If you are someone who is always curious about using a menstrual cup but never uses it because you don’t know how to, then this article is for you. It covers all the basics, like how to insert and remove them, as well as how to clean them. You’ll also find out why so many women prefer menstrual cups over traditional pads or tampons.
An increasing number of people are switching to menstrual cups as more and more people are becoming aware of its benefits. A sustainable and affordable alternative to sanitary pads and tampons, menstrual cups, like all new things, may seem intimidating to use at first. Many questions pop into my head—is it safe? Will it hurt? Will it damage the vaginal tissues?
The usual sanitary pads and tampons available in the market consist of a lot of plastic. Since most of the sanitary pads are either thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet, it ends up creating long lasting problems for the environment. Not only that, there is a high chance of contracting fungal infections and also causing allergies, infections, rashes and irritations around your vaginal region. A person needs to constantly stock up on sanitary napkins every month depending on their flow. Therefore, it is a much more expensive option compared to menstrual cups which are reusable, hence a one-time investment that can last up to 10 years.
Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicon, rubber or latex, and instead of absorbing blood, it collects blood by creating a seal around the inside of your vagina. It stays put leak-free while you sit, stand, walk, sleep and even when working out. It is also easy to clean and sanitize once you get a hang on how to use it.
First, how do you insert a menstrual cup inside you??
Menstrual cups are usually available in two sizes—Small and Large. Small is meant for people who have not given birth yet and the Large size is meant for people who have given birth. However, some websites have smaller sizes available too. Pee Safe has an extra small size available that is recommended for teenagers below the age of 18.
There are a lot of reservations around using menstrual cups. But unlike many concerns, it does not take away your virginity. Virginity is a social construct and no, menstrual cups do not damage your vaginal tissues. We recommend you try menstrual cups after understanding how to use it properly and decide if its for you! Studies claim that almost 70% of menstrual cup users stick with it after trying it out first. It may take you 3-4 menstrual cycles to fully get comfortable with it.
Here are the simple steps you can insert menstrual cups:
- WASH – Always wash your hands before handling menstrual cups to avoid infections.
- FOLD – There are different ways you can fold your menstrual cup to insert it. You can experiment and figure out which one works for you best. The most popular ways are the C-Fold and the Punch-Down. Here is a visual guide to these folding methods.
- INSERT – Sit, squat or stand while you insert your menstrual cup into your vagina. Remember to relax your mind. If you are stressed, your vagina will tighten its opening, making it difficult to insert.
- RELEASE – The cup will unfold once it’s inside the vagina, creating a suction that keeps it well positioned and prevents leaks.
Now, its in and you are ready to get your groove on. Depending on your flow, you can empty it out between four to twelve hours.
How to remove a menstrual cup?
Removing a menstrual cup is just as easy as inserting.
WASH – Washing your hands is important. RELAX – Relax your body and mind. Find a position that works for you – sit, squat, lie down, stand, keep one leg up, etc. REMOVE – Pull slightly on the stem of your menstrual cup until you can feel the base. Gently pinch the base to release the suction and ease it out. Remove it gently while keeping a firm grip.
How to wash the cup?
Empty the blood out in the toilet or the sink. Rinse the cup with water. In case there is no access to clean running water, you can also use toilet paper to clean your cup and rinse it with water later.
How to sanitize your menstrual cup?
It is essential to sanitize your menstrual cup before and after your period. All you have to do is sterilize your menstrual cup in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Here is a video to help you understand the whole process better –
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GIVE IT A TRY
Menstrual cups are economical and eco-friendly support during your periods. It reduces your risks of infection and provides more protection against leaks.
How do you know if menstrual cups are for you? Try it. You wouldn’t know if you don’t try it out yourself. Bottom line is that everyone has different needs and experiences, you would not know what suits you best unless you explore all options. Comfort is of the most importance and your decision should rely on that.