup design and continue to sell on Alibaba. We are still fighting against them but the Chinese government is not taking copyright and infringement as serious as western countries, so it’s a long journey for us.

We encourage you not to buy China made cups as their safety and quality are in question (Through our further investigations we discovered that they falsely claimed their materials. They are in fact not using medical grade silicone).

The following cups that have design like EvaCup you see on market are all the same China made cups with private labels.

– Dutchess
– Blossom Cup
– Femma Cup
– Charlene Cup

Check out our website and Facebook for more info about EvaCup. We launched EvaCup in August 2014.

Website: http://www.anigan.com
FB: facebook.com/stainfreeperiodundie
Instagram: aniganstainfree”

 

And also:

“It has come to our attention that even after we hired several lawyers including a patent lawyer for international, and specifically for China and the USA, we are still being targeted for design and rebranding.
While we find it very flattering, we began our company to offer a SAFE, well made product that was both environmentally friendly and affordable. We spend and continue to spend a great amount of time and money for testing to give you a product that uses certified and safe materials in an FDA registered facility. The materials “they” use may NOT be safe for use inside your body, as well is their colors and pigments.
We don’t want to name names, but we have had our lawyers contact counterfeit sellers and hope that they comply with NZ government. You may still find them listed on selling platforms however, “Currently Unavailable” will be shown when trying to purchase them. It’s a long process to fight infringement as some governments don’t take it as serious as western countries. Some counterfeit sellers slip through the cracks or haven’t complied yet.
As we continue to fight off the infringements, please bear with us and look for our trademark to be sure you are purchasing a product that has been tested safe.
***We are currently pending our US patent and have recently added our EvaCup logo to our mold so that YOU know you’re getting a product that you can trust!***

 

I’d like to point out that I’ve never accused EvaCup as being a copy/rebranding, I have simply listed here all the brands of cup have the same design (which is an “Aneer” and a no longer available “Cerene” brand), in the interests of sharing information.

There are a few questions I’d like to bring up though….

 

Firstly with the safety of cheap Chinese cups – this is something that quite a few people are interested in, so we would love to have any insight Anigan can give about why some of these cups may be very cheap, and what leads them to believe they aren’t medical grade silicone.  What have you seen that makes you believe they aren’t medical grade silicone?

On the cup design and other “copies”…..  EvaCup looks like this:

eva-boxed

Which has a distinctive grid-like pattern of lines around the base of the cup, with a short thick stem with grip lines and smooth “ridge” area near the rim of the cup – and the same design has been seen being sold on places like AliExpress with the name “Aneer” as well as with no brand name, and was being sold as a “Cerene” but that brand renamed to “Continuon” and sells iCare cups now.

The brands that Anigan mentioned, Dutchess, Blossom, Femma and Charlene (Also Cup’ax and Playtamx, which weren’t mentioned but are the same design too) are different designs of cup to the EvaCup though.  Those all look like this:

playtamx2

Having short thin stems (with no grip lines), rings of grip around the base and rings around the “ridge” part near the rim of the cup.

So I invite Anigan to discuss how those brands are selling cups that are the same as EvaCup?

While clearly some (if not all) of those brands are rebrandings and it is unclear who the original was – To me, saying those brands are a copy of the EvaCup would be like saying that the EvaCup is a copy of a Diva…. both have similarities and differences.  Afterall, most cups available today are very similar in design elements to other cups – mostly with slight changes to the stem design and “ridge” area.

Also, EvaCup website says “EvaCup is made in a FDA registered facility as well.”  – Since EvaCup itself is not a registered device with the FDA, and Anigan is not a registered establishment – is it possible to disclose which FDA registered facility is manufacturing the cup?   I also notice that there is no 510(k) Premarket Notification lodged for the EvaCup.  I invite Anigan to discuss this with us also.

March 16, 2015 Posted by | news | | 6 Comments

FDA Approval & Registration

There are some cups on the market that are giving misleading information on their FDA clearance/approval/registration.

So I thought I would contact the FDA to find out exactly what the situation is with FDA approval on both menstrual cups and silicone used to make menstrual cups.

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Basically, there are 2 ways the FDA has involvement with menstrual cups.  The cups can have “FDA Clearance” for sale and/or the cups can be “Registered with the FDA”.  All cups being sold in the USA are required to be Registered, though very few actually are.

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FDA registration

Any menstrual cup being produced or distributed (sold or given away) in the US, is required to be registered with the FDA.  There are some exemptions, but they would appear not to be valid for most cup brands.  Even the people who appear to be importing cups from China and renaming them, would (from what the FDA told me) be required to register their device with the FDA, as they would classify as an importer or repackager.

The “device” (cup) and “establishment” (the business making and/or selling it) are both required to be registered.

To find a list of the brands/cups that are currently registered with the FDA (that would seem to be those who have paid their yearly registration fee to be allowed to sell cups to/in the US), you can search the “Establishment and device” register for the “HHE” product code again [Search results here]

As of 20th November 2016, the following appear to be the only cup brands that are currently registered with the FDA:

Blossom Cup, Casco Cup, Easy Life, Ella Cup, EvaCup, Diva, Femmycycle, Flex (Another brand of Insteads Softcups), Green Cup of Maine, Insteads Softcups, Keeper, LenaLily Cup, Life Cup, Lincup, Lunette, MCUK (Mooncup UK)MeLuna (Classic & Sport), Mooncup (USA), Monzcare/Rainbow, Nora Cup, Rockbrook (makers of Anytime, iCare and others), Sckoon, Super Jennie, V-cups.

