All You Need to Know About Menstrual Cup
Have you noticed that menstrual cups have become more popular and gone mainstream? If you are a Facebook or Instagram user - of course you are ;) - you might have noticed more adverts for reusable period products popping up on your feed.
According to a recent BBC story, the number of Google searches for menstrual cups is up 800 percent over the past ten years and most searches came from Australia as more women discover the advantages of using a menstrual cup for economic, environmental and convenience reasons. A concern about leaking menstrual fluid in public is just one of the other reasons menstrual cups have become more popular. Many women find them to be a leak-free alternative to traditional tampons and sanitary pads.
Reusable Menstrual Cups are changing the way women around the world manage their periods. If you’ve been looking for a better kind of period protection, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this simple but revolutionary cup.
What is a menstrual cup
A menstrual cup is a type of reusable feminine hygiene product. It is a small, flexible bell-shaped device made of silicon that is worn internally to catch and collect period fluid as an alternative to pads and tampons. They sit low in the vaginal canal and collect, rather than absorb, the menstrual flow. And while they've actually been around since the 1930s – just like tampons – only recently they have become widely known and advertised in Australia.
Benefits of using a menstrual cup
While the use of menstrual cups is great for the environment and also an excellent financial saving as many can be used for years, there are also many other benefits to using a menstrual cup. A couple of these include less odour, usage time of up to 8 hours, and convenience.
More advantages of menstrual cups
- Menstrual cups don’t contain chemicals found in tampons and pads, such as bleach and dioxin.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, some dioxins are known to cause cancer in humans.
- Unlike tampons, menstrual cups don’t dry the vagina. This preserves the healthy bacteria that protect you from vaginal infections.
- Menstrual fluid develops an odor when exposed to air. Cups eliminate this issue.
- Menstrual cups leave your vaginal pH and bacterial balance in place – unlike tampons, which absorb your vaginal fluid.
- They are suitable for those with sensitive skin, dermatitis and latex allergies (except for latex cups, obviously).
- They can hold up to three times more fluid than tampons (about 20–30ml).
- Most women report that they don’t even feel the cup when it’s in place.
- No strings, no wings, and no leaks. Perfect for those with an active lifestyle, who enjoy sports such as running, swimming, and yoga.
- Plus, it’s foreplay-friendly! Without a slimy string in the way, you’ll have way more fun with oral sex, playing with a vibrator, and even soft fingering.
How menstrual cups work
Menstrual cups fit nice and snug, held in position by the seal formed by the walls of the vagina and the vaginal muscles. Your interior is superior and does all the work — you’ll barely feel a thing!
The cup is placed entirely inside the lower part of the vagina, just behind the pubic bone below the cervix.
Vaginas are tilted backward, so guiding the cup towards the small of your back, moving it up and down will help you find the correct and comfortable position.
Rotate the cup to check that it has fully opened and doesn’t leak. Your cervix may move during menstruation, so inserting the cup requires practice and knowledge of your own anatomy.
How to use a menstrual cup
Every beginning can be difficult and some women report that it often takes some practice to learn how to insert a menstrual cup. At first, it may feel uncomfortable, but with time we can assure you that soon you will become a dedicated cup converted!
Next, we will go into detail with the different steps on how to use a menstrual cup.
How to insert a menstrual cup
Remember to wash your hands and your cup using clean water and a mild soap before inserting it.
There are many different folding techniques so experiment and find the one that works for you.
The most popular method is the C-Fold. Fold the cup in on itself to make flat, then in half to form a C shape.
When you’re inserting your menstrual cup, you need to keep it folded until it is inside of your vagina.
You can insert the cup while sitting, standing or squatting. Spreading your legs will help with a successful and comfortable insertion. Relax.
Keep it rolled up and guide it rim first into the vagina, remove your fingers and let it pop open.
If the menstrual cup has been inserted correctly, you might hear a “pop” or a suction sound which means that the cup has folded out completely and created the necessary suction seal.
To check that the cup has fully opened, slide a clean finger up to the cup bottom and feel it - it should be round.
You might want to use water or a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier.
One quick thing to check is that it’s covering your cervix. If you’re experiencing a lot of leaking, your cup might be crumpled or sitting on one side of your cervix instead of under it.
We recommend using a backup method for the first couple of cycles until you feel secure that you’re inserting the cup correctly every time.
How to remove a menstrual cup
Again, start out by washing your hands with warm water and mild soap.
Find a comfortable position that works for you: lie down, squat, sit on the toilet or stand up. Being relaxed is essential as removing your menstrual cup will only be more difficult if you tense up.
When removing your menstrual cup, pull slightly on the stem until you can reach the base.
Give the base of the cup a gentle pinch (or insert your index finger alongside it) to release the suction and ease it out.
Avoid removing your menstrual cup by pulling the stem as this might cause discomfort.
4. Empty and wash
Once you have removed your menstrual cup, you should empty the collected fluid into the toilet or sink and rinse the cup with water and re-insert.
5. Clean and sanitize
Your menstrual cup should be cleaned before and after your cycle, and after emptying. To avoid odor and discoloration, rinse first in cold water, and then wash with hot water and mild soap.
If you want to give your menstrual cup an extra clean, between periods, boil it for three minutes, not letting the cup touch the base of the pot.
How to choose the right size for your menstrual cup
Choosing the right size for your menstrual cup is not only related to menstrual flow. In general and as a starting point, it comes down to your age and your childbearing history as these can affect your pelvic floor tone.
Most brands have two sizes available and although the difference is small, it can make a difference in the effectiveness of the cup you choose.
The bigger size suits better women who are over 30 and /or have given birth vaginally despite their age.
On the other hand, the smaller size suits better who are under 30 and have not given birth vaginally.
