Well, there is a lot of buzz about this efficient and eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads. But what’s a menstrual cup and how is it used?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible funnel-like cup made of silicone or rubber that you can safely insert into your vagina to collect period fluid. It’s a reusable, feminine hygiene product that can hold more blood than tampons and pads. Depending on your menstrual flow, you can wear a menstrual cup for up to twelve hours safely.
Using a menstrual cup
If you want to switch from tampons and pads to a menstrual cup, it’s wise to talk to your gynecologist first. While you can purchase it online from reputable stores, you need to first find out the right size for you. Your doctor will consider the following factors:
- Whether or not your menstrual flow is heavy
- Your cervix length
- The menstrual cup capacity
- Flexibility and firmness of the cup
- If you have delivered a child recently
- Your pelvic muscles strength
For women younger than 30 years and haven’t delivered, it is recommended to use smaller cups. Larger sizes of menstrual cups are meant for women over 30 years old and probably have delivered vaginally or often experience heavy periods.
Follow the following steps to insert your cup.
Step 1: Wash your hands
Wash your hands using warm water and soap before touching the cup to avoid introducing bacteria to your vaginal area. To make the insertion process easier, use water-based lubricant or water. You can also insert the cup while in the shower.
Step 2: Fold it carefully
Fold the menstrual cup into a ‘C’ shape. Use both hands to flatten both sides of the cup, and then fold over itself. In case it’s challenging for you to open it, run the cup under cold water and try an alternative fold such as punch down.
The punch-down fold is easy and creates a small area of insertion. It’s wide at the base than other fold options, and some ladies may find it challenging to create this fold ‘pop’ correctly. Hold the menstrual cup. Using your thumb, push the cup’s lip down towards the base of the menstrual cup. Remove your thumb while squeezing the edges together. Insert the fold partway and let it open.
Step 3: Hold
Hold the menstrual cup firmly, just below the upper rim. Find a good position – squatting, standing with one leg, or even sitting. Then part your labia gently using the other hand.
Step 4: Insert
Insert the menstrual cup into your vaginal opening and direct towards your spine’s base at an angle of 45 degrees. Avoid pushing it directly upwards. Let the cup open while inside your vagina and then slid into the right position.
Make sure your cup has appropriately opened to form the suction seal with your vaginal walls to prevent instances of leaking. Swirl your finger outside the cup, and if you feel indentations in the circumference, there is a good chance the cup didn’t open as expected. In this case, perform a few pelvic floor exercises to help open it. Wash your hands after successfully inserting the menstrual cup.
Removing the cup
It is recommended to remove, empty, and clean your menstrual cup before going to bed and in the morning. To safely remove the cup, pinch its base using your thumb and the index finger to undo the suction seal. Tilt it from side to side as you pull it towards the vaginal opening. Once out, empty its contents into the toilet and wash your cup using warm water and mild soap. Rinse it thoroughly and re-insert it.
Nearly every beginning can be challenging, and using a menstrual cup for the first time might be challenging too. However, you don’t need to fear anything, follow the steps discussed, get used to it and it will become easy. Then you can enjoy all the benefits of not using tampons again!