Menstrual Cups - The ultimate guide
Menstrual cups have quickly become popular. More and more women are switching pads and tampons for a more environmentally friendly alternative. But for many, it’s a whole new world that can be a bit difficult to grasp.
We want you to feel 100% safe. Whether you might be wondering how long the cup can stay up, how to even get it up in there, or something else entirely, we’ve developed a guide to help answer all your questions.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a hygiene product and an alternative to pads and tampons. It’s shaped like a bell and usually has a little stem at the bottom. It’s almost always made of silicone because this type of material is easy to clean and soft enough not to feel it when moving around. The cup is inserted into the vagina, where it collects blood until you take it out and empty it.
How do I use a menstrual cup?
Some people are a bit nervous about learning how to use a menstrual cup, but there really isn’t anything to worry about. It’s quick and easy. On the first day of your period, you fold the cup and insert it into the vagina. When inside, it unfolds and creates a vacuum which makes for the collection of blood without leakage. We’ll get into the folding, the prepping and the clean-up in a minute.
How often do I change it?
The rule of thumb with a menstrual cup is that it can stay in the vagina for up to 12 hours. However, if you experience a heavy flow, it might be necessary to change it more often.
If you wash your menstrual cup properly and take good care of it, it can last for many years. The exact number of years, of course, depends on the specific model but some brands like OrganiCup and Lunette guarantee a product life cycle of up to 10 years.
How to put it in
Begin by washing your hands and the menstrual cup thoroughly, preferably with a mild perfume-free soap.
Find a position with your legs spread apart that feels comfortable and one where you can relax. For some, sitting on the toilet is the best option. For others, standing up works - maybe even with one foot up on the toilet seat. It’s individual what works for you and there’s no wrong way to do it.
Fold your cup so it gets a bit more narrow and easier to put in place.
Separate the labia and insert the menstrual cup into the vagina. Be aware that a cup doesn’t go as far up as a tampon would. All bodies are different, so it is important that you pay attention to what feels comfortable for you.
Gently tug on the stem. If you feel resistance, you have created a vacuum and your cup is sitting exactly how it’s meant to. If it slides down, use your fingers to try and push it up a bit further or maybe twist it slightly until it folds out properly.
TIP! The first couple of times you use this hygiene product, it can be a good idea to put a pad into your underwear. This helps you ensure that you don’t get any unwanted stains since it is completely normal for it to take a few times before you are a master of the art of the menstrual cup.
How to take it out
When your cup is full or approximately 12 hours have passed by, it’s time for you to empty it. This is a great way to go about it.
Start by washing your hands thoroughly. Again, we recommend a mild, perfume-free soap.
Find a position with your legs spread apart that feels comfortable. It’s important that you can relax your pelvic muscles. Maybe it works for you to use the same position as when you insert the cup or a different position could be easier..
Grab the cup with your index finger and thumb. You can use your index finger to break the vacuum by sliding the finger up alongside the cup until you feel it releasing from the vaginal walls. Avoid only pulling the cup out by the stem, as this can feel uncomfortable.
Once the cup is out, you empty it into the toilet.
Wash the cup thoroughly with a mild, perfume-free soap for intimate use. If you don’t have a soap nearby, it can with a thorough water rinse from time to time. Use toilet paper to dab it dry. You can also use super convenient wipes like the Lunette Cup Wipes. They are especially handy to have nearby if you have to empty your cup in a public bathroom.
When the cup is clean, you can put it right back in.
How do I clean my cup?
As with everything else that goes up into the vagina, it’s important to keep your menstrual cup clean. If it’s dirty, it can lead to urinary and vaginal infections, and that’s something you really want to avoid.
For daily use, you can wash your cup with a mild, perfume-free intimate soap. Use lukewarm water and remember to rinse thoroughly so there is no soap left over on the cup. Your vaginal pH balance does not love that. Some models also feature small airholes on the lip. Make sure to double-check that the holes are clean and there is no leftover soap or dried blood. If it’s difficult to get into the cracks and corners, you can wet a Q-tip and use it for additional cleaning.
Before you use your menstrual cup for the first time, you need to boil it. This is to make sure that no bacteria from transportation or production make their way to your downstairs department. The same goes for when you start your period and when you’re done. This way, you’re sure that you can take out the cup and store it again when you’re done and know that it is completely bacteria-free.
