The Evolution of Menstrual Cups

18 July 2017
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The Evolution of Menstrual Cups


We all have our own stories to tell. Even menstrual cups. Did you know that menstrual cups were invented during the 1900s?

The first menstrual cup was not as comfortable as the modern ones. It was worn as a belt and was held up near the cervix with an attached wire.

Thanks to the midwifery group of McGlasson and Perkins. Also, thanks to Leona Chalmers who created better versions of the cup.

However, from the time it was created until the time it was introduced, menstrual cups were not properly advertised or marketed.

During the time when menstrual cups were slowly introduced to the public, it was the era of women who were not supposed to talk about their period or their bleeding vaginas in public.

It was not widely accepted by women simply because they are not comfortable with their period.

Also, women were not open to the idea of putting something inside them to collect the menstrual blood. Thus, it was difficult to market products such as menstrual cups.

The popularity of sanitary pads continues to rise because of the fact that pads are disposable and cannot be reused because menstrual cups can last longer (like 10 years or more).

Most users only own one or two cups, which can also be bad for business, unlike pads where you continuously produce them because a woman can use three or four pads a day depending on her menstrual flow.

 


Ancient Women

Imagine living in the ancient times and not having access to tampons or pads or menstrual cups.

Thanks to softened papyrus, ancient Egyptian women were able to deal with menstruation in their everyday lives. In some parts of the world, they used Moss or animal skins to absorb the flow. 

 


World War

War was bloody, especially the World War 1. And most nurses were female, taking care of wounded soldiers, treating wounds and applying bandages.

These female nurses realized that bandages could absorb blood better than cotton and later on started using bandages for menstrual blood flow. 


1930s

The early version of a menstrual cup was shaped like a bell and was made of rubber. Today, menstrual cups are made of rubber and silicone.

Leona Chalmers first patented the cup and sold commercially in the late 1930s.

However, most women were disgusted with menstrual blood that they only wanted to use something that can be dispose easily, such as sanitary pads.

 


1940s

Menstrual hygiene companies are lucky enough that their products are easy to market using the social media, TV commercials and billboards. In the past, it was a struggle to advertise feminine hygiene products.

Modess started to glamourize sanitary pad commercials, which gave way to the reintroduction of menstrual cups. However, women still weren’t interested and were not open to innovation. 


1980s

In the late 1980s, “The Keeper”, created in the United States, became the first commercially available menstrual cup during this time.

It was a latex rubber cup while Mooncup produced the first menstrual cup made of medical grade silicone and was manufactured in the UK. 


1990s

Fresh ‘n’ Fit Padettes, an inter-labial menstrual pad was introduced. Women were curious and became interested in trying the product.

However, they still wanted sanitary pads that didn’t have something to do with the labia. Menstrual cups were still unheard, especially in third world countries.

Menstrual cups were introduced in the early times and have been reintroduced again. Perhaps because women now are becoming more open to innovative menstrual hygiene ideas.

Only a few women are aware of what can sanitary pads and tampons do to damage our reproductive health.

In fact, some NGOs are promoting the use of menstrual cups in poor countries, especially in some parts of Africa.

Where young African girls hesitate to go to school when they are on their period because sanitary pads can be expensive.

Also, environmentalists are concerned about the garbage sanitary pad companies to contribute every single day.

The evolution of menstrual cups depends on how well women understand and realize the advantages of using menstrual cups.


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