The Menstrual Cup: Everything you wanted to know and some things you didn’t

You’ve definitely heard of it, you’ve got some friends who have tried it, and maybe you’ve considered buying a menstrual cup yourself. But you have always been too scared or confused by the endless options to add it to your shopping cart. 

Never fear, this eco-friendly menstrual product is not only better for the environment, cheaper on your wallet, and less likely to give you toxic shock syndrome, it is also not as difficult to get used to as it may seem. 

To prove this, here is everything you need to know, even the gross stuff, that will get you keen to try one out and have your life changed forever.

They come in different sizes

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This is the biggest secret to getting menstrual cups right: making sure you use a cup that fits.

Although not explained as properly as it should be in school, vaginas come in all shapes and sizes on the inside and the outside. This means, depending on factors like the length of your cervix and heaviness of your flow, you will need a specific size of the cup. 

Larger cups can hold more blood and are better for those with a heavier flow, while smaller cups hold less. So if you want a full day’s use without leaks, it’s best to make sure you know your flow. 

Since the size is a reference to your flow rather than vagina size, cups are customizable to make sure it fits in perfectly.

In addition to a cup to store the blood, there is also a stem that you use to remove it. Trimming the stem is key to making it sit perfectly and avoiding cup leaks. 

You will have to feel yourself up

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From beginning to end, using a menstrual cup is very much about getting personal with yourself. While pads and tampons allow for a level of distance between you and your vagina, the cup definitely doesn’t. 

First things first, you’ll need to practice inserting the cup, which can be a hard time and a bit of a learning curve. It needs to be folded so that you can insert the cup into the right position.

This means getting your fingers right in there, which many people who haven’t had the opportunity beforehand can find a bit daunting.  A big help is opening up by sitting in a gentle squat and doing some zen breathing.

Also, acknowledging and getting to know your own incredible body is great for your mental health!

Since you fold it to insert, one issue that comes up quite a bit is that the cup may stay folded inside you. To fix this, you gently pull the cup to help some air in, and it should open to form a seal and stop any leaks.  

Safe to say that doing this all in public restrooms can be quite traumatic, especially if something goes wrong while removing the cup. Luckily, the situation is unlikely to arise as, unlike tampons, you only need to change the cup once or twice a day.  

You’ve never seen that much of your blood

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This is one of the more cringe-worthy moments of the menstrual cup. You’ve probably been using pads and tampons for a while now and are used to seeing the dark blood-soaked cotton, but nothing prepares you for a cup of menstrual blood. 

While natural and something you adapt to, it can be a bit of a shock when you’re emptying the cup into the toilet. This is a lot easier on lighter days, although that will also require cleaning out the tiny bit left in the sink. 

They are super easy to clean

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Speaking of cleaning, these cups are very easy to clean. Since they’re made of medical-grade silicone, while you’re on your period, all you need to do is run it under some lukewarm water and make sure it doesn’t touch any dirty surfaces before inserting. 

Once you’ve washed the cup at the end of your period, you need to boil it for about five minutes in water to disinfect it before packing it away till next month properly.

This also means not having to clean out a horrible smelling bin full of tampons and pads, which is a big win. 

They can last as long as ten years

The Menstrual Cup: Everything you wanted to know and some things you didn’t

This is where your wallet and the planet, thank you. It changes across countries but mostly, tampons and pads are a frustrating monthly expense. They also end up in landfills, furthering the Earth’s pollution problem. 

Menstrual cups are only a once-off expense and are comparatively cheap. They last between 5-10 years and so over time the price per use shrinks incredibly, so they are really worth the investment. 

Trying something new is always scary, but there are way more pros than cons when it comes to switching to a menstrual cup. Give it a try; it’s worth it, I promise!