There is also a few manufacturers listed with just “menstrual cup” – so I am unsure of which brand names they manufacture

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Now, on the topic of a cup being “FDA approved

NONE of the cups are “approved” by the FDA.  Menstrual cups are a class II device, and the FDA only gives “Approval”  to class III devices.  So cups cannot be “approved” by the FDA.

What some of them have however, is “Clearance” for sale.  It is largely just a case of which term is used, but “approval” implies the cup has been tested and “approved” by the FDA, which is not the case, so they are not allowed to use that term.  The FDA considers that:

Any representation that creates an impression of official approval of a device because of complying with the premarket notification regulations is misleading and constitutes misbranding.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=807.97

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For a menstrual cup to be “cleared” by the FDA, they need to submit a “510(k) premarket notification“.  In layman’s terms what this means that since a new cup is basically the same in function and design as existing cups that are already cleared for sale by the FDA – the new cup doesn’t need to go through the more extensive “premarket approval” process (which would require clinical trials and extensive testing).  But it does need to go through the slightly less extensive “Premarket Notification” process.

It seems that as of Dec 2014, menstrual cups (as well as cloth pads) no longer need to go through the 510(k) Premarket Notification process to be allowed to be sold in the USA, but do still need to be registered with the FDA (unless they have an exemption)

I assume that cups that have come to the market since the premarket notification was stopped, would not be considered “FDA cleared” like those who have passed that process.  I also assume a cup brand could choose to become cleared if they wanted to submit the notification (though that is an expense they possibly won’t want to have to spend)?

So, no cups are “FDA approved”, the most they can be is “cleared” by the FDA.  All cups being sold in the US need to be “Registered” with the FDA.

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Menstrual cups are regulated under the product code “HHE”.  To find a list of all the menstrual cups that have the 510(k) Clearance, you can search the FDA database for the “HHE” product code [Click here for the search results]

As of 12th March 2015, the following appear to be the only cup brands that have 510(k) clearance:

Alicia (defunct*), Bellecup (defunct?), Divacup, Femmycycle, Insteads Softcups, Keeper, Lunette, MeLuna (classic and sport), Mooncup (UK), Mooncup (US), Rheacup, Sckooncup, Tassaway (defunct)

Though, as I said, there now is no requirement for cups to have 510(k) clearance.  You may however consider a 510(k) clearance as further assurance that a cup brand is good quality, as it has undergone some testing/regulation processes.

*Alicia isn’t being sold as an Alicia any more, but it appears that the same cup is being sold for stem cell collection (rather than menstrual use), and has been renamed Hygenia

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So brands like the Blossom Cup, who claimed to be FDA approved, are in fact, not (because no cups are) and at the time weren’t even FDA registered.

fda_blossom

 

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FDA approved silicone“.

Quite a few brands (pretty much all of them actually) are claiming that they are using silicone that has been “approved” by the FDA.  This is something I have had trouble finding the answer to.

For example:

fda_dutchess

fda-sckoon

fda_lunette

When I contacted the FDA to check to see if this was a valid claim, they told me that the FDA only regulates the end product, not what it is made from.

To quote a portion of the e-mail from the FDA:

“Please be aware that the FDA regulates the “finished” medical device and the manufacturers of the finished device. Therefore, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) does not maintain a list of ingredients or materials that are certified or approved for use in medical devices.”

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However, there are many silicone manufacturers who likewise claim their silicone is FDA approved or compliant (link, link), though I notice generally they seem to be referencing the FDA “rubber articles intended for repeated use“.  When I asked the FDA about that, they basically told me that was not part of the “CDRH”.

So I wonder if the FDA does approve/register/clear  the food-safe silicone used for various things (like perhaps food containers), but the “CDRH” branch (which appears to be the medical device section) of the FDA doesn’t approve silicone specifically for medical devices?  I don’t know.

I have asked why cup manufacturers would be making the claim that their silicone is FDA approved, if it isn’t…. but the FDA stopped replying to my e-mails 😛

I also do not know if the FDA requires each coloured cup to be separately cleared (as some cup manufacturers have told me), or not (as another cup company I’ve spoken to implies)… I asked about that also and received no reply.

I do know that the reason MeLuna is only registered for their “Sport” and “Classic” styles is that the “soft” version is too soft for the FDA requirements for clearance on those.

I have actually found it quite difficult to get answers from the FDA about these issues.  I’d been trying for about a month. I first contacted the Medical device department, who answered some of my questions.  I then asked more questions and was asked to contact the registration section for answers – who then told me to ask the medical devices section, when I commented that I’d already done that, they passed me on to the compliance/complaints section.  I asked the questions again and haven’t had any response.

So I have been getting a bit of a run-around.

March 12, 2015 Posted by | news | | 14 Comments

Patent for a “Splash-proof menstrual cup”

Someone pointed me to this today – it’s a Korean patent from 2009/2011 for a menstrual cup that has what appears to be a “lid” across the top, that would allow blood into the cup, but (presumably) not allow it to leak out as easily.

liddedcuppatent

http://www.google.com/patents/WO2011013954A2?cl=tr

I haven’t ever seen a cup like this, so I don’t think they were ever produced.

