About menstrual cups
A woman goes through about 10 000 menstrual pads throughout her life and wastes several thousands of euros on them in the worst case.
Do you have better ideas on how to spend this money? For example, what would an awesome vacation or a new purse sound like?
A menstrual cup is the choice for women who care about themselves, as well as the nature. With proper care, a menstrual cup is designed to last several years.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product, which is inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual flow. You can use a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours before emptying, cleaning and reinserting it. Between the monthly uses, the cup is stored, for example, in a specific storage bag.
A menstrual cup doesn’t dry out the delicate vaginal mucus membrane. Menstrual cups are reusable, durable and washable. They are made of silicon or TPE plastic.
Menstrual cups were invented in the 1930s, but it’s only gained popularity during the last years. One cup can last several years, which makes it an ecological as well as a wallet friendly option. Most importantly, it makes your menstruation period remarkably more pleasant. You can even go swimming while wearing the cup. Say welcome to the freedom that the manufacturers of sanitary napkins can only can dream of!
How do I choose the right menstrual cup?
You may be uncertain which menstrual cup brand and size will fit you best. The problem exists with disposable menstrual pads and tampons, too, but it’s cheaper to try them in different sizes or from different brands than it is to try different menstrual cups. That’s why we recommend that you take some time in choosing the best fit.
Since women come in different shapes and sizes, no one can tell you exactly which cup is the right one for you. We have put together these tips to make your choice super easy, but the decision is up to you. To be able to choose the right cup, you will need some information on the amount of your menstrual flow, as well as the anatomy of your vagina.
Amount of menstrual flow
How often do you change a menstrual pad or a tampon? Which absorbency is right for you?
- If you can wear the same menstrual pad or tampon until the maximum time, you most likely have a light flow. Therefore, the amount of your menstrual flow doesn’t affect your choice of cup.
- If you have to change a menstrual pad or tampon so frequently that you feel it’s restricting your life, you most likely have a heavy flow. If this is the case, choose a cup with a large volume.
- If you can’t recognize yourself from either one of the descriptions above, you most likely have a normal flow. If this is the case, feel free to choose pretty much any cup.
Your vaginal anatomy
- Do you have a heavy flow and a low cervix (meaning that your cervix sits just inside of your vagina)? You will need to choose a short cup with a large volume. The cup has to go completely into your vagina, even if this means shorter wearing times.
- Are your vaginal muscles in good condition? Weak muscles may affect the reliability of the cup: it may not remain well in place or it may leak. If this is the case, choose a wide rather than a narrow cup model.
Exercising your vaginal muscles (e. g. with Cats Eyes) is worthwhile anyway, not only just to be able to use a menstrual cup. How can you test how powerful your vaginal muscles are? Try to stop the flow of urine midstream by contracting your pelvic floor muscles. If your muscles are weak, you won’t be able to do this.
My menstrual cup has a funky smell. How to get rid of it?
No problem! Your cup might develop a foul odor, even if you rinse it with cold water before actual cleaning, as recommended. The odor may be caused by the following reasons:
- light menstrual flow
- light vaginal discharge
- long wearing time of the cup.
Here’s a list of tricks that may help you to remove the odor. Try at least one of them. (Pay attention to the directions of your cup, whether it’s okay to clean it with a sanitizer, etc.)
- Add some cup cleanser into cold water. Soak the cup for a couple of hours in the solution.
- Mix some vinegar with water. Boil the cup in the mixture several times.
- Make a solution of 1 part apple vinegar and 9 parts water. Let the cup soak in the solution overnight.
- Soak the cup in a mixture of lemon juice and water.
- Make sure the air holes in your cup, if your cup features them, are clean.
- Sanitize your cup, e. g. with Milton Sterilising tablets.
- Let the cup get some fresh air at least for a couple of days. Don’t put the cup into a storage bag, just let it sit e. g. on a bathroom shelf on top of the storage bag.
- Store the cup in a container without a lid.
- Change the cup cleanser brand or stop using the cleanser.
I can’t fit the cup in. Any tips?
When you are holding a menstrual cup in your hand for the first time, you may feel a sense of despair – how can it be possible to put such a thing inside you?
Be patient with learning the right technique on the first time, just as you would do with a tampon. Bear in mind a couple of things:
a) many of us have had even bigger things inside of them
b) fitting the cup into place is possible, because others have succeeded in it, too.
Allow yourself some time to perfect the technique. Try it when you’re relaxed and not in a hurry. The following tips may come in handy:
Use a lubricant. You may ease the cup insertion process with a lubricant. A water-based lubricant (such as Aqua Glide) is a safe choice for any menstrual cup. Silicon-based lubricants will cause damage to menstrual cups made of silicone.
Only use a tiny dollop of lubricant at a time. Place it rather on your vaginal opening than onto the cup, because it’s difficult to get a good grip of a slippery cup.
Dry run. Since a menstrual cup doesn’t dry out your vagina, you may practice inserting and removing the cup even before your period. Allow yourself some time for practicing or for trimming the stem. That way you will be familiar with the “cupping” once your period starts. You may dry run the menstrual cup for several hours and check how it works in your everyday life.
It’s not possible to test the reliability of the cup by dry running, though. If the practice doesn’t feel easy, don’t worry. Once your period has started, your vaginal moisture will ease the process.
How to empty the cup away from home?
If you have to empty your cup in a public bathroom or in an outhouse without running water, you have three choices.
- Take a small bottle of cup cleanser with you, to clean the cup with. Bring enough cleanser with you, so you can thoroughly clean the cup.
- You may wipe the cup with toilet paper or a paper towel. Remember to carefully wash the cup the next time you empty it.
- You may use cupwipes (such as Lunette Cupwipes).
What if I choose a wrong kind of cup?
These instructions will help you to choose the right product. It may happen that the first cup you’ve chosen doesn’t fit you very well. It’s okay, you’re not the only one. Think about the reasons why the cup wasn’t a perfect fit. Was it too long or too narrow? Was the volume perhaps too little? What other reasons can you suggest?
Try to answer these questions and you’ll come up with clues, which will help you to choose a better-fitting cup next time.
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