I first heard about menstrual cups many years ago but completely disregarded them because they seemed like the weirdest thing EVER. I thought only hippies used them. Little did I know, fast forward a couple of years, that they would become something I depend on during that time of the month.
What even is a Menstrual Cup!?
According to good ole’ Wikipedia:
A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of flexible medical-grade silicone, worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid.
It sits inside the vagina just below the cervix (like a tampon). Don’t worry, your cervix will stop it from going any higher! 😉
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Benefits of using a Menstrual Cup:
I recently wrote a blog post about toxic chemicals to watch out for in feminine care products, and safer alternatives to use instead. Basically, a lot of conventional feminine products actually contain ingredients that are not so safe! That is one of the reasons why I switched to primarily using a menstrual cup, but also because:
- It’s way better for the environment and creates zero waste, plus they last up to 10 years!
- You can wear them for 12 hours at a time
- Holds 3x more liquid than super tampons can absorb (menstrual cup holds about 25-30 ml, super tampons absorb about 10 ml)
- Saves you a ton of money over the long run because you don’t have to buy products each month, it’s reusable!
- They rarely leak (if leakage occurs it’s likely because the cup wasn’t inserted correctly or isn’t the right size)
- They are super comfortable (sometimes I forget I even have my period while wearing one!)
- You have virtually zero chance of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) because blood is collecting instead of being absorbed (unlike tampons which pose this risk as they can change the bacteria flora of your vagina)
- More convenient to use the restroom while wearing a cup (TMI?) and you don’t have to remove it to go
- Women have even said that using a menstrual cup alleviates bloating, cramps, and even shortens periods 🩸
Frequently Asked Questions about Period Cups…
How to properly Use a Menstrual Cup:
It takes some getting used to but is sooooo worth it. Let’s just say you might have to get more familiar with your anatomy 😊 Essentially, you fold the cup so it’s more compact and then insert it just like a tampon. You have to make sure it “pops” open and doesn’t remain folded, otherwise it won’t work properly and catch the blood. Sometimes you might have to give it a gentle spin once it’s inserted so it fully opens. Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll probably find some helpful videos!
If you’re having trouble inserting it, you can totally use a natural lube to help make it easier. It shouldn’t hurt nor should you feel it once it’s fully inserted. If the stem is poking or bothering you, you can always trim it or turn the cup inside out so there’s no stem. If it feels like it’s pushing on your bladder or causing discomfort, you might need a softer cup.
Just leave it in for up to 12 hours, and then once you’re ready to remove it, give it a gentle pinch to release the suction and slowly pull it out. It’s best to do it over the toilet or in the shower.
Honestly, there is nothing to be afraid of! But I totally understand that it can be a bit scary at first. Practice makes perfect and you’ll probably get the hang of it during your first cycle using it.
How to Clean Your Cup:
Before reinserting the cup, give it a quick rinse in the sink. You can also clean it with a gentle and unscented natural soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s castile soap) but I don’t find that necessary in between daily use. Avoid using harsh or scented soaps as those can wear down the silicone or cause irritation when you wear it.
At the beginning and end of your cycle, place the cup in boiling water for about 10 minutes to fully sterilize it. When you’re done using it, store in a dry place. Most cups come with a little baggie to store it in. If your cup starts to stain, you can also put some vinegar in with the boiling water occasionally. I also like to use Branch Basics concentrate and Oxygen Boost powder to remove stubborn stains. It works like magic!
Worried about changing your cup in a public restroom? The beauty of a cup is that you can up to 12 hours without changing it. So if you time it right, you can pop it in at home and not worry about it all day. But if you have to, you can simply empty it the toilet, wipe it down with some toilet paper, and reinsert it. It’s not totally necessary in that case to rinse it in a sink. Or if you have a water bottle or wipe with you, you can do it that way!
What Size Cup Should I Use?
Generally, cups come in Small and Large sizes, but it depends on the brand.
Go with a LARGE if…
- You’re 30+ years old
- Have birthed a child vaginally
- Have a heavy flow
Go with a SMALL if…
- You’re less than 30 years old
- Haven’t had children vaginally
- Have a lighter flow
Of course, this is just a general guideline so you might need to try both sizes to see what works best for you.
Will it Leak & How Do I Know When to Change it?
It shouldn’t leak if properly inserted. And yes, you can definitely wear a cup overnight while you sleep without any problems. If it does leak even though you inserted it correctly, you might need to either use a larger size OR that indicates that it’s time to empty it. Sometimes you might notice some extra blood right after you insert it; just make sure to wipe away any excess.
Which period Cup Brand is Best?
There are literally hundreds of brands out there these days, or so it seems! I’m always hearing about new ones. You can even take a quiz that will recommend a cup for you (I’m sure it doesn’t have every single brand in its database though). I’ve tried my fair share of cups over the years:
- Poppins Period Cup (my fave!)
- Diva Cup (most well-known and you can probably find it in stores)
- Intimina Lily Cup
- Rael Cup
My personal fave is definitely the Poppins Period cup! (formerly named Bloody Buddy) They are available in multiple fun colors, have an inner rim to prevent leaks, and have small grips on the bottom for easy removal. Plus the stem is flexible and small. They are sturdy but not too stiff; I actually prefer a more firm cup because it’s less prone to leak and easier to fully open when you insert it.
I wear the Large size but they also have Small and Teen sizes available. They come in packs of two and you can mix and match sizes. You can use the coupon code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount!
Make the Switch to a Menstrual Cup!
I truly do love mine and feel so much better about my period, and especially love how I’m helping out the environment. I’m totally confident that you can make one work for you too. Give it a go! Don’t hesitate to drop any questions in the comments. I’m not embarrassed to talk about cups, in fact, I could talk about them all day long!