Much like the Keeper’s patent, which featured a hollow tube stem with a stopper to allow it to be emptied while worn – which doesn’t seem to have ever been manufactured.

keeper-patent

https://www.google.com/patents/US5827248

February 18, 2015 Posted by | news | 5 Comments

Sckoon knockoffs?

Browsing through AliExpress today, I discovered these cups.  While they have tried to disguise the stems, you can see the telltale flower design on the base of the cup.  They look to be copies of the Sckoon cup.

femcup_skoonhttp://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Hot-Sale-Reusable-Medical-Grade-Silicone-Menstrual-Cup-Lady-Cup-Feminine-Hygiene-Product-for-Femcup/32284308638.html

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ladycup-sckoonhttp://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Hot-Sale-Wholesale-6-Colors-Choose-Reusable-Medical-Grade-Silicone-Menstrual-Cup-Lady-Cup-Feminine/32282819348.html

Also from Rockbrook (the makers of iCare), called a “Anytime”

anytime_colours

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Anytime-Brand-Wholesale-Reusable-Medical-Grade-Silicone/32288941057.html

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Since one of them shows it with a “femcup” box, and the “femcup” brand cup looks very similar to the other Chinese copies/rebrands, I wonder if it Femcup also a rebranded cup?

femcup

February 17, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, news | , , | 4 Comments

Charity Programs Involving Cups

Some of the cup companies are involved in charity donations.

Femmecup
Femmecup has been donating to various charities.  Including providing cups to women in Uganda and to New Zealand following the earthquakes.

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Insteads Softcups
Donates a softcup to a girl in Africa for every box of softcups sold.

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Juju
In 2012 Juju donated 1000 cups to Days for Girls, and has donated cups to homeless women

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Mooncup (UK)

Each year a portion of profits is given to each Mooncup team member, who chooses a charity to donate it to.

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MPower
Mpower do charitable works in South Africa.

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My Own Cup
Has the “Inkululeko Project” which donates cups to schoolgirls in South Africa.

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Ruby Cup
With every purchase of a Ruby cup, they give a cup to a needy schoolgirl in Africa. They also work with www.femmeinternational.org

Menstrual Cup Donation projects

Sustainable Cycles
http://sustainablecycles.wordpress.com

The Keeper, DivaCup, Lunette, My Own Cup & Ruby cup, have donated to this cause – which helps to educate American women about reusable menstrual products.

Freedom Cups
http://freedomcups.org

People can purchase cups which are then donated (or can be delivered if you’re traveling in areas where they are needed).  Seemingly using the Cheap Chinese cups.

The Cup
http://www.thecup.org

Looks like Lunette, RubyCup and Mooncup might be donating to this cause.

Putali
http://www.putali-nepal.com

Distributing Ruby Cups in Nepal

February 3, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Animal testing

The topic of animal testing has been brought up on a couple of the communities I am on over the last couple of days, so I thought I would address this here, so that people can get the information I currently have on this.

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In short, it would appear that yes, Medical Grade Silicone and TPE materials are tested on animals, depending on the class level is is being certified to.  So it may not be possible to find a cup (or any other medical grade silicone/TPE product) that is not linked to animal testing at all.

Now, to clarify – this testing is done by the manufacturer of the silicone/TPE material.  The cup companies themselves would not be involved.  So if the cup company says their cup is not tested on animals, that would be correct.  Their cup itself would not have been.  If they say their silicone is not tested on animals – that is also correct.  The batches of silicone/TPE they use likewise probably wouldn’t have been tested on animals either. But the company supplying the silicone/TPE has probably done animal testing on initial batches of the product to check that material is safe for prolonged use in human bodies before they could sell it for medical use. But subsequent batches made should not need testing. And it seems they will also do testing on specific batches on request.

So whether or not this animal testing issue makes a difference to you, depends on if you’re happy so long as the material that is in your actual cup was not tested on animals. Or if you are against any form of connection to animal testing, including any testing done by the manufacturer on previous/different batches of material. (In which case, you may find all brands of cup are “tainted”)

To know for sure, we would need to know where the cup companies buy their silicone, and see if those manufacturers have done animal testing on any of their products… I have a feeling though that all manufacturers will have done animal testing.

There are a couple of brands we do have details for, and those will be added here for easy reference.  The manufacturers also have a section with more info further down the page.

Gaia – Uses “Wacker” brand “Elastosil” silicone. Has certification documentation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of silicone.

LadyCup – Doesn’t say which brand they use, but they do say: “The material used is Liquid Silicone Rubber from the German company. LadyCup® has been awarded the “Certificate of Compliance with USB Biological Tests, Classification VI” (Bioservice – Scientific Laboratories).” – Class VI indicates animal testing.

MeLuna  – Uses “Kraiburg” brand “Thermolast M” TPE.  Has certification documenation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of TPE.

Mooncup UK – Has said in an e-mail to a member of the community: Legally, chemical formulas and many raw ingredients (such as medical grade silicone) will have to have undergone animal testing at some point historically in order to prove to approval authorities that they are safe for consumption/use. In the case of the Mooncup, any historical testing of medical grade silicone will have been undertaken well before the creation of the Mooncup in 2002.  The medical grade silicone used to make the Mooncup has therefore not been tested on animals by Mooncup Ltd, or on behalf of Mooncup Ltd by any third party over whom Mooncup Ltd has effective control.

