How to Use a Menstrual Cup
Disclaimer: If you are grossed out by TMI moments, then you may want to have a friend read this post and give you a synopsis later. I am sharing my real experiences to answer your questions about a very real aspect of womanhood.
Ladies! Quilted XL pads and tampons are a thing of the past. It is time you catch up to 2020 and get into this new wave of menstrual cups. Hear me out!
Menstrual cups are the hottest feminine hygeine product and women everywhere are loving them. I remember when I first overheard some ladies talking about menstrual cups, I was both intrigued and disgusted. If this is how you currently feel about menstrual cups, just keep reading. This post is specifically for you!
I am going to answer your questions and give you all the nitty gritty on these cups. They are commonly referred to as diva cups (an actual brand), but the correct term is menstrual cup. I will simply call it a cup for ease. I am answering common questions about cups, based on my own research and my actual experience wearing a cup for my cycle.
Does wearing a menstrual cup save you money?
For sure! Rather than spending money on tampons or pads each month, you buy a cup once and reuse it each month. You will not need a new one unless it is damaged in some way, or you accidentally burn it like I did (major face palm). I was boiling my cup (see #3) and forgot about it. Once I came back to it, the thing was a sticky mess.
Is wearing a menstrual cup messy?
This is the question everyone asks when they find out I wear a cup. Before I became a devout “cupper”, I just imagined blood everywhere, when I thought about the process of using a cup. The truth is, when you are just starting out, you may have some bloody moments. There is absolutely a learning curve to wearing a cup. Once you get the hang of things you will have a much cleaner experience. Keep reading and follow my suggestions to avoid a blood bath.
How do I know what menstrual cup to buy?
You can take THIS quiz here and see what is recommend based on your personal answers. You do not have to purchase the exact cup recommended by the quiz, but it gives you a good place to start. I personally prefer a larger cup, which holds more liquid, but your body may be different and require a smaller cup. Additionally, I have learned that a higher price does not always equate to the best cup for you. Having lived abroad, I purchased my first cup for less than 15 Euros and it worked very well. I ended up being too small, so I eventually sized up to another less pricey cup and it worked great too. I currently use THIS cup and love it.
How do you insert a menstrual cup?
This is where you will have the most learning to do. I am linking a video at the very end of this post to give you a visual of inserting and removing your cup (it is not graphic). I do have some personal recommendations that have proved to work really well for me, but the visual will really help. From my experience, the best way to insert a cup is to do so standing up.
In the video you will see the different ways to fold your cup to insert it. The C-fold is the fold that seems most natural to me, but you may find that you prefer a different fold. Once you have inserted the cup it is good to sort of wiggle it around to make sure it pops open. Then, you will pull down on it to make sure it is suctioned into place. The video below demonstrates this. It should be hard to pull and then you will know it is secure.
The first few times you wear a cup, you will learn how far up or down your cup needs to be. If it is leaking, it means the cup was inserted incorrectly and did not suction. Do not be discouraged if you do not get it right the first time.
Does it hurt to use a menstrual cup?
There should be no pain involved with wearing a cup. Just like using a tampon, you should not feel the cup once it is inserted. If you actually can feel something sitting inside your vagina, you likely did not push it up far enough. When removing your cup, you will feel the very slight pressure of the pull, but it is not painful. Again, I have never experienced any pain from anything related to a cup.
How do you remove a menstrual cup?
To take your cup out, I recommend sitting down on the toilet. Relax and use your pelvic floor muscles (strong Kegels) to push the cup low enough for you to grab it. You will decide if it is easier for you to grab it from the front or reach behind you to grab it. Once it is low enough, you can use some tissue to help you get a better grip on the cup and stem, allowing you to pull it out. As you pull it out, tilt it downward to empty it in the toilet. If you just yank it out, without being careful, you will toss the contents everywhere.
How do you clean a menstrual cup?
To clean your cup, you can simply rinse it out at the sink, or you can use a gentle soap first, then rinse. In case you do not have access to a sink, I recommend keeping individually wrapped wipes in your purse. You can use THESE wipes wipe your cup down. When in public, try to choose the handicap stall, as they typically have a sink in the stall. The wipes are great alternative. I have even used baby wipes when I was in a pinch and didn’t have my cup wipes on me. Don’t judge me!
At the end of your cycle, you should clean your cup with soap (I use Castille soap), then boil it for 3-5 minutes. Set a timer, so you do not burn your cup like I did! Every cup comes with a storage bag, which is where you should store your cup. As my cycle nears, I keep my cup in my purse. I have always recommended using a mobile app to track your cycle, so you can be better prepared. I use the Maya App on Google play. There is also an Apple Version. It is a free app, but you can earn 50 points towards the Premium option by using my referral code: 94q1wg
How often should you change a menstrual cup?
As a newbie, you should plan to empty and rinse your cup as often as you would normally change a pad or tampon. Eventually, you will learn how long you can go before the cup fills up.
Should you wear a panty liner with a menstrual cup?
It is not 100% necessary, but you absolutely can. This is basically a security blanket to ease your mind, especially when you are new to using cups. Even after 2 years, I still wear a panty liner. I admit, that the cup is so comfortable, I have forgotten about it and had overflow accidents. I was very grateful for the liner on those occasions.
Can you wear a menstrual cup to bed?
Yes! Depending on the heaviness of your cycle, you can wear a cup for up to 12 hours. I always recommend emptying your cup right before bed, so you don’t have to wake during the night to change it.
Can you wear a menstrual cup in the shower?
Yes, you can shower with your cup in, but I prefer to shower with it out. I find it very easy to insert a cup after taking a shower. I take mine into the shower with me and insert it as soon as I am done.
Can you wear a menstrual cup in the pool?
Just like tampons, you can wear a menstrual cup in the pool. Obviously, I would wait until you are a pro at getting the perfect seal. You definitely don’t want a leaky cup in a pool!
Can my daughter wear a menstrual cup?
Short answer is yes. There are different opinions about which is easier, tampons or cups. In my opinion, your daughter will only know what she knows. If she starts out using one method, she will eventually become a pro a that method. I do think every method has a learning curve when you are just a little girl bleeding for the first time. I suggest having open conversations about all the methods of feminine hygiene products. All methods are appropriate for girls with their first period. However, presenting your daughter with a cup the size of a small shot glass may be alarming, so tread lightly and be considerate of her response.
This cup brand does a great job answering questions related to starting your daughter on a menstrual cup: Read it Here
My Final words for all cuppers
Always wash your hands after handling your cup. I just felt the need to say that.
Do not give up if you can’t get the hang of it right away. I believe it took me 2 or 3 cycles to really get it right. I learned that I was inserting the cup too far up. Eventually, I just got it and no longer had issues.
I, personally, will never go back to using tampons. There is so much less hassle with a cup, once you get your process down. I love only needing to carry a couple of wipe packets and liners in my purse, rather than a bag of tampons.
I hope you decided to give the cup a try and see how it can change your life! Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
As promised here is the video to give you more of a visual on inserting and removing a menstrual cup: Watch it here
Share this post with a friend who has been thinking about switching to the cup!