You have heard of pads and tampons being used by many women, but you may not have heard about this eco-friendly alternative if you have just begun your period and stepped into womanhood. We have all the things figured out for you that you need to know before, while, and after using a menstrual cup.
Keep reading today’s article to know about a menstrual cup how to use one, the pros and cons, and much more!
1. What is a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is one of the feminine hygiene products, just like tampons and pads that are generally reusable. It is a funnel-shaped product made out of medical-grade rubber or silicone and inserted into the vagina to wear. Unlike tampons and pads that absorb the menstrual flow, a menstrual cup collects your blood in it.
Now it might seem daunting at first as you will need to insert something like this into your vagina, and there might be lots of questions rising in your head, but let me clear your unspoken questions through this article, and you will know about the menstrual cup how to use it.
2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Menstrual Cup
Menstrual cups also have their share of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s get to know them and help you decide whether you should use this eco-friendly alternative or not and whether you will need to know more about a menstrual cup how to use it.
Most women choose to wear period cups because:
1. They are reusable: As mentioned before, you can reuse menstrual cups after every period, unlike tampons and pads, and live a sensation-free day.
2. They are budget-friendly: Pay once for a reusable cup and use it for many rounds of periods up to 12 hours for months.
3. No doubt, they are eco-friendly: Unlike pads and tampons, which are needed to be thrown away after every use, you would not need to throw away a reusable menstrual cup for a long time, and thus you can save nature from getting polluted.
4. They are much safer than other methods: Menstrual cups collect your blood rather than absorb it, you won’t get any infections like using a pad or tampon, which absorbs the flow.
5. They help you have hassle-free sex: You may know it or not, but you can also wear a cup while having sex. Not all reusable cups can be worn throughout sex. Still, some soft and disposable cups do not need any removal, and you and your partner can engage in intimacy without even acknowledging the cup inside your vagina and worrying about leaks.
6. They can be worn with an IUD: Yes, you can wear a cup even with an Intrauterine device (IUD). It was believed that menstrual cups could dislodge an IUD but was later found not to be true.
7. They can hold all of your flow safely: A menstrual cup can collect all of your period blood for up to 12 hours without any leaks (of course, if it is worn correctly), whereas there are chances of leaks with pads and tampons.
Now the share of disadvantages of using a menstrual cup is:
1. It can get messy during removal: To remove the cup, it is important to find a perfect and comfortable position, but this can’t be the case always, and you might face spillage of blood.
2. It can be allergic for some women: Generally, menstrual cups are made out of latex-free materials, which are allergy-free for some women, but not for all.
3. It can be troublesome during insertion or removal: It can become quite tricky at times to insert or remove the cup, especially in the case of beginners, for you may not find the right fold, or you may not be able to reach it easily inside your vagina and pinch the base of the cup.
4. It may cause vaginal irritation: If you try to insert the cup without any lubricant, you might feel discomfort and irritation. Also, you need to take care of the cup properly and wash every little hole and corner or experience vaginal irritation.
5. It can cause infection: If you do not wash your reusable period cup properly with water and mild soap after every disposal of blood, you might create a chance of infections spreading. Also, do not try to reuse disposable cups.
6. It can be tough to find the right cup: As menstrual cups come in different brands and sizes, you may have quite a tough time picking the right cup for yourself that will perfectly fit in your vagina.
3. Menstrual Cup How to Use One?
Menstrual cup how to use one is the question now. If you are willing to start using menstrual cups, it is recommended first to talk with your gynecologist.
Usually, women who have not given birth vaginally and are below 30 years of age are recommended to use menstrual cups which are smaller in size. In contrast, women above 30 and given birth through the vagina are recommended larger menstrual cups. Your cup size also depends on your blood flow.
After you have figured out your cup size, you are all set to use a menstrual cup. You have to follow the instructions of the ‘menstrual cup how to use it’ guide.
When you use a menstrual cup for the first time, you might feel a little discomfort. To save you from any discomforting experience, lubricate the rim of the cup before putting it inside your vagina. You can use water-based lube, or just water can also be used as a lubricant. A greased menstrual cup becomes much easier to insert and wear.
3.2 How to Insert the Menstrual Cup?
If you have had a tampon experience before, it would be much easier for you to insert and use a menstrual cup. But first things first, you must wash your hands with clean water and mild soap. Now you are ready for the insertion of the cup.
Mentioned below are the steps for inserting a cup:
Step 1- Relax Your Body and Muscles:
Find a position where you will be comfortable enough to place the cup inside, and try to relax your whole body, especially your pelvic floor muscles. This is an essential step to follow in the menstrual cup how to use it.
It is important to relax your muscles, or else you won’t be able to insert the menstrual cup easily, and it will take much effort during insertion. You can stand, squat, or sit on the toilet while inserting the cup.
Step 2- Fold:
To insert the cup, you need to fold it first so that the opening gets narrower for easy insertion. There are various folding methods, but the easiest ones are the Push-Down Fold and the C-Fold. C-Fold is recommended to beginners, but you can always try on different folds and check which one is easiest.
To go with the C-Fold, press the cup flat, pinch it in the middle and fold the top holding the rim to half to create a C shape. If you want to go with the Push-Down Fold, push down the cup’s rim into it to create a narrow point. Your menstrual cup should remain folded until it is inside your vagina.
Step 3- Insert the Cup:
With your free hand, locate your vaginal opening and slowly insert the folded menstrual cup. Remember, the cup should be kept in a folded position until it is all inside of your vagina. Menstrual cups are placed a few inches below the cervix, lower in the vaginal canal than tampons.
