JuJu is a range of healthy, ecologically friendly and cost-effective menstrual products manufactured by Freedom Products – a privately owned, environmentally conscious, Australian company founded in 2009.
I vividly remember the first time I heard about menstrual cups. Tina, part of the Nourished Life team and the office's unofficial eco warrior (she was using reusable coffee cups before we'd even heard of reusable coffee cups!) told me about them, and I seriously thought they were the weirdest thing I had ever heard of. I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea!
Fast forward eight or nine years, and I can't comprehend why anyone wouldn't use a menstrual cup. I've been using mine for a number of years now and I can honestly say that I will never, ever go back. Menstrual cups are the sort of products where once you start using one, you'll find yourself recommending them to anyone who'll listen!
The first menstrual cups I ever stocked at Nourished Life were the JuJu cups, and to this very day they're still my favourite brand. In this week's episode of the podcast, I spoke to the incredible Brenda Tootell, the founder of JuJu, to talk about why some people are still so reluctant to embrace menstrual cups and how we can all work together to break the period taboo.
What is a menstrual cup and how do you use it?
Brenda explains that a JuJu menstrual cup is an egg-cup shaped device made from highly flexible, soft, medical grade silicone and an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable period products like tampons and pads.
To use a menstrual cup, fold it in half and then in half once again. The menstrual cup is then inserted into the vagina, the same way you would insert a tampon, and it then unfolds to open up and seal your vagina walls, catching your period flow rather than absorbing it.
JuJu cups can be worn for longer than a tampon- the convenience is one of my favourite things about them! After eight hours, you just remove the cup, thoroughly wash it and then reinsert it!
Much like when you start using tampons for the first time, using a menstrual cup can be a little bit of a learning curve. Brenda advises to "be patient and give it time," suggesting you wait three cycles before deciding if the cup is right for you or not. If you're finding it a bit uncomfortable, just ease your way in- start by wearing it on one day of your period, then switch to pads or tampons the next. You'll be using your JuJu cup on every day of your period before you know it!
What makes JuJu different from other menstrual cups?
I've tried so many different menstrual cups and I can honestly say that I always come back to JuJu. I find the JuJu cups to be so much more comfortable than what else is out there, as some other brands use a slightly harder, less flexible silicone.
Brenda tells me that sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error before women find their "Goldilocks cup"- the one that's just right!
JuJu initially launched with two different versions of their cup- Model 1 for women under 30 who have not given birth, and Model 2 for women who are over 30 or anyone who has given birth (although she does add that these are just guidelines as anatomies do vary). Due to public demand, JuJu later launched two more models! Model 3 is for those who have a high cervix and therefore have a longer vaginal canal, and Model 4 is a shorter, slightly more bulbous cup for those with a lower cervix.
That's one of the many reasons why I love JuJu- they really listen to their customers, have so many menstrual cup options, and are always working to make the experience of finding that "Goldilocks cup" that bit easier!
Why should you use a menstrual cup?
For those who might still be feeling a little reluctant to start using a menstrual cup, I asked Brenda for the top 3 reasons why women should make the switch.
1. They are eco friendly. Brenda tells me that women have around 400 menstrual cycles in their lifetime. If they're using 5 tampons or disposable pads on each day of their period, that equate to about 25 tampons per month, 300 a year and over 10,000 in a lifetime. When you buy a JuJu cup, you only need to use one product for many, many years!
2. The health benefits. Unlike tampons and pads, menstrual cups contain no chemicals that can leach into the body, no absorption agents or bleaches which means no irritation, and they help maintain an optimal vagincal pH balance.
3. Convenience. Because JuJu cups don't need to be changed as often as a tampon or pad, JuJu cups make it so much easier for you to go about your day stress free. They're also completely internal, so you can play sport and go to the gym as you ordinarily would, you can travel with just one product, and you'll never have to rush out to the shops for an emergency restock!