Menstrual cups can be a game changer for many women when used properly. Ladies, there is a world (that of menstrual cup) in which you aren’t leaking out your period, you do not have to change every hour or so, nor use any chemicals with tampons or pads. While menstrual cups provide versatility and comfort, they remain a bit of a mystery so let’s get all these questions answered.
What is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a hygienic cup (think like a funnel) often made of silicone that is inserted in the vagina during menstruation. That cup collects the period flow, instead of absorbing it like tampons or pads.
Are menstrual cups messy?
Menstrual cups can be handled with very little mess when you are used to them but it takes practice. The reality is that they are messy the first few times until you get used to them because you technically have to empty the period flow from the cup, which makes it unsuitable for ladies with homophobia.
How often do I need to change them?
Most cups are reusable for life (or at least years), which is the beauty of them. They can be kept for up to 12 hours depending on the size of the cup and your period flow. All you need to do is empty, wash and reinsert after every use in, and sterilize them in boiling water at the end of your period, and before you reinsert them on your next period. You can always have a couple that you alternate between periods and depending on occasions.
I personally prefer using cups on the days when my flow is heaviest, and stick to tampons at the start and end of my period just to prevent any risk of infection as per my gynaecologist advice. You really do have to find your perfect sauce.
How to choose your menstrual cup?
Menstrual cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I personally went through three different shapes before finding my perfect fit, so do not get discouraged if the first one you try feels uncomfortable. Stay open minded and keep experimenting.
There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing your cup including age, shape of the cup, height of your cervix and pelvic floor height. Women that have given birth and that have high cervix generally need larger size cups, while first time cup users, with low cervix that have never given birth would generally be part of the smaller cups crew. There is a video here for more detailed guidance on finding the perfect cup but you should also experiment with cup shape across different brands.
How do I insert and remove the menstrual cup?
Fold the cup before inserting it into your vagina. Rotate it until you hear the cup open and create a sea (this step is important because it prevents leaks). Remove the full cup by pinching the base to break the seal. You should definitely practice inserting and removing it in the shower before going out with them. You will be a pro before you realize (video here).
For fitness specifically, menstrual cups are a great alternative to pads or tampons due to relatively lower risk of leaking at the gym and the level of comfort they provide. Think tampon, without the chemicals, no leaks and 4x the capacity. A winner, but may not be for everyone so start experimenting with different solutions, shapes and sizes to determine if it is for you and which suits you.