Exercising is a fantastic way to reduce cramps and mood swings, pre, during and post period.

To help you beat Mother Nature and keep you cycling throughout your period, we’re showcasing a remarkable product, the menstrual cup, that makes pedalling on your period, dare we say it, enjoyable!

It’s a fact of life that at some point you’re going to have to ride your bicycle while on your menstrual cycle. Although intimate hygiene is a personal choice, here is something you might not have considered, the menstrual cup, a sanitary device that does a fab job replacing the need for tampons and sanitary towels.

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Although tampons offer a discreet, mess free solution to stem your flow, it is a product that can often create all manner of discomfort. If you are at the start or end of your period, tampons can cause dryness and leave fibres behind unsettling your natural balance. Add these issues to being in the saddle for hours, and you can see you’re creating a recipe for disaster.

We've found the menstrual cup is a much better alternative to tampons and pads, here's one of the menstrual cup manufacturer's to show you how it works.

If you’re keen on going green, reducing tampon use is a great place to start. It’s a startling fact that on average women will go through 11,000 tampons or pads in their fertile lifetime. Not only is this detrimental to our environment but it also puts a strain on your wallet.

Some women find it difficult to adapt to using tampons, so pads are often their only option. They may offer less leakage protection and be difficult to disguise in tight lycra, but you can easily get around that by sporting some mountain biking baggies.

If your sanitary products cause you discomfort or are lacking protection, take a look at the menstrual cup, a reusable device that collects rather than absorbs your flow.

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The device, as the name suggests, is a reusable flexible cup, predominately made from medical grade silicone, worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect your monthly flow. Manufacturers recommend they should be removed, rinsed and reinserted up to every 8 hours.

Unlike pads and tampons, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.

Why are menstrual cups great for cycling?

While cycling, you never know when or where your next pit stop will be. With menstrual cups holding at least three times as much fluid as the most super-absorbent tampon, you can be assured you’ll be covered, even on your heavier days.

Even if you’re cycling on a light period, as cups collect rather than absorb fluid, it won’t cause you dryness or irritation, both things that can cause untold discomfort when you’re in the saddle for hours.

Woman riding bicycle with her legs in the air

Because the cup is reusable, you only need to 'carry' one on you. There’s no need to faff trying to disguise a tampon or pad amongst your cycling spares. It also removes the need to worry about disposal of used products, something that can be tricky if you’re riding a sportive or at a downhill race with no female specific facilities. It really is just a case of clean and goes. Your body has a self-cleaning system, and the silicone cups are made from is designed not to support the growth of bacteria so there is no need to sterilise it during your period, just rinse it with water.

Long distance cycling is finally made a comfortable possibility with the cup. It is disheartening to hear that so many women stave off getting in the saddle because they just can’t find a product that provides them with enough comfort. Even for us hardened cycling veterans just the thought of cycling something like Lands End to John O’Groats, with just a pad or tampon fills us with dread.

Disadvantages?

It is true that the initial outlay for an individual cup is more expensive than a pack of pads or tampons, however, within about 6-12 months the cup has paid for itself. You may need to buy Milton's to disinfect the cup, but a bottle will last you a year.

Another area some women struggle with is inserting and removing the cup. This can be helped by trying various sizes, different thicknesses of cup wall, using a water-based lubricant or even just changing the method you use to fold the cup.

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It is great to see so many cups available, offering slightly different designs. They come in a wide variety of colours, stem styles, capacities and firmness levels.

While they may not appeal to everyone, menstrual cups are becoming a more popular option for sports enthusiasts.

You may also enjoy:

Everything you need to know about UTIs and cycling

How to treat saddle sores from cycling

How to ride your bike every day of the month