So, how do you boil a menstrual cup?
Find a pot that’s not too small.
Fill it with water and bring it to a boil.
Put the cup in the water and let it boil for the amount of time that is indicated in the manual. Some cups only need a few minutes, while others need a bit longer. Make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot for too long.
Take it out of the water, leave it to dry and cool it down if you’re to use it right away, otherwise, your vagina might be a slightly bit bothered if the temperature doesn’t fit.
What size should I choose?
The size of the models varies from brand to brand but most brands feature a range from small to large. The recommended size also depends on the brand. If you know you have a heavy flow when bleeding, the large size is a good one to go for. Several brands also recommend going for the large size if you’ve given birth vaginally. The smaller size is mostly recommended for women who haven’t given birth vaginally and with a light to regular flow. Again, it is important to emphasise that all bodies are different and you might be someone who needs a small cup even after giving birth.
With these kits, you get two sizes in one package.
Which menstrual cup is the best?
There’s an endless sea of different menstrual cups, and they all have their pros and cons depending on your preference of style, the shape of your vagina, allergies and so on. However, there are a few players who have taken vagina owners by storm.
Organicup has become super popular, thanks to their vegan materials, sustainable identity and a very immersive universe where you can learn all about their products.
On top of that, you get a cute little cotton bag to keep your menstrual cup safe when you don’t use it. Functionality has been integrated into manufacturing with small airholes and a practical stem on the cup. As icing on the cake, the cup can be reused for up to 10 years.
Lunette has quickly won the hearts of lots of vagina owners, and they share similar strengths with OrganiCup. At first glance, the two models look very alike, especially in shape. Lunette’s cups, however, come in a range of delightful colours which can be super appealing when we are dealing with something that involves blood.
Like OrganiCup, Lunette’s cups are made to last up to 10 years. They keep sustainability as a focus as well but are particularly driven by social inclusion and improvement within sexual education. All the evidence point towards ethical business conduct as being a very important factor when buying this type of hygiene product.
Why should you choose a menstrual cup?
There are countless pros to choosing a menstrual cup instead of pads and tampons. Most of them are found in the fact that these cups last a long time. By avoiding single-use products, you can save quite an amount of money throughout your time.
In this amount of time, you also spare the environment a lot of plastic and paper. So if you’d like to do something good for the planet, reconsidering your period products can also be a good idea.
The cups are not only good for your bank account and for the planet, but they are also quite gentle on your vaginal environment. Your vaginal mucosa is very fragile and reacts easily to outside intruders. When you use pads and tampons you risk drying out your vaginal mucosa because they absorb and don’t collect the blood. This also means the menstrual cup can hold more blood than tampons and pads. And it’ll save you some trips to the bathroom.
A menstrual cup is comfortable to wear; if it’s inserted right, you won’t feel it at all. It doesn’t leak when fitted correctly, which is perfect for the ones who love being physically active.
What folding methods are out there?
There are different kinds of methods for folding, and it differs in what fits the individual vagina the best. Here’s a selection of some of the most popular ways of folding so you know where to start the first time you are putting up your cup.
This way of folding is super intuitive and probably the first choice of folding for many. Press the cup flat and fold it, so the two corners align and the cup makes a ‘C’-shape.
With the 7-fold, the cup is narrower and, for some, a bit easier to get up. However, you have to have a good grip on this one. Again, start by pressing the cup flat. Then fold one corner obliquely down so that it aligns with the edge on the other side. When you take a closer look, you might notice that the fold makes it look like the number ‘7’.
This one seems a bit tricky but is especially great if your cup is extra soft and difficult to get to unfold once inside. Grab one side of the edge of the cup and squeeze it together. Now, push on the centre of the edge on the ‘open’ side of the cup and fold the rest of the cup around the squeezed part. If you’ve folded it correctly, you’ll have two “half-loops” on top of each other when looking at it from the side.
Like the Labia-fold, the Punch-down-fold is also great for the softer, more finicky cups. Put a finger on the edge and push it all the way down to the bottom of the cup. Squeeze the cup so it doesn’t unfold before it’s inserted into the vagina.
Buy your menstrual cup at Sinful
We hope you’ve learned a lot and feel equipped to discover the many benefits of a cup. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our kind people in Customer Care, who are always ready to help you.