What’s a menstrual cup?
It’s having its moment & it’s here to stay
Do you have a burning question about menstrual cups? Well sit back, as we’re here to answer any. They’re the ultimate plastic-free sanitary product that will change your life – literally. But don’t fear them, embrace them and join the newest girl gang of eco-warriors trying to make a difference one menstrual cup at a time.
What exactly is a menstrual cup?
We’re glad you asked! A menstrual cup is a silicone sanitary product that you insert into your vagina to catch your period blood. They come in two different sizes: size A, which is recommended for women who’ve given birth or are over 30, and size B, which is for women who haven’t given birth or are under 30. Some brands might label them as size one and size two.
They’re such an easy, simple way to reduce your carbon footprint – as one can last for years if you look after it properly. Once you start to love them, you may never have to buy a tampon or pad again!
What are the benefits of using one?
Have you ever thought about where your tampons go? This might surprise you, but most of them can end up in the ocean. So using a menstrual cup can be your little (but actually big) way of helping to reduce ocean waste.
So not only are they great for the environment but they allow you to take back control of your periods, period. Especially when tampons and pads can have a list of ingredients that means nothing to most people (and many actually contain plastic). But with a menstrual cup, you know exactly what you’re inserting into your vagina – silicone. Have you ever felt dry when you’re on your period? Tampons can absorb up to 35 percent of vaginal moisture, but menstrual cups only absorb your period blood.
If you’re a bit squeamish – because let’s face it, it’s a cup of blood you’ve got to empty and clean – but you’re conscious of the impact you’re having on the environment, you can get organic tampons and even tampons that have a reusable application (which is amazing!).
How do I use a menstrual cup?
It might sound complicated and a bit scary but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. You’ll want to make sure that your fingers and cup are wet before you start. You’ll then need to fold your cup and fold it again, squat, and for lack of a better expression, put it up there and then the cup should open up (you might hear or feel a pop).
It shouldn’t go up as far as a tampon; it should sit very comfortably at the opening of your vagina for the blood to flow into. If it’s not comfortable, it’s not in properly – it’ll take a few tries when you’re new to it, but you’ll get there and eventually it’ll become a breeze.
To take it out, you can pull it gently from the stem by moving it from side to side, but if you’ve cut the stem short, it might be easier to insert two fingers and your thumb to grab it and gently pull down.
Do I need to cut the stem?
If you’re a first time user then you’ll notice a long stem on the bottom of your menstrual cup, this is designed to be trimmed so you don’t feel it. Everyone’s vaginas are different so it’s best to trim it bit by bit and keep inserting it to make sure you can’t feel it. At no point should the stem be sitting outside of your vagina though, if the cup feels comfortable but the stem is sticking out then it’ll need another trim.
How do I clean it?
Because our range of menstrual cups can hold as much as three regular tampons can, you can leave your cup in for up to eight hours. Most of the time, you’ll probably only remove your cup in the comfort of your own bathroom. Each time you remove it, simply pour the blood into the toilet, rinse in the sink and pop back in (yes, you can absolutely wear it overnight). Always remember to wash your hands before removing your cup and after you’ve put it back in.
If you’re caught out in a public cubicle, taking it out, pouring it down the toilet and wiping with a tissue before re-inserting is completely fine – just don’t make a habit of it as it’s best to wash it with water.
Once your cycle’s over, you’ll need to wash your cup by sanitising it in boiling water – so get a pan, boil some water and pop your cup in for at least three minutes. You should get a little cotton bag when you buy a menstrual cup where you can keep it in between periods.
What else do I need to know?
Menstrual cups are designed to not leak, so if you’re experiencing leaking you might not have it in properly or it might not have done the magic pop. You should feel a pop once you’ve inserted it and removed your fingers – that means it's open and ready for business. Like anything that you’re new to, it’ll take some getting used to. But trust us, once you get a cup you won’t be looking back.