Menstrual cups have been the talk of the town for quite some time now. For many women, it is a controversial subject. Some praise it endlessly while others remains skeptical and have a lot of questions.
Menstrual cups, also known as period cups, are flexible bell-shaped or V-shaped menstrual hygiene products that are inserted into the vagina (much like tampons) to catch and collect your menstrual flow. All you need to do is insert them, take them out, clean them, insert them again, etc.
That’s the basics of menstrual cups. Although it all sounds straightforward, if you have not tried a menstrual cup, you are bound to have your doubts and many questions.
Below are some professional tips, in summary form, that will help you use them effectively.
For menstrual cups – size matters
Size matters when you use and choose a menstrual cup. Using a cup of the right size is crucal for comfort and efficiency during your menstrual period.
Dr. Ross, M.D, who is a clinical professor at Yale University of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, says that if the cup feels comfortable, snug, and painless when you insert it, its size is right for you.
According to daisymenstrualcup.com, there are various sizes to choose from. We all come in many different shapes and sizes. As far as menstrual cups are concerned, one size does not fit all.
The smaller menstrual cups are ideal for beginners, teens, and those who have strong vaginal muscles or cervixes that sit low. Larger sizes, on the other hand, are designed for women who have already given birth or have heavy periods.
These, however, are just guidelines. Each woman has to seek out the cup that best works for her.
Help! How to Put Menstrual Cups In?
If you are someone who has never used a tampon before, you may be reluctant. In fact, you may even find it bit scary. However, there is no need for alarm. If you follow the proper procedure, you will soon realize that the whole process is pretty straightforward.
At first, you might need a little patience and practice. Therefore, you should probably try it out about an hour before going to work or school. Dr. Ross stated that the insertion of a menstrual cup can be a learning curve, which is why you need to acquire techniques that work best for you.
Before you do anything, make sure that your cup is clean. The best way to sterilize it is to boil it in water for a couple of minutes. Also, make sure you have washed your hands and that your fingernails are clean. You don’t want to introduce bacteria into that part of your body.
Fold the cup into a U-shape or C-shape before you insert it. Then insert it as you would a tampon. Try doing this while sitting in the toilet. Spread open your labia and gently push the menstrual cup inside. Aim it toward your coccyx (tailbone) and give it one complete rotation so that you have created a seal.
Use your finger and feel around the rim of the cup to make sure that it is fully open and that your cervix is inside it.
Regarding confirming that the seal is in place, daisymenstrualcup.com has the following advice:
“To confirm that the seal is in place, bear down a bit with your vaginal muscles to lower the cup, and then give the cup a gentle tug using the stem. If you feel some resistance, there is a good seal in place. If it moves easily, rotate the cup again to create a good seal.”
My Menstrual Cup is Leaking!
A cup might leak because it was not inserted properly. Keeping it in too long is another possibility. Your cup may also be too small.
Another cause would be having really heavy periods. Everyone’s cycles are different. However, if your bleeding is much heavier than average and you need to empty your cup every two hours, the cup will leak regardless of its size.
Dr. Gupta, a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, advises women with very heavy periods to see an ob-gyn to find out why and whether anything can be done about them.
How to remove the menstrual cup
Before you remove the cup, make sure your hands are clean, and find your most comfortable position, which for many women is sitting on the toilet. When you are in the right position, push the cup downard with your vaginal muscles. Spread your labia and then find the cup’s stem with your fingers.
Grab the stem and gently pull on it until you are able to reach the base of the menstrual cup. Hold the base with your hand and gently pull the whole thing out.
Menstrual cups could eventually save you money
Menstrual cups can last for a very long time; sometimes several years. They are not cheap. However, you will probably save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
Store your cup in a container that has ventilation (airflow) when you are not using it.