How to use your menstrual cup
- 24 Mar, 2020
How to use your menstrual cup
What is a menstrual cup?
The menstrual cup is a bell-shaped cup, which collects menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups are reusable and a single menstrual cup has a lifespan of many years.
How does a menstrual cup work?
Menstrual cups are folded then inserted like a tampon into the vagina. The cup then opens and forms a secure seal with the vaginal walls. It collects menstrual fluid, in contrast to conventional disposable sanitary products, which perform the function of absorbing the fluid. After 8 hours, or more regularly for a heavy flow, it is emptied, washed and reused.
How to insert your menstrual cup
The easiest way to put in a menstrual cup, and to remove it, is when you’re relaxed. It only takes a few seconds to insert or remove your menstrual cup. While it may take some practice, it will become easier as you become better acquainted with this product. Have a look at some first-time tips for menstrual cup usage to get better acquainted with your Vagina.
Give yourself a few cycles to become comfortable with the menstrual cup insertion and removal process. Remember to experiment with a different fold until you find an insertion technique that suits you. Using a menstrual cup is different for everybody so what works for one person's anatomy may not work for another's.
Before you start
Our menstrual cup is easier to insert and remove when you are relaxed.
To make your transition to using a cup easier, practice inserting and removing your cup in the shower a few times a week before your cycle starts.
Disinfect your menstrual cup as per the instructions in the Cleaning of your menstrual cup section prior to using it for the first time.
Inserting your menstrual cup
1. Wash your hands
Wash your hands with warm water and mild soap. To make insertions easier; you can use water, a water-based lubricant, or insert your menstrual cup in the shower.
Fold your menstrual cup into a 'c' shape by using both hands to flatten the two sides together then fold it over itself.
If you have difficulty getting your cup to open run your cup under cold water and try a different fold such as the Punch down fold which makes the silicone spring open easier. Conversely, if you prefer a softer cup, run your cup under warm water prior to inserting.
Hold your menstrual cup firmly in your dominant hand, below the upper rim. Find a comfortable position - sitting, squatting or standing with one leg raised. Gently part your labia (skin around the vagina) with your free hand.
Insert your menstrual cup slowly into the vaginal opening. Direct it back towards the base of your spine, at a 45% angle, not directly upward. Allow your cup to open just inside the vaginal opening, then slide it into position. Your cup should be completely internal and will generally sit lower than a tampon but it is not abnormal for it to sit high depending on your anatomy or the location of your cervix.
5. Check the seal
Check that the cup has opened, as this is what forms a suction seal with the vaginal walls and prevents leaking. Swirl your index finger around the outside of the cup. If you feel any indentations in the circumference of the cup, the cup has not opened correctly. If your cup has not opened, use the stem to wiggle the cup or try a few pelvic floor exercises to help open it. Wash your hands.
Our menstrual cup can be worn for a maximum of 8 hours. We suggest emptying and cleaning your menstrual cup before bed, and again when you wake. Depending on your flow, a menstrual cup may need to be emptied more often.
Removing your menstrual cup
We recommend that you remove, empty and wash your menstrual cup before going to bed and again in the morning after waking up. With every cycle, you will become more familiar with your own rhythm and know when you need to empty your menstrual cup.
For first time users learning to use the menstrual cup, we recommend removing and emptying your menstrual cup in the shower, if possible.
Wash your hands with warm water and mild soap. Removal is easier if you are relaxed. Find a comfortable position. If your cup sits high, squatting or tucking your tailbone under whilst sitting will help shorten the vaginal canal.
Remove your menstrual cup by pinching the base with your index finger and thumb to break the suction seal. Bearing down lightly will help move your cup lower. Tilt the cup from side to side as you move it toward the vaginal opening. Take out the top edge of the rim then tilt it upright and remove the bottom edge of the rim keeping it upright.
Do not remove your menstrual cup by pulling on the stem without breaking the suction seal first as this will increase the suction seal, making removal more difficult and may cause the stem to break.
3. Empty & Clean
Empty the contents into the toilet. Wash your menstrual cup in the sink with soap and warm water and mild soap, then rinse it thoroughly.
Re-insert your menstrual cup and wash your hands.
Cleaning and storing your menstrual cup
Before the first use and at the end of each cycle wash and disinfect your menstrual cup.
In situations where you do not have access to clean water, for example when traveling, use bottled drinking water to clean and disinfect your cup.
You can easily clean your menstrual cup by washing it with soap and warm water. Use a soft cloth or brush to remove any residual build-up.
Ensure that the tiny holes at the top of your menstrual cup are clear and contain no blockages as they help form the suction seal which keeps your cup in place. The holes can be cleaned by squirting water through them or carefully use a toothpick to remove any debris. Discard the toothpick after use.
Always thoroughly rinse your cup after washing to ensure no soap residue remains on the cup as this can disrupt your vaginal pH levels.
After your cycle, the regular disinfection of your menstrual cup is recommended. You can do this by placing it in a pot of boiling water for 3–5 minutes. Never boil for more than 5 minutes as this can cause it to get damaged. It’s a good idea to set a timer when boiling your menstrual cup to ensure you don’t forget to remove it from the pot.
Rinse and dry your menstrual cup before putting it back in its own carry-bag until your next period. Always store in a ventilated area; never keep in a plastic bag or airtight container as moisture cannot evaporate without airflow and your cup will not dry properly. Storing your menstrual cup in an air-tight container may cause your menstrual cup to change color or develop an unpleasant odor.
Over time, you might notice some discoloration of your menstrual cup. This is normal and does not indicate the cup needs to be replaced. If the slight discoloration concerns you, you can use isopropyl rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth to remove some of the stainings. Thoroughly rinse your cup and set it out in the sun (out of the reach of pets) for a few days as UV rays are a great natural solution to sterilize and remove stains.
If you notice any rips, tears or changes in the texture of your menstrual cup, it’s time to replace it.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
- Menstrual cups are for individual use and should never be shared
- Menstrual cups can be used in conjunction with the oral pill.
- Do not use the menstrual cup as a contraceptive or during intercourse. A menstrual cup will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Our Menstrual Cup must not be used for postpartum bleeding, following a miscarriage or a termination due to the risk of infection.
- If you have previously suffered from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) it is recommended that no internal sanitary products, including tampons and menstrual cups, be used unless under the direction of your medical practitioner.
- If you have any gynecological concerns or questions regarding the suitability of a cup in your particular situation, please seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
- Always read the label. Use only as directed.