What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a reusable cup used during a woman’s period or menstruation. It’s shaped like a bell with stem and usually an alternative to pads or tampons. It is inserted in the vagina and seals against the vaginal wall just below the cervix to prevent menstrual fluid to leak.
Many women turn to try to use the menstrual cup as it promotes eco-friendly usage because a cup of this product can collect menstrual fluid for up to five years (depending on how you take care of it). Instead of absorbing the menstrual fluid like tampons or pads, the menstrual cup collects the fluid which greatly decreases the amount of waste generated from the menstrual cycle.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Using a menstrual cup can be daunting to women on their first try. However, you don’t have to worry because a menstrual cup is designed to stretch, adjust and return to its normal shape. You just have to identify which size is for you. Since the vagina is soft and stretchy, two sizes were created for women. The first one is the smaller size, generally suited for women aged 30 years below and who have not given birth while the other size is a large size, for women over 30 years old and who have given natural birth.
If it’s your first to use a menstrual cup and it’s still fresh from the packaging, make sure to sterilize it for 3-5 minutes in boiling water (not touching the base of the pot to avoid burning the product).
Remember: You don’t have to put it in a boiling water every time you are washing it, cleaning it with warm water and a mild-unscented soap will do.
How to put in your menstrual cup
Putting a menstrual cup for the first time can be tricky but here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it for the first time.
Before inserting the cup, make sure you wash your hands and your menstrual cup with warm, clean water and mild soap.
Step 1: Fold the Cup
There are different ways to fold a menstrual cup, but here are 3 ways in which you can use:
- C-Fold – fold the cup in half pressing it closed, then fold again in half lengthwise. This way, you can see that it looks like a C. This fold is the most recommended way of folding the cup.
- 7-Fold- it is another way to fold a cup. By doing this, you have to fold the cup in half, pressed it closed. Pull down one top corner down towards the base of the cup, on the opposite direction of the top corner you pulled down. This way of folding a cup is popular to women who have difficulty inserting the cup as it creates a smaller insertion area rather than the C fold.
- Punch down Fold – this type of fold creates the smallest area of insertion. To do this, you have to push the rim down to the base of the cup, then, slowly remove your thumb while you pinch the cup together.
Step 2: Insert the Cup
To insert the menstrual cup, it is important to relax your muscle so it will be easier to insert the cup. First, find a comfortable position. You can stand, squat, sit on the toilet or bath.
You may want to use water or a water-based lubricant to make it easier to insert the cup.
Since you already fold your cup in the best way that suits you, you need to gently insert the folded cup in the entrance of the vaginal canal. Once the entire cup is inside you, simply remove your fingers and let it pop up. (Always check the guide included on your menstrual cup)
If you are unsure whether you put it correctly or not, just feel the base of the cup to see if there are noticeable fold, if none, you are good to go. If you feel that there are dents on the base of the menstrual cup, it means that it’s not properly inserted. To correct this, just slowly rotate the base of the cup (not the stem) to move it. To further check it, just gently pull the stem of the cup, if there’s resistance it means that you have placed the cup correctly.
Step 3: Wear the Cup
Once you have inserted the cup, and you’ve checked if it’s properly in place. You are good to go. You have up to 12 hours to use the cup. You can leave the cup for the whole day- clean it- then wear it again at night.
Remember: If you have a heavy flow, you may have to empty it more than once during the whole day.
Step 4: Remove the Cup
It is not ideal to leave the cup for more than 12 hours so you have to remove it. Before removing the cup, make sure you washed your hands with clean water and mild soap to ensure hygienic actions. You need to find the ideal position for you like you did when you inserted it.
The cup is very easy to remove, all you have to do is use the stem to guide your fingers to the base of the cup. Gently pinch the base to release the suction and slowly remove the cup.
Do not directly pull the stem of the menstrual cup as this may cause discomfort and sudden leakage.
Step 5: Clean the Cup
Now that you’ve removed the cup, it’s time to clean it. To do this, just empty out the collected fluid inside the cup into the toilet or the sink and rinse the cup with clean water. Once done, you can reuse it again following Step 1.
If it’s the end of your cycle, you can sterilize it by putting it in boiling water for 5-10 minutes (ensuring that the cup will not touch the bottom of the pot) or simply clean it with warm, clean water and mild soap then store it in the original pouch.
Why Choose a Menstrual Cup?
Switching to a menstrual cup is not quite an easy decision for most women. It can be quite intimidating at first as it’s not similar to using pads but closer to using tampons. However, If you opt to switch into a menstrual cup; here are a couple of benefits it can give you:
Comfortable and Very Effective
Menstrual Cups are comfortable to wear and offer better leakage protection than other menstrual products. It is not sticky and irritating like pads and it collects the fluid rather than absorbs it like a tampon. Since it’s inside you, there’s no leakage unless you did not seal it properly.
Pads and Tampons will cost more as time goes by. However, a menstrual cup will save you more as you only have to pay a one-time price and you can reuse the cup.
Since it’s a product designed to be reused, it can save tons of waste generated from the pads and tampons you’ve been using which can save the environment.
Why NOT Choose a Menstrual Cup?
Yes, a menstrual cup also has its own disadvantages that you still need to keep in mind.
It can be messy
Inserting a menstrual cup can be an easy task but removing it is a different scenario. Since there’s fluid in the cup, you really have to be careful in removing it because it can be difficult and awkward to remove it. Especially if you are new to this, you may experience spills and leakage throughout the process.
Tough to find the right size
The menstrual cup comes with different sizes, it’s not a one-size fit all type of product so you have to find the right brand for you that will fit perfectly.
There can be a chance of infection
If you don’t wash and clean the cup properly, you can be irritated and there can be an infection. So you have to make sure that clean it and wash your hands before inserting and removing it.
Always remember that a menstrual cup us a feminine hygiene product so you have to take extra care when using it. Make sure to follow the procedures and wash your hands and the product to avoid getting an infection.
If you’re looking for one, we highly recommend you to get the Lazy Monk menstrual cup.