Why Use Menstrual Cups
I decided to make the switch to more sustainable period care this year, and it has been one of my best decisions yet. Menstrual cups have changed the way I see my period; it’s less of a burden!
To sum up that post, menstrual cups are amazing because they:
Save you money because you can use the same cup for up to 10 years.
There are no harsh chemicals like other period products because they are only made from silicone.
They are sustainable and don’t produce waste like pads and tampons.
I was also motivated to make the switch because I felt as though the tampons were taking all the good bacteria from my vagina. I wanted a more natural product that didn’t interfere with my body’s natural fluids.
Additionally, I didn’t want to spend money each month on tampons. And since my flow is heavier, I was using more tampons throughout the day.
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Which Menstrual Cup To Use
There are so many options when it comes to choosing a period cup. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some companies like Saalt, even donate a percentage of their profits to women around the world that lack period care.
I went on amazon and invested in a few from different companies.
This one from Flex, offers a stem you can pull out like a tampon and is in the color black! This one personally didn’t work for me because it was too large in size.
I also tried this cup from Intimina in the size A (smaller size for women who have not had a vaginal birth). This cup shape is in a unique lily shape, unlike most period cups. This cup did not work for me because I think it was too small.
The next cups I tried were the cheapest and came with two sizes, small and large. The large size from Blossom Menstrual Cups ended up working the best.
However, my cup from Saalt ended up working the best!
When it comes to deciding which cup to use, you may have to try a few! It can get pricey at first but it is worth the investment. As mentioned previously, you can use the same cup for up to 10 years! You’re saving thousands of dollars and reducing waste.
Using Your Menstrual Cup For The First Time
Using your cup for this first time can be scary and a little intimidating. Having to insert a foreign object into your body doesn’t sound pleasant at first but it gets better with practice!
Here are some tips for inserting your cup:
Wash Your Hands And Cup: Before each cycle, you’ll want to boil your cup for 3-5 minutes or sanitize it. Also, be sure to wash your hands before and after insertion.
Relax: You will be more successful inserting your cup when your body isn’t tense. Take a few deep breaths and relax.
Find Your Preferred Position: You can sit on the toilet, crouch on the ground, or even prop your leg up in the shower. Find a position that is comfortable for you to insert the cup.
Fold Your Cup Into Preferred Shape: There are many folds you can try to insert your cup. Your menstrual cup should come with a pamphlet showing you the different folds. The C fold is one that I use. You simply flatten the rim of your cup and fold it in half and it should look like the letter ‘C’.
Wet With Water or Water-Base Lubricant: It may be easier to insert your cup with moisture. I like to insert mine in the shower but also wetting the rim in the sink works too!
Experiment With What Fingers You Use To Insert: At first, I was using my thumb and index finger. However, after a few cycles, I discovered that only using my thumb provided the best angle for insertion.
The Cup Sits Lower In The Vagainal Canal: At first, I made the mistake of inserting the cup too high, thinking it needed to be closer to the cervix. I was wrong! Unlike tampons, the stem in a menstrual cup is supposed to be on the lower end of the vaginal canal. I personally like some stem outside of my vagina and that provides me with the best seal. But keep in mind the position of the cup varies from woman to woman!
Be Sure The Cup Is Sealed: When inserted correctly, you’ll either hear a suction sound or you can feel for no dents in the cup. You may have to move and twist the cup around if it is not sealed – this is what prevents leaks! Gently use your index finger to feel around the cup once inserted.
It took me months to learn how to insert my cup correctly without any leaks. And one cycle I reverted back to tampons because I was so frustrated! But don’t give up! It may take time but in the end, you’ll be glad you made the switch!
You may need to pair your menstrual cup with a liner or period panties at first while you learn how to insert your cup.
How To Remove Your Menstrual Cup
Removing your menstrual cup is fairly easy. Be sure to wash your hands, relax, get into a comfortable position, and find the stem of the cup. Upon finding the step, guide your finger to the side of the menstrual cup and apply pressure to break the suction seal.
Carefully empty the cup in the toilet or sink and rinse your cup. Re-insert cup or if your period has ended, you can sanitize or boil it for 3-5 minutes.
Be sure to remove your cup at least every 12 hours.
Common Misconceptions About Menstrual Cups
After posting my first post about menstrual cups on my blog and Instagram, I got many comments with concerns regarding the cup. Many of the concerns were based on ideas that weren’t even true! Let’s talk about some misconceptions that even I had before using the cup!
It can get lost or stuck: Your cup will not get lost or stuck. It cannot fit into your cervix and therefore will not go past your vaginal canal. However, it can twist and turn inside your vagina. Here’s a personal story for you. I once woke up in the morning to empty and clean my cup. I looked for the stem, like always, but I panicked when I couldn’t feel it. Carefully, I guided my finger further inside my vagina only to discover that it had turned sideways while I was sleeping. I was very nervous, to say the least. However, I remained as calm as possible and pinched the side to turn it.
It’s messy: I won’t lie, it can be messy at times, especially when you’re just starting out. From having to dump out the blood to dealing with blood coming out while you’re reinserting it. I would recommend spending most of your cycle at home when you’re just starting out until you get the hang of it.
It can get messy if the cup is really full and can spill. I suggest taking the cup out in the shower or over the toilet to keep it as clean as possible.
It’s hard to use: I wouldn’t say it’s hard to use but there is definitely a learning curve. It took me about 5 cycles to fully learn how to use my cup without leaks. I had to learn which cups work best for my body, what fingers to use, what angle to insert it in, and which cup I need to use at night. And even though I have progressed significantly from the beginning, I still get some leaks occasionally mostly caused by the positioning of the cup.
It’s not for heavy flows: This is false! The cup is great for heavy flows as it can hold the same amount of blood as 3-4 tampons. I personally have a heavy flow and on my heavier days, I only need to empty the cup about 3 times a day!
It will leak if you move too much: This is a yes and no scenario, at least for me. Once when I was working out with the cup, I began to feel a leakage I think caused by the cup being re-positioned. Also, sometimes when I sleep or lie down, the cup moves as well. In these cases, I should have switched to the smaller cup and positioned it further up my vaginal canal.
But this really just comes down to learning your body and discovering which cups work best for certain situations. Over time you’ll be a master with menstrual cups!
It’s difficult to use in public restrooms: Personally, I think so. I avoid it if I have to. This one relates to it being messy. If you have to empty it in a public restroom with a stall – bring a bottle of water and hand sanitizer. Sanitize your hands, remove the cup, dump the blood in the toilet, rinse the cup with the water bottle, and re-insert. It’s definitely more work and public restrooms contain more germs than your bathroom at home. It’s not impossible, just a little more challenging.
You can feel the cup inside of you: You cannot! Although it seems large and intimidating, it’s actually similar to a tampon. You can’t feel it at all once inserted correctly.
The Positives Outweigh The Drawbacks
When it comes to menstrual cups, there are definitely more reasons to use them than there are not to use them! Yes, there is a learning curve, and yes it can get messy. But knowing that you are doing your part in reducing waste around the world, saving money, and treating your body like a palace it worth it in my opinion!
I wish I would have found out about menstrual cups sooner and I wish it wasn’t stigmatized to talk about something so natural!
If you have any more questions regarding menstrual cups, don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below!
For more women’s health tips, check here!