Yuuki – Uses “Momentive” brand “Silopren LSR 4050” silicone.  Has certification documentation on their site showing animal testing was done on that form of silicone.

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If you want the longer version – keep reading 😀


I’m actually really busy with stuff at the moment, and don’t have time to research this further, but the details I have are here, if anyone would like to research this more, please let me know what you find out!


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What I’ve been able to find out….

It would seem that there are different biocompatibility ISO standards, and USP classes for medical use.  Some testing for these is done on cells, not living creatures, but some are done by injecting and/or implanting the material into mice and/or rabbits.

I am unsure at this point if those standards are a voluntary thing, or if they are required by the FDA or similar bodies to have the products made from that type of material approved for sale.

Toxikon has a pdf guide to what the tests include and what tests are needed for which USP class.  It would seem that all classes (1-6) require injecting the compound into animals.  Classes IV and VI require implanting the compound into the muscle of a rabbit.

I don’t (yet) know if the the silicone/TPE that menstrual cups are made from needs to be to be classified under those classes to be FDA approved.  So it may be that menstrual cup silicone only needs the lower level testing that is not done on animals.  But it is likely that animal testing would be needed, and even if it’s not the same manufacturer would likely be testing to the higher class for silicone sold for other medical uses.

 

I have looked up the details for a couple of large silicone and TPE suppliers.  Info on them is below.

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Dow Corning
Dow Corning, who claims to be one of the leading suppliers of silicone – has a FAQ on their website, and in that it lists the animal testing done for the different classes.  Not only do Dow Corning participate in animal testing, they test for 7-30 days, rather than the 5 day minimum required.  I e-mailed Dow Corning to ask if they have any medical grade silicone that is not tested to class VI (eg not tested on animals) – they do not.
http://www.dowcorning.com/content/publishedlit/52-0001-01.pdf

“Class VI requires the most stringent testing of the six classes. Extracts of the test material are prepared in saline, alcohol in saline, polyethylene glycol (PEG 400), and vegetable oil. The extracts (diluted in the case of the PEG extract) and blanks are injected into mice and rabbits, which are observed several times over a 72-hour period. The animals’ response to the sample extracts and the blank are compared to determine test passage. These tests of extracts are called the Systemic Injection Test and the Intracutaneous Test. Materials that pass these two tests are compliant with USP Class V.

USP Class VI includes the tests of USP Class V plus an implantation test wherein strips of the test material and a negative control are implanted in rabbits for a period of not less than 120 hours. Hemorrhage, necrosis, discolorations, and infections are macroscopically observed and degree of encapsulation is scored and compared with the negative control to determine test passage. Note that the 7- and 30-day implantation test protocols utilized by Dow Corning exceed the 5-day (120-hour) USP Class VI implantation minimum requirement.”

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Kraiburg (Meluna supplier)
Kraiburg has a “Thermolast M” variety of TPE.
http://www.kraiburg-tpe.com/en/products/thermolast/thermolast_m

“All medical compounds are tested according to ISO 10993-5 (Cytotoxicity) and listed as Drug Master File. Selected medical compounds are tested according to described medical basic approvals: USP Class VI (chapter 88), USP 661 (in vitro), ISO 10993-4 (Haemolysis, indirect in human blood), ISO 10993-10 (Intracutaneous Irritation) and ISO 10993-11 (Acute Systemic Toxicity).”

So it says “Selected medical compounds are tested” for the ones on animals.  Which may mean that some of their Thermolast M range of TPE is not tested on animals?

However, there is a certificate issued by “Toxikon” to Kraiburg, which can be downloaded here, that includes this section specifically relating to the animal testing that the Thermolast M TPE was subject to:

“The test article extracts and corresponding blanks were injected systemically and intracutaneously in mice and rabbits respectively.”

and

“In addition, the test article was implanted into the paravertebral muscles of rabbits for 7 days and observed macroscopically for signs of hemorrhage, necrosis, discoloration, encapsulation and infection.”

There is also the “ISO-certificate, verifying the biological safety of TPE” document on the MeLuna website, that is seems to be basically a coverletter for the above certificate, that says:

“This is to certify that the biological safety performed under ISO 17025 accreditation status, as indicated in the above referenced USP class VI report, can be used as compliant results with the ISO 10993-10, tests for intracutaneous irritation and 10993-11, tests for systemic toxicity.”

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Momentive (Yuuki supplier)
Momentive’s  “Silopren LSR 4050” silicone is tested on animals, as it states it meets the USP Class VI:
http://www.momentive.com/Products/ShowTechnicalDataSheet.aspx?id=25413

“Regulatory Compilance
A representative sample of an analogous product to Silopren LSR 450 met the requirements of USP Class VI (maximum contact
time with human tissue 28 days) and ISO 10993 under Good Laboratory Practices (GLP).”
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Wacker (Gaia Cup supplier)
Wacker’s “Silpuran” brand of silicone is also tested on animals:
http://www.wacker.com/cms/media/publications/downloads/6365C_EN.pdf

“Medically Relevant Properties
The SILPURAN® product line offers a compelling property profile to meet medical-technology needs:
•Available in a wide range of hard-nesses (Shore A)
•Excellent heat resistance as well as chemical and physical resistance without additional stabilizers
•High level of transparency and colorability
•Good resistance to UV radiation and X-rays
•Certified biocompatibility (ISO 10993: cytotoxicity, sensitization, pyrogenicity; USP Class VI: systemic toxicity, intra-cutaneous toxicity, and implantation for 5 days; further tests on request)”

 

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Further info on MeLuna
I’m only mentioning this, because I feel that a cup company should be honest and not misleading.  MeLuna claim not to know anything about animal testing and said to contact the supplier for details. 

