By now, you’ve probably had at least one friend who swears by them, but maybe you haven’t made the switch yet, and you’re looking for a little more information before you commit.
There are several benefits to using a menstrual cup instead of disposable feminine hygiene products. Obviously, they are more sustainable since they can be reused multiple times, and more women are turning to “green” menstruation, but they are also much safer and healthier than tampons or pads.
A cup is designed to hold more blood than a tampon typically absorbs, and depending on how heavy your flow is, you can wear one safely for up to 12 hours. The same goes for a pad – which may leak or cause odor the more fluid it absorbs.
Once you’ve finally joined the club, you may find yourself asking, do you know how to use a menstrual cup? Good news, they’re pretty intuitive little devices, and once you get the hang of it, they should be as easy as popping contact lenses in and out except, you know, there.
You want to sterilize your cup in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Do not put your cup in a pot of boiling water and allow it to touch the bottom as it could melt and stick. Instead, transfer the boiling hot water into a plastic bowl or cup and soak it there. No need to dry it – a wet cup goes in a lot easier.
Fold and Pinch
Wash your hands thoroughly. Next, you’ll fold the cup over and pinch it tightly, rolling it into a shape that you can easily insert into your vagina, usually a C or a seven-figure. It will naturally try to spring open into its cup shape, so it’s essential to keep it closed tight as you prepare for the next step.
This is an optional step, but it will make insertion easier. Use a water-based lubricant that is silicone-safe on the rolled-up rim of the cup, but try not to get the sides so slippery that your fingers can’t grip it.
Relax Your Muscles
Get into a comfortable position and try not to clench your pelvic muscles. Relax your legs.
Insert and Release
Still keeping a tight grip on your folded, lubricated cup, insert the cup into your vagina much the same way as you would a tampon. Once the entire cup is inside, you can release your fingers, and the cup will open up naturally. You may hear or feel a popping sensation as the suction seals, and then you know you have inserted it correctly. If you have any doubts, feel along the bottom of the cup – there should not be any ridges or folds if the cup is fully open and in place. If there are, rotate the cup slightly until you feel the suction seal. A gentle tug on the stem should yield a slight resistance when the seal is tight.
How to Remove
Once again, wash your hands thoroughly. Relax your muscles. Pull slightly on the stem until you can reach the base and pinch it slightly to break the suction seal. Do not remove the cup by merely pulling on the stem. Hold it upright and pinched closed at the top to avoid spills.
Clean and Store
Empty the blood into the toilet or drain if you are in the shower, and rinse the cup clean. Your cup should have come with a handy cotton bag or a particular case, so pop it in there and save it for your next rainy day.