Most women, accustomed to sanitary pads and tampons, are resigned to the discomfort of using these products when they have their monthly periods, believing they are the only option to period protection. What they may not know is that menstrual cups are now becoming increasingly popular as a safe, economical and convenient alternative to traditional hygiene products for women having a period.
As the name suggests, a menstrual cup is a cup-shaped flexible receptor made from medical grade silicone or latex rubber which collects the flow instead of absorbing it in the manner tampons and sanitary pads do. Menstrual cups are reusable, eco-friendly and safe to use as long as proper instructions are followed and they are thoroughly cleaned, before and after use. So, here are great tips for how to use menstrual cup correctly:
How to Insert a Menstrual Cup
1. Sanitize your hands and cup
To begin, wash both your hands and cup with warm, soapy water.
2. Fold the menstrual cup to prepare for insertion
Make yourself comfortable and fold the menstrual cup in preparation for insertion. There are many folding methods and you can try one that suits you A punch-down fold is one where you need to push down the rim to the base and pinch the cup together, so it doesn’t pop open. The punch-down fold provides the smallest diameter, making insertion easier. For a C-fold, the cup should be folded in half, lengthwise. For a 7-fold pinch, the cup is closed and one top corner is brought down diagonally to the opposite bottom corner.
3. Insert the folded cup into your vagina
Once you are in a comfortable position and have the menstrual cup folded correctly, you are ready to insert the cup into your vagina. Once the whole cup has been inserted, you can remove your fingers and let it pop open. Make sure the cup has unfolded by running your fingers around the base of the menstrual cup, it should have a round or oval shape.If you feel any dents or folds on the base with your finger, it means the cup is not `
4. Gently rotate the cup to ensure its properly sealed
Hold the base of the cup, not the stem, and gently try rotating it from one side to the other to ensure it’s sealed. When it is in place try and pull the stem a little bit. If you feel a little resistance it means that a vacuum has been created and that the cup has been inserted successfully.
You may want to use water or a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier. If using a lubricant, simply apply a tiny amount to the rim. When inserted correctly, the menstrual cup will be entirely leak-free, and no, it won’t fall out.
How to Remove a Menstrual Cup
1. Sanitize your hands and get in a comfortable position
To remove the cup, use warm water and a mild perfume-free wash for sanitizing your hands under clean running water. Find a comfortable position and get relaxed.
2. Gently pull the stem
Pull the stem while using your stomach muscles to push the cup downwards until you can reach the base.
3. Slide the cup out
Gently squeeze the base to release the vacuum and slide the cup out, gently, rocking it from side to side.
4. Empty the cup into the toilet
Rinse the cup with water and mild soap. If you lack access to clean running water, you can use toilet paper and later rinse when you get back home or use a sanitizing wipe. Once the cup has been thoroughly cleaned you can reinsert it.
You may find using the menstrual cup a little awkward initially, however with a little practice it will become a lot easier.
Menstrual Cups Benefits
There are many reasons why women are now beginning to make the switch from using tampons and sanitary pads to menstrual cups. Here are the most common ones:
Eco-Friendly: Aside from personal hygiene during a period, the menstrual cup is one of the most environmentally friendly personal-hygiene products. It is reusable and does not contain PVC, BPA, artificial colors, dyes or any other chemicals which pollute the earth when they are disposed of.
Also, because they can last for over a decade, when more women use them, fewer landfills get piled with tampons and sanitary pads.
Holds More Blood: Once menstrual cups are inserted, they have the capacity to hold sufficient blood for about 12 hours. Tampons, on the other hand, can absorb about 6 to 9 grams of liquid and have to be replaced every few hours.
Can Be Worn When Sleeping: Since menstrual cups have a capacity to hold blood for 6 to 12 hours, there’s no need to remove it when sleeping at night. It’s important to remember though that the cup should have been emptied at least an hour or so before going to bed.
Natural and Safer: Menstrual cups do not are free from chemicals typically used in the manufacture of sanitary pads and tampons. There is also little chance of catching toxic shock syndrome, which sometimes occurs when tiny pieces of cotton from tampons cause cuts inside the vaginal wall, leading to bacterial infestation.
Cost-Effective: Proper care, hygiene and storage will ensure that a menstrual cup will easily last for about 10 – 12 years. The cups are made from high-quality silicone and conform to the highest quality material, which make them durable, despite frequent use. Since they are reusable, over the years, they are a lot more cost-effective than either tampons or sanitary pads.
Comfortable and Easy to Use: Menstrual cups are available in different sizes and are made to fit the vaginal canal comfortably. The cups are bell-shaped and are of two types. The first type is suitable for younger women under 30 years of age who have not had a child or have given birth by cesarean section. The second type is for mothers over 30.
Once inserted, women can go about their daily activities without worrying about frequently having to change it frequently. The grip ridges on the cup make removal of the cup for emptying it out quite effortless.
Minimal Chance of Leaking: The worst nightmare a woman can experience during a period is for the blood to leak and soil the clothes. Provided proper instructions are followed and the cup is correctly inserted, there is no reason to feel concerned about leakage.
Rash-Proof: Since no harmful chemicals are used in manufacturing menstrual cups, it is highly unlikely for any rash to occur, as long as the cup is sanitized before being inserted and the hands are clean.
Convenient for Travelers: A menstrual cup barely occupies space in a bag and can be discreetly carried even in carry-on luggage on an aircraft. Finally, say goodbye to carrying a bulky pack of sanitary pads or tampons on your trips.
While the thought of switching from pads or tampons to a menstrual cup may be intimidating at first, most women have found that menstrual cups work much better for their needs than any other period product. Women everywhere are making the switch to the cup because of its safety, convenience, and practicality, and are truly happy with their choice. Now that you have learned the best tips for inserting a cup for the first time, you will find your own love with menstrual cups and will never turn back.