What is the best menstrual cup
Available brands of reusable cups include the Fun Cup - Fun Factory menstrual cup, Moon Cup, Lunette Menstrual Cup, and DivaCup, among others.
Fun Cup - Fun Factory menstrual cup
The Fun Cup is a menstrual cup that is manufactured in Germany by the sex toys leading brand Fun Factory. It is made of Silicon and comes in 2 different sizes/models:
Size A: small (5,3 cm; Ø 4 cm; 20 ml) - Firmer silicone for greater control when placing and adjusting a smaller cup. Good for: lighter flow, people with shorter vaginal canals.
Size B: large (5,8 cm; Ø 4,3 cm; 30 ml) - Softer silicone for a comfortable fit without feeling intrusive. Good for: heavy flow, people with longer vaginal canals.
The Fun Cup is also available as an Explore Kit that comes with one cup size A and one cup size B for women who are not sure about their size or want different protection for light days and heavy days.
Lunette menstrual Cup
The Lunette is a menstrual cup that is manufactured in Finland and has been around for over a decade being sold for consumers all over the world, in more than 40 countries and is available in an assortment of limited edition colors. It is made of Silicon and comes in 2 different sizes/models:
Model 1: (4,7 cm; Ø 4,1 cm; 25 ml) - All Lunette menstrual cups are soft and pliable, however, Lunette Cup Model 1 is made of softer silicone than Lunette Cup Model 2.
Model 2: (5,2 cm; Ø 4,6 cm; 30 ml) - All Lunette menstrual cups are soft and pliable, however, Lunette Cup Model 2 is made of firmer silicone than Lunette Cup Model 1.
The Diva Cup is a menstrual cup that is manufactured in Canada and is one of the most popular menstrual cups of all brands manufactured today. It is made of Silicon and comes in 3 different sizes/models and is slightly longer than other brands, which makes them an especially good fit if your cervix is high in the vagina:
Model 0: (5,6 cm; Ø 4,0 cm; 17 ml) - For those new to the world of periods or 18 years of age or younger.
Model 1: (5,6 cm; Ø 4,3 cm; 20 ml) - You're between the ages of 19 and 30 and have a medium menstrual flow.
Model 2: (5,6 cm; Ø 4,5 cm; 25 ml) - You're over the age of 30 and/or have a heavier menstrual flow.
The Mooncup UK (MCUP) is a menstrual cup that is manufactured in the UK and has been sold for over 13 years. It is made of Silicon and comes in 2 different sizes/models:
Size A: (5,0 cm; Ø 4,6 cm; 17 ml) - Recommended for those who are 30 and over, and all who have given birth vaginally regardless of age.
Size B: (5,0 cm; Ø 4,3 cm; 14 ml) - Recommended for those under the age of 30 who have not given birth vaginally.
Frequently asked questions about menstrual cups
Will I spill blood on myself?
To be completely transparent, you probably will get a little blood on your fingers sometimes. As long as you insert and remove your cup on the toilet or in the shower, though, you’ll be fine. Just don’t wear your white lace gloves while you do it.
How long can I leave it in?
That depends on your flow. Luckily, most cups hold 4-6x as much blood as a tampon, so your heavier days just got easier.
We do recommend that you clean it thoroughly at least once or twice a day.
Is it gross?
We don’t think so. Or at least it’s not grosser than any other kind of period protection. It does involve getting pretty familiar with your vagina and emptying blood from your cup between uses, so use your best judgment about whether you’re comfortable with that.
I have a heavy flow. Can I use a menstrual cup?
Absolutely! A small size holds four times as much as a regular tampon, while a larger size holds six times as much.
I couldn't get it in the first time I tried it. What's wrong?
Any menstrual cup comes with a learning curve, but we think it’s worth it. The first time you try it, give yourself time to get a feel for how it fits in your body. If you find yourself tensing your muscles, take a few deep breaths and try to relax, or even walk away and come back to it later.
What If I need to use the bathroom while I'm wearing it?
The menstrual cup is made with soft, flexible silicone that doesn’t interfere with your body’s normal functions. Some people find that their cup gets dislodged during a bowel movement, however. If this happens, just push it back when you’re done, bear down, and twist to create a new seal.
What if I need to empty my cup in a public restroom?
No need to worry about washing it in a public sink. Just wipe it out with a little toilet paper before you put it back in.
What if I drop it in the toilet?
Fishing anything out of the toilet is the opposite of fun, but at least it’s not your phone, right? If the worst happens, you can wash it off and then boil it for three minutes to sterilize it before the next time you use it.
Can I use a menstrual cup if I'm a virgin?
At Madame Claude we have a positive approach to sexuality and we strongly believe that inserting something into your vagina does not mean that you’ve had sex. If you’re concerned about your hymen, please speak to your doctor.
Can I use it if I get bad cramps?
Yes. A menstrual cup won’t make your cramps worse. For some customers, using a cup even lessens their cramping.
Can I play sports while wearing a menstrual cup?
Yes! The cup won’t stop you from doing any physical activity you like, from running to gymnastics.
Can I go swimming with the menstrual cup in?
Go for it! The leak-preventing seal works just as well in water.
What else can I do for my sexual health?
Using a cup is a great step toward greater sexual wellness! If you want to do more, check out our post about Kegel Exercises and the 8 Reasons (Besides Pleasure) to Do Them. These vaginal weights exercises help you strengthen your pelvic floor for a ton of benefits: increased blood flow that helps to prevent infection, preparation for and recovery after childbirth, preventing incontinence, and even bigger, stronger orgasms!
A growing number of women are using reusable menstrual cups and for many, it is a no-brainer as they are durable and can last up to 10 years with proper care. If you’d like to have a period free of pads, tampons, and concerns about overflowing in public, then the menstrual cup is right for you.
- Tags: Buying Guide
- Madame C.