However, MeLuna has a section of downloadable files on their site, to prove their product safety – that specifically mentions the animal testing for the “TM 4 Med” version of the TPE.

At the date of writing this article, MeLuna appear to have removed the certificate document from their site, although the text for the link remains (“TPE Test Result Certificate“).  A member of the menstrual cup community contacted MeLuna asking about animal testing, and that member claims that the above certificate was on the site when they contacted MeLuna, but was removed from the site the next day.

Luckily, back in 2011 when I asked them to comment on the safety of the coloured cups – they provided me with these same documents, so I still have a copy of that file that is no longer on their site. It can be downloaded here if it is still unavailable on their site.

The fact that they have (or had) documents on their website explicitly mentioning animal testing on the material they are using, yet claim not to know anything about it,  means that either they didn’t read those documents themselves (which isn’t a good sign), or they actually were aware of it and don’t want to admit that.

Now it is possible that the “TM 4 Med” version of the TPE (which was tested on animals) may not be what MeLuna uses – They say they use “Thermolast M” – but the number 4 in the product that was tested, may indicate that it was tested to class 4 (IV), which does require implantation testing.  So there may be a different version of “Thermolast M” that wasn’t tested on animals?  I don’t know.  So that may be why they removed that certificate, it may not have been applicable to the particular TPE batch they are using.  Or they may have wanted to hide that document.

Though removing the document but leaving the link to it still on the site, and not explaining anything to the person who contacted them, is not being terribly open about the matter.

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My thoughts

Much as I don’t like the idea of animal testing – I can see why it is important to make sure the materials are safe.  Especially since some medical items made from silicone and TPE are used in the body for extended periods of time (eg heart valves and the like).  While I don’t like the idea of animals suffering, I also don’t think it’s right to just implant something into a human and hope they don’t die from it.  So they do need to make sure it’s not likely to cause problems, and while some tests can be done on cells not living creatures (obviously the preferred way to do it!), some may need to be done on living tissue still connected to the creature, to allow for a proper reading of how reactive it is.  Which, sadly, is just how things sometimes are 😦


Links

Link to an article on how testing is trying to be more humane and using cells rather than live animals where possible:

Links explaining the Class VI and ISO certification process

 

February 2, 2015 Posted by | news | 3 Comments

Open Letter to Menstrual Cup Companies

If I sound a bit grumpy, it’s because I’ve spent HOURS over the last couple of weeks trying to track down cup measurements and capacity info for brands…. which should NOT be a difficult task.

So… a letter to all the Cup Companies out there……

Dear Cup Companies,
The info that people like me add to our charts and databases – the lengths, capacities and other product info, is not something we do because we’re bored.  It’s information that some consumers want to know about the cups.  YOUR products.

So in some cases, for some of you, I’m doing part of your job for you, by listing the measurement info for your brand, that your customers are unable to find on your own website.

But do you realise that your competitors are listing their measurements, so when we don’t have measurements for your brand, it makes your brand look bad?  Look at these 2 listings from my site:

cuplisting_unknowns cuplisting_details

Do you want your listing to just say “unknown” for everything?  Look at how the comparison tables look when we have no info:

cuplisting_emptyline

People are going to just scroll on past a brand that has no available information.

I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but your cup isn’t the best cup for everyone – no matter what brand you are.  People *do* shop around, particularly when shopping online.  But they can only shop around on sites that give enough details about the product, to allow them to do so.

If your website/listing doesn’t list the total length of the cup including stem.  The length of the cup without stem, the capacity to the airholes and the capacity to the rim….. why not?  Is it because you’re afraid that if people know that information they won’t buy your cup?  Perhaps people are specifically looking for a cup with the measurements/capacity yours has!  But if you don’t trust in your own brand enough to properly list all the particulars – how can you expect us to trust in it?

It should be on your websites/product listings already – but if it’s not, and someone e-mails you to ask for it…. Why is it so hard to just reply back with the information? Or even just to say “I don’t know, but I will find out for you”   ?????

I have e-mailed and messaged NUMEROUS cup companies, some more than once, asking for the information that is missing from their sites/listings. Some never reply at all, some will reply to some aspects of my questions, but not others.

Keeper Inc. even asked me why the information was important to know (and didn’t give it to me *sigh*).

OK, so I’ll explain – Why is it important for people to know the measurements and capacity?

For some people, buying a cup is seen as a big investment.  Now while we all know that over time cups are far more economical, some people consider the initial purchase to be expensive – and because there are so many brands out there, the choice can be confusing.

The decision on which cup to buy may be as simple as which cup is physically easier for them to get (one in a store they see), or it could be which is cheaper.. or even what their friends use.  For others, they look at the information on the cups and choose a cup based on that. They like to window shop, and pick the cup that “speaks” to them or a cup that they feel will suit them physically based on the measurements and material information.

