A menstrual cup is a type of reusable feminine hygiene product. It's a small, flexible funnel-shaped cup made of rubber or silicone that you insert into your vagina to collect the liquid from your period. Cups can hold more blood than other methods, leading many women to use them as an eco-friendly alternative to sanitary pads. And depending on your flow, you can wear a cup for up to 12 hours.
In this article
- How to use the menstrual cup
- How it fits
- What are the advantages and disadvantages
How to use the menstrual cup
If you are interested in using a menstrual cup, talk to your gynecologist. Although you can buy any brand online or in most stores, you will first need to find out which size you need. Most menstrual cup brands sell small and large versions.
To figure out the right menstrual cup size for you, you and your doctor should consider:
- your age
- length of your cervix
- whether or not you have a heavy flow
- firmness and flexibility of the cup
- cup capacity
- strength of the pelvic floor muscles
- if you have given birth vaginally
The smaller menstrual cups are generally recommended for women under the age of 30 who have not given birth vaginally. Larger sizes are often recommended for women who are over 30, have given birth vaginally, or have a heavier period.
Before putting on the menstrual cup
When you use a menstrual cup for the first time, you may feel uncomfortable. But lubricating the cup can help make the process run smoothly. Before inserting the cup, lubricate the rim with water or a water-based lubricant. A wet menstrual cup is much easier to insert.
How it fits
If you can get a tampon in, you should find it relatively easy to insert a menstrual cup. Follow these steps to use a menstrual cup:
- Wash your hands well.
- Apply water or a water-based lubricant to the rim of the cup.
- Firmly fold the menstrual cup in half, holding it in one hand with the edge facing up.
- Insert the cup, with the brim, into your vagina as you would a tampon without an applicator. It should sit a few inches below the cervix.
- Once the cup is in your vagina, rotate it. It will open to create an airtight seal that stops leaks.
You shouldn't feel your menstrual cup if you've inserted the cup correctly. You should also be able to move, jump, sit, stand and do other daily activities without the cup falling out. If you have trouble inserting it, talk to your doctor.
When to remove the menstrual cup
You can wear a menstrual cup for 6-12 hours, depending on whether you have a heavy flow or not. This means that you can use a cup even during the night. You should always remove the menstrual cup within 12 hours. If it fills up before then, you will need to empty it earlier than expected to avoid leaks.
How to remove the menstrual cup
- Wash your hands well.
- Put your index finger and thumb into the vagina. Gently pull the stem of the cup until it reaches the base.
- Pinch the base to release the seal and pull down to remove the cup.
- Once outside, empty the cup into the sink or toilet.
How to wash the menstrual cup
Reusable menstrual cups should be washed and cleaned with a cloth before being reinserted into the vagina. Your cup should be emptied at least twice a day. Reusable menstrual cups are durable and can last from 6 months to 10 years with proper care.
What are the advantages and disadvantages
- safer than tampons
- holds more blood than sanitary pads or tampons
- it is better for the environment than sanitary pads or tampons
- cannot be felt during sex (some brands)
- it may be difficult to insert or remove
- it may be difficult to find the right size
- it can cause an allergic reaction
- can cause vaginal irritation
For a cup you can have various price categories depending on whether you want a well-known brand (Lilycup and Mooncup cost from 25 to 30 euros) or a less famous one (Fleurcup and Mamicup from 15 to 20 euros). However, the savings for those who use the cup are evident.
The best known is Mooncup, but other brands such as LilyCup, LadyCup, Fleurcup, Mamicup, Femmecup, Miacup, Just Cup and others are also available. They can be found both online and at stores specializing in eco-health material, which often also have eco-childcare material.