Health

Menstrual Cup: A Beginner’s Guide

Menstrual Cup: A Beginner’s Guide

The most common sanitary products that women use during menstruation are tampons, pads, and liners. However, statistics show that in a woman’s life, she spends more or less $4,500 on tampons, pads, and panty liners. For this reason, women are resolved to look for more affordable yet efficient menstrual products.

Fortunately, menstrual cups were invented.

Menstrual cups are becoming more and more popular with women nowadays, primarily because of its reusability. These cups can last up to 10 years if well-cared for. It also reduces plastic waste. To know more about menstrual cups, read below.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a type of reusable menstrual products. It is a small, funnel-shaped cup that is made with soft and flexible silicone, rubber, latex, or elastomer that women insert in their vaginal canal to collect menstrual fluid, instead of absorbing it. 

The materials used on this cup are easy to clean and sterilize, ready to be reused. This cup should be emptied after 4-12 hours, depending on the discharge.

Menstrual cups are not new. They have been around since 1932. However, not a lot of women use them because they are reluctant. In fact, 98% of American women still use tampons and pads to manage their period because they think it’s unsanitary to touch something that has a period discharge, or nervous of changing and inserting the cup inside their vaginal canals.

Fortunately, a good number of American women advocate for using menstrual cups. The first reason is that they are cost-effective. The second reason is that it is eco-friendly. And there are still many reasons why you should use menstrual cups. Just read below. 

How does it work?

Putting something inside your vaginal canal for the first time can be uncomfortable. Every beginning or first time can be difficult. Fret not, because below are the simple instructions on how you can use menstrual cups.

How to use menstrual cups.

1. Before inserting the menstrual cup

Before you insert the cup, make sure it is clean and sterilized. Sterilize it in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. When cooled, lubricate. Using a menstrual cup for the first time might be uncomfortable. So, lubricate the cup with water or any water-based lubricant. This method should make inserting the cup easier and smoother.

2. Fold and insert the cup.

Fold the menstrual cup tightly in half and insert it like a tampon with one hand. The rim should be facing upward. The cup will spring open and rest on the walls of your vaginal canal. You shouldn’t feel like there’s a cup inside if it’s properly placed inside the vaginal canal. 

3. Check if the cup unfolded inside.

Reach in to see if the cup unfolded properly. The cup should feel like a circle or an oval, and shouldn’t have any folds inside. Twist it once, and the cup should feel like a seal to prevent any leakage. If there are noticeable folds, then twist it until it feels like a whole circle or oval. 

4. When almost full, remove.

After 4-12 hours, remove the cup to avoid leakage. To remove, pull the stem slightly and use your abdominal muscles to help push out the cup until you can feel the base of the cup. Pinch the base to remove the suction and pull down to remove it successfully.

5. Clean and re-insert.

Once you remove the cup out of your body, clean it thoroughly. A menstrual cup should be washed with water and gentle soap, wiped, and sterilized before inserting it again in your vaginal canal. Again, your cup should be removed after 4-12 hours. 

Advantages of Menstrual Cup

To prove that menstrual cups are a better choice than other menstrual products, here are some of their advantages;

Cost-efficient

Some cups are designed to last a long time – even years, which helps in saving money. As mentioned above, almost $4,500 is spent by an American woman during menstruation. But, a menstrual cup, like Daisy Cup, can cost less than $50, and you never have to rebuy them!

Eco-friendly

With menstrual cups, there is no waste thrown, unlike when changing tampons and pads that need to be used every few hours. Since you re-use them, then lesser wastes and plastics go to the landfills. But be sure to get those reusable ones because there are disposable menstrual cups in the market.

Safer to use

Unlike tampons, menstrual cups don’t dry the vagina. This helps the healthy bacteria stay in your feminine area. And because menstrual cups collect your period fluid, there is no risk of getting an infection that is usually associated with using tampons and period pads. 

Easy to find

Just like the regular period pads and tampons, menstrual cups are also available in your local pharmacies and grocery stores. There are also online stores that sell them.

Intercourse is possible

You can have comfortable sex even when the cup is inside your vaginal canal. Although some menstrual cups need to be taken out before sex, some soft ones can stay while doing so. It is up to you whether you remove it or not.

Disadvantages of Menstrual Cup

Just like other products, menstrual cups have minor drawbacks too, such as the following;

Can be messy

Removing the vaginal cup can be messy. Cleaning it can even be messier. It may be embarrassing and awkward to clean your menstrual cup in a public restroom. But later on, you will know the perfect technique to clean your cups without it getting messy.

Problems with the fit and insertion

Inserting the cup can be difficult, especially for young girls and those who have not had intercourse yet. It also can be difficult to fold and unfold the cup once placed inside your vaginal canal. Some cups also do not fit. Thus, you have to try different brands and sizes to find the perfect fit. 

Takeaway

The thought of inserting menstrual cups in your feminine area can be taunting. However, you will never know whether the cup is perfect for you or not until you try it. If the first one you try doesn’t fit, then you go on and buy another one with a different fit. You’ll never know, maybe menstrual cups are perfect for you.

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