Some people have multiple cups – they find that different times in their cycle, they need differently shaped cups, and buy/have different cups for that.

If someone finds difficulty using a cup they have and are looking for another one to replace it…. if their present cup is too small or too short, too soft, too hard, not enough capacity etc. – they may look to charts to see which cups may better suit their needs.

Why do they need to know the total length including stem?  – because some people leave the stem intact and want to know how long the cup is if they choose to keep the stem.  If they have a high cervix and they know cups rise up, this total length may be important so they know how far up the stem is likely to reach.

Why do they need to know the length without stem? – Because some people get irritated by the stems and need to trim them down – knowing how long the cup is without the stem, as well as the info of the total length with the stem, allows them to judge how much of the stem they might be able to cut off to get the right balance for them – as well as how long the cup is going to be if they do trim off all the stem.  It also tells them how long the body of the cup is, in case they want to look for cups of a specific body length (eg if they have a low cervix then they may be looking for a particular length cup)

Why do they need to know the capacity to airholes and rim?  – because some people leak once the cup fills to the airholes.  Sometimes this can be because the airholes are large enough to allow fluid through, sometimes this can be because the seal is effected once the airholes are submerged.  In any case, some people don’t like to let their cups fill to the airholes and like to know this measurement.  Others can let the cup fill to the brim/rim, and would like to know overall what capacity the cup has in total, because if they only have the measurement to the airholes, then this is not telling them the full capacity of the cup.

Why do they need to know what the cup is made from? – There are a couple of brands who don’t even tell you what the cup is made from.  Is it silicone?  is it TPE?   You might not think it matters, but the thing is, if you don’t say what it is – you are withholding information from us, and we then get suspicious.  If you have nothing to hide, then why not say what it is?  You are asking people to buy it and put it in their bodies, and some people want to know more than your assurance that this mystery material is “safe”.

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So sometimes a customer will be looking for the widest and shortest cup, or the narrowest shortest cup, or the longest widest cup….or which cups of a certain length have the greatest capacity.  If they don’t have measurements for your brand – they will not consider your cup when they are looking, because they don’t know how it compares to others available.

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Because cups are mostly sold online, or in packaged boxes – people can’t usually pick up a cup and hold it in their hands.  They rely on product photos, measurement information and reviews/discussions on the brands to find out what that cup might be like.

Which leads me to….

Why do sites like this need actual cups to review?
Because words on a page can’t tell your customers what the material feels like. How soft it is, if it’s “sticky” or “peach skin”. How easily it folds, how easily it pops open. How the grip feels, how the stem feels.  How much more easily does it fold than XYZ cup. Is it firmer than ABC cup.   Lots of people ask me to take photos of certain cups together – so they know how others compare visually.  knowing one cup might be 7mm shorter than another doesn’t show them visually what that difference looks like. If they already have one cup and are looking for another, they will ask me to photograph other cups along with the cup they have – so they can better see how different the other cups are.

If I don’t have one of your brand of cups to do this with, then I’m only giving info on your competitors – that might mean they pick your competitors cup instead of yours.

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This is why it is important to have information available on your website, or in your product listings. This is also why places like this website exist to try and help people get the information they need. Both as a place to try and display (unbiased) information on all brands, to make comparison easier – but also to help answer those “how does it feel”, “is it squishier than” type questions.

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But when it’s difficult for us to get the information to pass on, it can be very frustrating for all of us.

To illustrate this – I swear this the actual conversation I had with a DivaCup representative via e-mail when I was trying to get info on the capacity to update my cup charts (My DivaCup sample came with a hole punched in the side, so it can’t be filled with water, otherwise I’d have tested it myself):

Me: “Would you also be able to confirm for me the capacity of both sizes of cup – both to the airholes and to the rim. The information I have lists 20mls for the small (we presume this is to airholes) and 25mls for the large (also to airholes?). I am unable to try measuring the capacity of the cup myself, due to the hole preventing me from filling it with water.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds one full ounce of flow (30 ml). The Model 2 holds 30 ml and the Model 1 slightly less.”

Me: “I actually need to know the exact capacity to both the airholes and to the rim. Is that 30mls to the rim?

These are measurements that people would like to know, and that I include in the cup charts I compile, so without both these measurements I can only list the Diva on the bottom of the chart listing in an “unknown capacity” section, rather than placed where it should be.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds 30 ml (1 full ounce) to the brim. The Model 1 will hold slightly less.”

Me: “Thank you, but I very clearly said – TWICE – that I need to know the specific capacity to the AIRHOLES….. and “slightly less” isn’t really specific enough to be able to list on a comparison chart.”

Diva: “The DivaCup holds one full ounce of flow (in capacity) up to the brim (four holes in the cup). There are flow measure lines on the side that also note this. I can get the exact amount of what “slightly less” means in the coming days from production.”

I’m seriously not even joking.  I gave up at that point, and “slightly less” is now the official measurement I’m going with 😛

I’d like to say that’s the only example of a cup company dodging what should be a very simple question on their cup.  But I’ve had to ask several cups more than once for measurement information.  Sometimes if I’ve asked for capacity to rim and airholes, I get a “cup capacity is 20mls” type response.  20mls TO WHERE?  Or I’ll ask for the standard things I ask for – length in total, length without stem, capacity to airholes, capacity to rim.  And I’ll get an answer back with only the total length and a capacity to rim.

