How to Use Menstrual Cup: Your Step by Step Guide

How to Use Menstrual Cup: Your Step by Step Guide

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03 October 2023 . 6 min read

Menstrual Cup - Know How to Use Menstrual Cup Effectively

 

Introduction

Just like sanitary napkins, menstrual cups are used during periods. However, they must be inserted into the vagina to collect blood.

Menstrual cups have become an alternative period care product that is gaining popularity. They are tiny silicone or latex cups inserted into the vagina during periods and collect blood.

Let's understand more about how to use a menstrual cup in this blog!

What Is a menstrual Cup?

A menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup made from medical-grade silicone or latex. It is designed to collect period blood. Unlike other common menstrual products like tampons and pads, a menstrual cup is a reusable device which helps cut down costs and environmental waste. 

While sanitary pads and tampons absorb menstrual flow, a menstrual cup collects it. The cup is inserted into the vagina, which sits below the cervix and forms a gentle suction to ensure a secure fit. When the cup is full, it must be removed, emptied, rinsed, and placed back.

Menstrual cups come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate varying cervix positions and flow intensities. Women of all ages and menstrual patterns can use them. Using a menstrual cup may require some practice, but once you're comfortable with them, you'll find them easy to use.

There are two parts to a menstrual cup:

● A thin stem at the bottom for easy removal

● The cup


How to use a menstrual cup?

Using a menstrual cup may seem difficult initially, but it becomes a comfortable process with some practice. Here are some things to remember when using a menstrual cup:

  1. Choose a comfortable position and find one that works best for you.
  2. Find the fold of the cup that you are most comfortable with.
  3. Gently separate the labia with your free hand and guide the folded cup into your vagina at a downward angle. The cup should be inserted until the stem is no longer visible and the cup feels comfortable and secure.
  4. Release your grip on the cup and allow it to unfold inside your vagina. Rotate the cup slightly or run a clean finger around the cup's base to ensure a proper seal.
  5. Ensure that the cup has fully opened and created a seal by gently tugging on the stem. If you feel resistance, it means the seal is intact. If the cup feels low or uncomfortable, you can push it higher by bearing down gently or adjusting its position.
  6. Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow. You should empty and clean the cup at least twice daily or more frequently if needed. 


How to insert a menstrual cup?

When you buy a menstrual cup, you must read the directions on the package regarding the best way to wash and sterilise it. Remember to wash your hands well with soap and water before inserting and removing the cup each time.

To insert the menstrual cup:

● Fold the top of the cup and push it into the vagina. Always aim towards the lower back.

● While people find it easier to insert the cup when squatting, others prefer to stand, lift one foot or sit at the edge of a stool or chair.

The trick to inserting the menstrual cup properly is to fold the cup. There are several ways to fold the cup, but the two popular folds are:

C-fold/U-fold: For this fold, press the sides of the cup together such that its top is a long-oval shape. Now, fold the cup in half to resemble a U or a C.

Punch-down fold: To make this fold, put a finger on the top of the cup rim and push it into the centre of the cup to form a triangle.

7-fold: For this fold, press the sides of the cup together so that the top resembles a long oval. Now, fold one side down diagonally so it looks like the number 7.

Once you have achieved a fold of your choice, insert the rim of the cup inside the vagina and push it in till the cup and stem are inside. Once inside, the cup pops open to create a seal that prevents the menstrual blood from leaking. If unsure of the seal, hold the cup at its base and turn it one full circle. When inserted correctly, you will not feel the cup, and some women may also forget about it. However, forgetting about the inserted menstrual cup and not cleaning it every 4 to 8 hours can be harmful to your health.

To remove the menstrual cup

Before removing the cup, wash your hands and break the suction seal. Gently squeeze the base of the cup or insert a finger alongside the cup to release the seal. Slowly and carefully pull the cup out while keeping it upright to avoid spills. 

Empty the contents of the cup into the toilet or sink. Rinse the cup with warm water or use mild, unscented soap for cleaning. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding cleaning and sterilisation methods.

After cleaning, reinsert the cup following the previous steps. If your period has ended, sterilise the cup according to the manufacturer's instructions and store it in a clean, breathable container until your next cycle.


What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Menstrual Cups?

Here are some advantages of menstrual cup:

Long duration of use

You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours. However, this depends upon your period flow.

Cost-effective

Since menstrual cups are reusable, a one-time purchase can last 5 to 10 years, saving you lots of money.

Environment-friendly

Since menstrual cups are reusable, they also reduce environmental waste created by disposable sanitary pads and tampons. This makes menstrual cups eco-friendly.

Menstrual cups also have some disadvantages, such as:

● It may be difficult to find the right fit since they come in different sizes and for different intensities of flows. If you have a tilted uterus or low cervix, you may find it slightly tricky to use a menstrual cup initially. Consult your doctor for help.

● Removal of a menstrual cup can be messy and sometimes even embarrassing.

● They may be difficult to use in public restrooms without clean water and soap access. You must always carry a bottle of water to clean your hands, rinse and clean the cup before reinserting it when out of the home.

● While menstrual cups sit inside the vagina and an IUD is inserted in the uterus, some studies say menstrual cups may interfere with intrauterine devices (IUDs). So, consult your doctor about using a menstrual cup if you have an IUD.


Conclusion

A menstrual cup is a revolutionary period care product that offers women a sustainable, cost-effective, and comfortable alternative to traditional options like sanitary napkins and tampons. They are reusable, provide extended wear time, and reduce environmental impact. Women must understand that using a menstrual cup requires practice, and it may take a few cycles to become completely comfortable and confident with the process of inserting, removing and cleaning the cups.