5 Most Asked Questions about Menstrual Cups
I can’t tell you how much I love menstrual cups. Yes this might sound like a bold proclamation, but I really feel like they are one of the coolest inventions!
About 5 years ago when I went off of birth control (read more about that here) I knew whenever my period came back I wouldn’t be purchasing tampons/pads because of my passion for the environment, but I was certainly skeptical of the menstrual cup world. First of all, no offense Diva Cup, but I hate the name Diva Cup. (Diva Cup was one of the most popular brands at the time I was researching cups.) The pink and purple on the website, the logo, I just… ugh. Being the experimental person I am, I just jumped in and begrudgingly bought the Diva Cup, read the instructions and thus began my foray into the menstrual cup world. I have tried the Diva Cup, Lunette, Lena, and finally my favorite Dot Cup. Side note- not ideal to buy so many reusable menstrual cups but I was trying to try different brands to share with you all and also to find the best fit for me! It might take a little experimenting of your own to figure out which type/design works best for your body.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE A MENSTRUAL CUP IN THE FIRST PLACE?
avoid chemicals going inside of you (many tampons contain bleached rayon)
save money (one cup is reusable for a lifetime)
can help with cramps (this is true for me but may not be for all)
no string hanging down
doesn’t dry you out (tampons can absorb natural fluids which are good for your vagina and pads can cause rashes- yikes) I cringe just thinking about that too-dry-tampon-coming-out feeling
helps you to get to know your cycle better
5 FAQ’s about Menstrual Cups
Is it uncomfortable?
No! OMG No! I find it to be extremely comfortable and I often forget I have it in. My first and second day of my cycle are kind of tough with cramps, but it was MUCH worse when I was using tampons. I have worked out, swam, ran, pretty much everything with the cup in and found it to be not noticeable and very comfortable. Most cups are made of medical grade silicon which adjust to the bodies temperature and “blends” with the body . In my experience you shouldn’t feel the cup at all, thats a sign that it’s inserted properly.
What do you use for backup? I.e. Does it leak?
Sometimes the cup can leak, but usually this means it isn’t inserted just right. Obviously I try to follow the guidelines to get the cup inserted perfectly but sometimes its a bit off. (You may need to try different methods to get your insertion down and create a good seal- the cup creates a suction with your vaginal walls.) There are a few different folding methods for folding the menstrual cup which I will link to here.
I have a few pairs of THINX underwear, that I will wear during my period to protect against any leaks. Its certainly not a necessity but they are handy and will help you to avoid ruining any nice underwear you have. Also, sometimes when I know my flow isn’t super heavy I will take the cup out at night and just wear my Thinx to bed. I’ve also heard of Sustain’s period underwear and products but haven’t personally tried any of them yet!
Isn’t emptying the cup in public weird?
To answer this question simply, I don’t empty my cup in public. Most days (even my heaviest) I can empty the cup in the morning when I wake up and then not again until evening. This way i’m avoiding emptying it at work or in a public restroom. However, I have had to empty my cup a few times in public and adjust it and I simply empty it in the stall I’m in and re-insert it. I’ll wipe my hands off a little bit with TP and then wash my hands. Ideally you would rinse the cup before putting it back in but just do it the next time you’re in a better spot! Also, who the heck cares! It’s 2019 people and MENSTRUAL CUPS ARE COOL. You’re helping save the planet and you’re a human woman who has a cycle- BOOYAH.
Do you get blood everywhere?
Only if you try to! Early on when I was first using the cup I had a few mishaps where I spilled blood on the bathroom floor or on the toilet seat but it wasn’t a huge problem! For me, the key is to break the seal that the cup creates first, by reaching higher up on the cup than the stem, and then gently pulling it out. If you don’t break the seal first, then you are likely to yank it out and have blood flying every which way.
One other thing I think is cool about the cup is that you can actually see the quality of blood in the cup (#nerdalert). What I mean is the blood early on in your period is different than the blood at the end, both in quality and quantity. So I can essentially tell when my last day of my period is just by looking at the blood in the cup- kind of cool if you ask me.
How do you clean it?
During your period you can just rinse the cup out when you’re emptying it and re-insert (make sure you wash your hands too of course). At the end of my period I like to boil the cup in a small pot to really sanitize it before putting it in its cool little case (see below). One plus of the Dot Cup is that it’s black, all the other cups I tried where a lighter color of some kind and while this is fun, they eventually get stained no matter how much you clean them.