ARGH!

MeLuna, when the representative there and I had been having a conversation back and forth as I was trying to answer some questions about comparisons between their older style cups I have, and the newer ones (specifically if the “sport” level of hardness was equivalent to their original cups, or if the sport is harder than that) – eventually they just fobbed me off with a statement that they don’t speak English well enough to answer my questions any more? :/

This information matters to us!  Why is it so hard to give it to us?

Conversely, Lily Cup e-mailed me back, giving all the info, and in a handy table!  (customer service win!)

Lilycupsizing

And the thing is….. the thing that really annoys me…. is that I put time and effort into making these listing pages and cup charts – to benefit other people.  I don’t get anything for my efforts.  I’m not selling anything here, I’m not paid or given incentives by any cup companies.  I’m doing this partly to help out the cup companies by letting people know about their products, and partly to help people be able to find out about cups….

… and there are a lot of cup companies who can’t even be bothered to reply back to an e-mail asking about the capacity and measurements of their cups.

Please…. Cup Companies…. do us all a favour and just put ALL the information ON YOUR SITE!

But if you haven’t, and I ask you for it, JUST GIVE IT TO ME, PLEASE!  You are only making your brand look less appealing than other brands – and I am sure that is not what you want!

January 29, 2015 Posted by | news | 4 Comments

Similar or Rebranded Cups

Now… this isn’t intended to be any accusations of any brands doing the wrong thing.  This is just an observation that there are several cups that that look quite similar (if not exactly the same) to other cups.  So it is mentioned here with the intention to help clear up any confusion for consumers and provide as much information on cup brands as possible.

I would also like to make consumers aware of the possibility of many of these brands being a “rebranding” – where cups can be purchased for as little as 45c each, and then resold as the new brand name for $20-$30.  Click here to see my article on this.

For example here are some listings for the short stem cups that are popular at the moment.  One you can buy for $1.45 each (individually), the other as little as 50c each (in bulk):

blossom-care  ZhidaXintai_04a

Which appear to be the same design cups as these “branded” cups that retail at anything from about $10-$30

  blossomcup lola same_vidacup

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There are also a lot of these tab stemmed cups on AliExpress for between 45c each (in bulk) or $1.55 individually…

aliexpresslisting_tab ZhidaXintai_04b

Which appear to be the same  basic design as brands like these (you can see the Luno and iCare even have similar box art)

luno_pink2 icarecolours gyncup

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So in the interest of fairness and transparency – and to make sure people have the full information, I’m listing those cups that appear to have very similar (if not the same) design.  So you can make your own determination about which cups you may like to purchase.  For more information on the issue of Rebranding – see my article on that here.

There may be a few reasons that cups may look similar or identical to another brand.   These could be:

  • Re-branding – Where a business may be buying cups from the same supplier as other businesses do and package them with their own brand name.  In some cases they may have the packaging made for them as well (many of the AliExpress and Alibaba listings say they will provide packaging on request)
  • Sharing/Selling Designs – Where one cup business has sold or given the rights to reproduce their cup design, so that another business can sell the same cups with the original creators permission.
  • Copying/stealing designs – Where a business makes an copy (or perhaps a slight variation) of a brand of cup, without the permission of the original designer.

If you want to make sure you are getting a cup that is an “original” rather than a copy, look to see when the brand was established, and look to see how their overall website/business appearance is.  If you’re wanting a cheaper price, then I suggest shopping around – but making sure you look at the listings well to make sure you know what you are getting (cheaper isn’t always better).


Similar looking brands

This is a list of cup brands that have the same specific features and appear to be almost identical.  This is not meant to imply that any of these brands are “Copies” or “Rebrandings” – it is merely a comparison to highlight cups which appear to be the same shape and/or design – for research purposes.

(If you want a listing of all the known cup brands by stem type – look at the MASTER LIST here)

Diameter measurements (Small/Large) for the brands are also given when known, for easier comparison.  The slight (eg 1mm) difference between some brands that otherwise seem identical may be due to measuring errors or rounding up/down (eg a 41.5mm measurement may be rounded up or down by the brand/manufacturer), or may show the cup is actually a different size to another – I don’t know.

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Short thin stems

Cups that feature short rounded “stick” stems, with rings around the base of the cup and rings around the “ridge” area.  Some brands have a smooth stem, some have a grip rings but look otherwise identical:

cup_shorgripstem cup_shortsmoothstem

same_aneer   avaloona2b blossomcup  same_dutchess_th charlene same_cupaxsame_surecycle_th
Smooth Stem Cups: Aneer | Ava Loona | Blossom | Dutchess | Charlene | Cup’ax | Surecycle

same_athena same_easycups  lola same_vidacup

Grip Stem Cups: Athena | Easy Cups| Lola Cup | Vida Cup

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Short thick stems

Cups that feature grid-like grip lines around the base of the cup with shorter thick stems that have grip rings:

aneer2b

aneer-grid avaloona3b evaboxed2happygirlcup
Aneer | Ava Loona | Eva | Happy Girl

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Narrow Flat Tab stems – “Shiny”

Cups with a tab stem that features 3 grip lines and have very “shiny” looking silicone.  Can be clear or opaque.   Often with a slightly bent stem:

tab-shiny

* different sources give different measurements for this cup brand.

