ALL THINGS PERIOD CUPS
I get asked A LOT about what kind of feminine hygiene products I use, when I answer with menstrual cup I get even more questions! What is that, what brand do I use, how I use them, how to prevent leaks, etc. So I decided it was time for a tell all post answering the most common questions I receive about period cups! They can be intimidating but switching over to a period cup was the best decision I have ever made to simplify my cycle!
What is Period Cup (Menstrual Cup)?
Period cups have been around for a while now but with a push for healthier, greener options they have boomed in popularity. They are typically a medical grade silicone tapered cup that is inserted into the vagina (like a tampon) but instead of absorbing it catches the lining of your uterus.
How Do you Insert it?
It takes a few cycles to get used to inserting and removing the cup but once you get the hang of it, it is painless and easy! I fold my cup (See image below) this has been the best way for me but there are other options (youtube how to fold your period cup and there are a lot of great resources). I then insert it pretty deep (yes your fingers are kinda up there) and then release my grip letting the cup pop open. Then I use my thumb and pointer finger to spin the cup which creates the seal. MAKE SURE YOU SPIN YOUR CUP AT LEAST ONE FULL CIRCLE, I normally do like 3 just to be safe, this is how you prevent leaks. I love to wear a thin panty liner or my THINX underwear to catch any small leak that may occur if I didn't get the seal properly.
Does it Hurt?
The only times it has hurt me was when I was all tensed up. Take a deep breath, slightly bend your knees, you got this!
How do I remove it without Making a Mess?
So the good news is you are only needing to change it every 12 hours (see next questions for cleaning details) so its not like tampons where you are having to frequently change. I remove and clean once in the morning, once in the evening. Similar to inserting you need to relax, insert two fingers and gently twist the cup, re fold ( in half for removal) and slowly pull it out. I never let mine get too full so this is something you kind have to learn with your body and your cycles. On your heavy days you may need to add one more changing in there but for most twice a day works throughout the whole period. I shower every evening so the evening removal is really easy, I don't have to worry about spills/ messes. In the morning I just take it slow and make sure to keep the cup facing upright, it comes out really steady even when full!
How Often Does it Need to be Cleaned
Your period cup should be washed every 12 hours (or when it becomes full) with a non scented soap. I use Dr. Bronner's non Scented Castile Soap. After each cycle boil your cup for 10 minutes, sometimes I add in baking soda to remove any staining of the silicon.
Can You Sleep, workout, swim in it?
Absolutely YES! That was one of my favorite parts about switching to a period cup was that I can do it all! I forget I am on my period most days because it is just so easy and convenient.
What Brand do you Use?
I use the DIVA Cup! It was the first one I purchased and it has worked really well for me. However there are lots of different brands and sizes out there so don't be afraid to try a few. It is worth every penny to get one that fits you well. Your cup lasts you 10+ years when you properly care for it so it will save you money in the long run! If you have had a baby you will most likely need the larger sized cups to prevent leaks!
How do clean while you aren't at home?
Really the only time this has happened to me was when we have gone camping/ backpacking. Since I am normally not away from our home/ home base if we are traveling for more than 12 hours. SO I will tell you how I managed that and then what I would do If i needed to change it while in a public restroom. For camping/backpacking I go off into a private area, dig a small hole (less deep than if you were to #2), make sure my hands are clean by using wipes, or some kind of hand sanitizer, remove period cup, dump in the hole, rinse with water from a water bottle, clean with Dr Bronner's, re-insert cup, and fill hole. Public restroom I would wash hands, go int the stall, remove cup and dump in toilet, rinse cup with water (you'd need bottled water for this), re-insert, flush, leave stall, wash hands, and be on my way.