I just LOVE talking about the concept of the menstrual cup. People are either intrigued or grossed out! The thing is, if you’re female and between the ages of around 15-50, you’re most likely getting a period around 12x a year; over 400 in your lifetime. And if the average woman uses 25 tampons/pads in one cycle, that equates to 300 in a month; 10,000 in a lifetime. There are around 6,000,000 women of menstruating age in Australia, so in one month, you could expect around 18,000,000 pads and tampons are being used. All of that heading off to landfill. ALL OF IT. Unless of course they’re using a menstrual cup! Did you know menstrual cups have actually been around since the early 1900’s?
I have tried, LOVE and stock JuJu cups, made in Australia, but there are other brands out there too. They all work in practically the same way: they catch your menstrual flow. That’s right, they catch it all, and only require emptying and cleaning 2-3x a day. And once it’s in, you shouldn’t feel it at all.
Juju is TGA approved, and made from medical grade silicone with no BPA, fragrance, latex, dyes or colours. You can expect it to last for around 10 years. At $55rrp, that equates to .45c per cycle over those 10 years, for the average woman. AND NO LANDFILL.
When making the switch to a menstrual cup, it helps to know your anatomy. And it’s totally ok if you don’t! I used to teach high school health classes, so I have heard it all! If you’re unsure of what your cervix feels like, prior to first using your JuJu, use your finger to locate it. It feels like the tip of your nose with a teeny hole on the end (glamorous hey?!). If you feel around your cervix, you’ll notice muscle wall. The JuJu can’t go too far up.
Selecting the right size
Here are some tips when choosing:
Model 1: Recommend if you are under 30 and have not given birth, or if you have exceptionally well-behaved pelvic floor muscles. This model holds max. 22mls.
Model 2: Recommend if you are over 30 or have given birth, vaginally or via C-section. This model holds max. 33mls.
Model 3: Recommend if you have a high cervix or long vaginal canal. Usually a high cervix is hard to feel during a self-examination. This model holds max. 28mls.
Model 4: Recommend if you have a low cervix or short vaginal canal. A low cervix sits quite close to the opening of your vagina. This model holds max. 32mls.
If you’re leaking but your cup isn’t full it may be that you don’t have the right size cup for your anatomy. Bear in mind that you may have had a baby but may find model 2 isn’t quite right for you, or visa versa. I hope you find the right fit first time, but if after 4-5 cycles, you’re still seriously struggling, it may be that you have the wrong size.
Squeeze and fold the JuJu and insert it into the vaginal canal, just like a tampon. For more folding techniques, check this link.
It helps to use your pointer finger and thumb and as it slips in and opens, keep your thumb in there to make sure it opens fully and creates a seal around your cervix – I swipe around the entire rim to be sure. If you can feel the tip of your cervix, take it out and start again, or adjust it.
You may prefer inserting your JuJu while sitting on the toilet, or squatting, or with one leg on the toilet seat. Just make sure you are relaxed.
Once inserted, it opens and creates a suction seal and collects menstrual flow. Until recently, the guidelines from JuJu were to remove and empty 2x times a day, so every 12 hours. Now it is advised to empty every 8 hours but to be honest, mine gets emptied at around 6.30am and 6.30pm, in the shower because I find that the easiest way to empty, wash and reinsert.
When starting out, you will be surprised as to how much flow you’re actually creating. Even those with heavy cycles are shocked at how little there is. But of course, in the early days, go 3-4 hours and see what’s happening in there; get educated on your own cycle.
Emptying and replacing
When it is time to empty, simply sit on the toilet or squat in the shower (preferably in peace or the kids will be calling 000), RELAX and squeeze the JuJu until you feel the suction release. You may need to bear down slightly (like when doing a poo) if you have a high cervix and can’t reach the JuJu to squeeze it. Remove and empty, wash in hot, soapy (low tox of course) water and reinsert. Make sure you’re cleaning the little holes around the rim too. Use a toothpick carefully if they don’t unblock with running water.
Sterilising and storing
At the end of each cycle, sterilise by boiling (a rinsed and washed) JuJu for a max. of 3-5 min. Then allow to dry fully before storing it in the little breathable pouch included in the box. Never store in plastic or an airtight container.
The average JuJu cup should last 10 years, however, that depends on how it is used, stored and cared for. Replace your JuJu if it has an odour, any cracks or tears, is VERY discoloured (some discolouration is normal), has a sticky film or is causing you irritation.
Tips and other info
- Juju holds 2-3x the volume of a tampon or pad – cool hey?! It can be worn overnight, during exercise, swimming etc.
- Cut the silicone knobby tip off if you feel like it is stabbing you – that was my final tweak before true JuJu-love.
- So many people say that their periods are lighter, shorter and less painful. True story.
- When you buy a JuJu, there is an instruction leaflet inside and lots of info at juju.com.au – read it!
- Some people worry about the JuJu popping out when they go to the toilet. Peeing is typically fine, but for some, depending on many factors, pooping may dislodge it. If you find this happens, perhaps remove your JuJu for that business, or use toilet paper and apply pressure to that area. If your fingers are clean, you may just need to push it back up there.
- If you have an IUD, you might like to talk to your doctor. JuJu advise you wait 2 full cycles after insertion of your IUD, and to be careful you don’t accidentally pull the strings of the IUD when removing your JuJu.
- Never use a JuJu cup during postpartum bleeding or following a miscarriage (risk of infection)
- Thing I love the most is the convenience of feeling protected when I THINK my period is due. Unlike tampons (which shouldn’t be worn unless you’re actually menstruating), JuJu is your ‘safety net’. Please don’t use a JuJu between cycles!
- Let’s look at your average tampon. It may contain cotton, viscose rayon, or synthetic textile polymers. I have tried to search a few popular companies that sell pads and tampons and it’s hard to see what they’re using. Brands like Toms are made from 100% organic cotton and nothing else; Cottons are made from 100% chemical-free cotton – excellent. Bear in mind that some tampons and pads may be made using cotton that has been treated heavily with pesticides, and other chemicals during manufacture.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome is usually associated with tampon use and is serious. If you have suffered with this condition in the past, check with you practitioner before using internal sanitary products.
- Adolescents can use JuJu cups but it could take a little longer to get used to. If you have a good relationship with your teenage daughter, it may be useful to them if you help them. Lots of tips here.
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Morale of my story here – JuJu is incredible! I’ve been using mine for around 24 cycles now, and despite a few teething issues in the first few cycles, it get 10/10 from me! Give it 3 cycles to fall properly in love with it and I can almost promise you won’t turn back!