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Narrow Flat Tab stems – “Frosted”

Cups with a tab stem, usually 3 colours (clear, pink and a “purple” that is pretty much pink) and overall look very similar to each other. Have a more “frosted” or “Matt” appearance (though that may be just how they are photographed?), sometimes with a bent stem:

tab-frosted

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Wide Flat Tab stems

Cups that have a flat wide-tabbed stem, sometimes with low profile ridge (usually only on the small size) and sometimes without.

cheapcup_15

Brands of cup that appear to be this same design:

 

Solid long thick stems

These cups resemble the Yuuki brand of cup

yuuki-copy3

Other stems

Eco-lybera

Spiral grip line on the stem, both made in Italy, with same measurements and are available in the same clear or pink colour.  I have heard that this is the same cup, just given different names when being sold online or in stores.

 

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sibell

Cups that have a long “stick” stem with bumps on it

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amulette

Cups that have a long “stick” stem with grip lines on it (unlike the “bumps” of the above cups)

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anytime2

Cups that have a long thin stem, with “Flower” like grip design on the base

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lilycup

Cups that are “collapsible” (being able to fold up into a compact form for storage).

January 15, 2015 Posted by | comparisons, news | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Femmycycle Statement

After a few users complained that the suction of the Femmycycle caused pain (and one reported it caused internal damage), Femmycycle issued this statement, which contains some parts that some people find concerning.

“Ladies, we have some important information for you regarding the FemmyCycle and its safety. Be prepared, this post will be very long, but it has a lot of information to help answer the concerns and questions that have been asked.

We appreciate that you have taken the time to contact us directly about your concerns. This is important for us to know what concerns women have with the FemmyCycle, and we care greatly for our customers.

The FemmyCycle is a menstrual collection cup, and is classified as a medical device (Class 1). The FemmyCycle is approved and cleared by the FDA and approved and monitored by the CE. To become approved, the device had to go through rigorous and extensive testing to prove that it is safe to use. We are very involved with the FDA and making sure we meet every requirement for safety.”

(Please note that according to the FDA representative I spoke to, no Menstrual cups are “Approved” by the FDA – See info on this here.)

“None of the women who are currently using the FemmyCycle –aside from a few on this page – complained of pain. In fact, they do not feel it at all.

There are no reported side effects of the FemmyCycle. All of the claims of “ripped cervix” are false and impossible to be caused by a soft Silicone device and have never been reported by anyone else, or those during the FDA trials. It is impossible to be permanently damaged, if at all, by the FemmyCycle.

We are a very small company and do not have a large support network. Anyone who encounters any kind of issue with the FemmyCycle can speak with our medical director who is a licensed practitioner, and inventor of the device.

After speaking with the medical director, I have gathered medical information regarding the device that you will see below. First and foremost, we recommend that you do not use the FemmyCycle at all if you are bothered by it in any way. Discontinuing use is the best thing you can do. However, you are in full control of what you will do with the device, and can decide what action to take yourself.

The nerves in the vagina and the cervix are autonomic. Please see the following link to get a better idea (note: Wikipedia isn’t always the best source, but this article has a bibliography and footnotes/endnotes with sources for further information): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system.

The cervix/uterus and vagina do not have the ability to feel, nor can anyone control them directly. The opposite of this is the somatic nervous system. http://educationportal.com/…/somatic-nervous-system-definit…”

(I’m fairly sure most people with a vagina, would disagree that the vagina is not able to “feel”)

“This system controls feeling – sensory information. This is what the uterus/cervix and vagina are not!

Many women will have an IUD put into place by use of a tenaculum (a Google image search will show you what it is and how it works). This pierces the cervix. Women cannot and do not feel this, as there are no sensory nerves. The only time you would ever feel pain in your cervix is if it were to dilate.”

The “suction” design of the FemmyCycle is not meant to literally suck away at your cervix or anything else inside of you. It simply makes collecting the trickling fluid easier and quicker. The fluid that would normally take a few days to stop flowing are absorbed into the cup with a slight vacuum effect. There should never be any latching by the cup. The only reason that the cup would even be that close to the cervix is because of the vaginal muscles pulling onto the cup and making it go further into the vagina. This happens with all menstrual cups. They can ride up and even cups like the Diva Cup have a suction to them. It is in their nature.

To have bruising or swelling of the cervix because of the FemmyCycle or any other menstrual fluid collection cup is very rare. In those rare cases in which it does occur, the women experienced no pain whatsoever. Remember, this is because there are no sensory nerves in the cervix.

About the lack of air holes: if there were holes in the cup, it would defeat the purpose of the no-spill design. Also, those little holes are capable of harboring bacteria, which can host all sorts of problems and cause infections. If the FemmyCycle is difficult or painful to remove, it might be because of the way it was inserted, or simply that the light suction needs to be broken. To break the suction, all you have to do is squeeze the bottom of the cup, pull gently, and tilt upward and out.

With all of the things healthy women go through – childbirth (episiotomies and other painful parts of childbearing), getting and IUD put in, surgeries… The uterus/cervix heals well and quickly. There can be no permanent damage done by a menstrual cup. If this were true, the FDA, CE, and Health Canada would not approve the device at all.

I hope this helped clear up the issue. Please feel free to ask any questions or tell us any more concerns you might have with the FemmyCycle.

– The FemmyCycle Team”

August 5, 2014 Posted by | news | | 2 Comments