Step 4- Release the Folded Cup and Push:
After successfully inserting the folded cup, remove your fingers, release it inside your vagina, and let the cup open up. You might hear a suction sound if the cup has been inserted correctly. The sound indicates that the cup has created the suction seal, and it will save you from any leaks.
Gently push the cup from the base to plant it deep enough so that the stem is not protruding out of your vaginal opening and it is completely inside of you, but do not push it so much that later when it is time to take the cup out, you are not able to grab the stem of the cup.
If the stem is still protruding out even after you have pushed it deep inside, you can take out the cup, shorten the stem, and put it back inside your vagina. Do not cut the stem while the cup is inserted in your vagina.
Step 5- Rotate and Check:
If you are not sure that the cup has unfolded inside and did not hear the suction sound and are unsure if the suction seal has been created, gently grab the menstrual cup by the base, not by the stem, and rotate it. This step is optional from the ‘menstrual cup how to use it’ guide.
To double-check, you can insert a finger inside your vagina and up to the rim of the cup and check if there are any folds. It should feel round if there aren’t any folds.
Gently pull the stem of the cup and if you feel resistance, understand that the cup has been inserted correctly and successfully created a suction seal and is ready to save you from any leaks.
Now you have learned all about menstrual cup how to use.
Once the cup is correctly inserted and adhered to your vaginal walls, you will not fill it inside. You will not be able to make it out that something has been inserted into your vagina. If you feel the cup inside, it is better to take it out and re-insert it.
When you are using a menstrual cup for the first time, you might need to re-insert it because there may be chances that it did not get placed correctly, but you will be able to use menstrual cups perfectly with practice and time.
If you fear that you might experience leaks, you can always keep a pad or tampon with you.
3.3 How to Take Out the Menstrual Cup?
How will you take it out after you have inserted the menstrual cup successfully and wore it for 12 hours? Just follow these simple steps to take out a menstrual cup. But before, wash your hands with water and soap:
Step 1- Relax Your Body and Muscles, Once Again:
Again find yourself in a comfortable position and relax your whole body, especially your pelvic floor muscles. Repeat the essential step of the menstrual cup how to use it.
It is much more important to relax your body this time as you will be taking out the menstrual cup, and you would not want the cup to get stuck inside your vagina and make it hard for you to take it out by tensing up. You can take the help of your abdominal muscles and bear down, which will push the menstrual cup a bit down in your vagina and make it easier for you to pull it out.
Step 2- Remove the Cup:
First, you need to break the seal. Gently pull the stem of the menstrual cup down your vagina, then pinch the base of the cup so that the suction seal breaks and you can remove the cup smoothly.
Please do not remove the menstrual cup by pulling it straight out by the stem. Doing so might make you uncomfortable and mess up the take-out as the menstrual blood may spill out. Rather, pull the cup slightly on the stem and then pinch the base gently so that the rim gets folded up and the removal of the cup gets easier.
Step 3- Empty The Cup and Wash:
Once the cup is out of your vagina, empty the collected menstrual blood into the toilet and clean your cup with clean water or the wipes that come with the cup. You must clean the little air holes around the edges more carefully.
You can also check your flow before throwing it. Generally, menstrual cups have volume measurements on their sides.
After your cup is all clean, you are ready to re-insert it or store it if your period has ended.
Now you also know how to take out a menstrual cup. Just like inserting it correctly might take a few tries, taking out the cup might also take a few tries for the beginners. But as said before, with practice and time, you will be able to do it like a pro.
Just like that, you know pretty much everything about a menstrual cup how to use it.
4. What is the Perfect Time to Take Out Your Menstrual Cup?
The marked time to take out a menstrual cup without forgetting is after 12 hours. After that, you must dump your flow and wash the cup. But it depends on you when you will take the cup out between the 12-hour time period.
If you have a heavy flow, you may need to empty the cup ahead of the scheduled time, or else you can pass the time easily without worrying about leakage.
A recommendation for beginners from every ‘menstrual cup how to use it’ guide is that they should empty their cup more often when they have just started to use a menstrual cup so that they can know the capacity of the cup and if they have a heavy flow or a normal flow.
5. Always Keep Your Cup Clean
As the name suggests, hygiene products should always be kept clean and hygienic. This is truly the essential part of the ‘menstrual cup how to use it’ guide.
- Always follow the instructions that are given in the package.
- If you are using a reusable menstrual cup, remember to wash and wipe it clean after every removal and before every insertion.
- You must empty your cup at least twice a day.
- Disinfect your cup when using it for the first time and after every cycle by dipping it in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. You don’t need to disinfect it each time you empty the cup.
- Store it in a hygienic place.
- Taking care of a reusable cup properly will surely make it last for a year or more, but you must change cups once a year.
Keep your health safe and sound by keeping your cup clean.
6. A Couple of Tips for the Beginners
Tips are always helpful if you are using a cup for the first time. Keep these tips in mind while you start to get handy with menstrual cups:
- Explore your vagina with your finger and know it better.
- Use a water-based lubricant before insertion.
- Wear a pantyliner till you are no more in doubt about inserting a menstrual cup.
- Practice wearing the cup before a cycle.
That was a complete guide to the ‘menstrual cup how to use it, and everything you need to know.
Now you can think of adding menstrual cups to your options over a tampon. Try different brands. In the beginning, you might face trouble in getting handy with menstrual cups, but with practice and time, you will find that handling a menstrual cup is quite easy and safe. Just a few periods and you will find yourself becoming a period cup expert.
Hope this menstrual cup how-to-use guide will be much helpful for you as a beginner.