If you are looking into purchasing your first menstrual cup (or perhaps you’ve already made your purchase!), it can be difficult to know where to begin.
We’re big fans of these sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to more traditional sanitary items like pads and tampons, but we understand that it can feel a little bit overwhelming to make the switch. To help, we’ve put together this handy guide to choosing, inserting, removing and cleaning your menstrual cup- plus everything else you want to know!
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible, bell-shaped product designed to be comfortably inserted into the vagina to “catch” your flow during your period. Menstrual cups are washable and reusable, meaning they can be used every month, time and time again. Their reusable nature makes them a cost effective and eco friendly alternative to disposable period care products, like pads and tampons!
How to choose a menstrual cup
Choosing the right menstrual cup for you comes down to thinking about your body and your flow. The biggest determining factors are generally your age and whether or not you have given birth vaginally. It’s also worth considering whether or not you have a high or low cervix/long or short vaginal canal, as this can help you choose the most comfortable menstrual cup for your body- Juju, one of our favourite brands, have a great online guide to determining your cervix position and ensuring you choose the best menstrual cup model for you.
How to insert a menstrual cup
You’ll receive detailed instructions on how to comfortably insert your menstrual cup with the cup itself, but inserting the cup is surprisingly simple. First, wash your hands thoroughly (some people find it easiest to insert their cup whilst in the shower!). Next, flatten your cup then fold it over itself into a ‘C’ shape, then hold it closed in that shape. Find a comfortable position (this may be sitting, squatting, or standing with one leg raised), and insert the cup upwards into your vagina, angling the cup towards the base of your spine. Check that the cup has opened, as this will create a “seal” to prevent any leaking, then wash your hands. Done!
Other frequently asked menstrual cup questions
You only need one menstrual cup, and that cup needs to be emptied and cleaned 2 to 4 times per day, depending on your flow (this will vary from person to person, and will depend on the day of your period). You can wear a menstrual cup for no more than 12 hours at a time, meaning it’s safe to wear overnight- we recommend emptying and cleaning it immediately before bed, and right after waking. It is absolutely safe to use your menstrual cup during exercise, however the cup should not be worn during penetrative sex.
How to remove and empty your menstrual cup
To remove your menstrual cup, get yourself into a comfortable position and try to relax- a tense body will make it more difficult to remove your cup, so remember to breathe! Release the suction seal by pinching the base of the cup for a few seconds. Gently rock the cup out of your vagina, working slowly but steadily to avoid any spilling (we recommend removing your cup in the shower so you have less to stress about!). Remove the cup on a slight angle, then empty your cup before rinsing it with soap and warm water.
How to clean and disinfect your menstrual cup
After your cycle has finished, it’s time to disinfect your menstrual cup more thoroughly than above. To do this, we recommend placing your cup in boiling water for around 3 to 5 minutes or purchasing a menstrual cup-specific sanitiser.
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