How To Use A Menstrual Cup for Beginners: Guide by A Cup Expert
In this Guide: What is a Menstrual Cup? Why Choose a Menstrual Cup over Pads or Tampons? Choosing Your First Menstrual Cup Helpful Things to Keep in Mind Before Using a Menstrual Cup Your Step-by-Step Guide to Cup Usage Having trouble? Here are some tips, tricks & FAQs Help, I can’t remove my cup! Why am I having trouble inserting my cup? How would I know if my cup is full? Can I pee or poop with my cup? Is the stem meant to be worn internally? How do I prevent leaks or spotting? When will I need to replace my cup? Can I use the menstrual cup if I’m a virgin? Will using a cup loosen my vagina permanently? Will my blood flow back into my uterus while I’m asleep or doing activities like yoga or swimming? I have a heavy flow. Is the menstrual cup still suitable for me? Cautions Conclusion Heard the buzz about menstrual cups lately and can’t help but be a little curious? Chances are, you may already have a friend who swears by it, or it may have made its way onto your radar during a search for a more sustainable life. Either way, there’s been lots of talk about menstrual cups over the years. Yet, it can still feel so new and daunting, and you probably have a ton of questions that haven’t quite been answered. As a brand that wants to support you in all your period choices, we’ve put together this ultimate beginner’s guide which gives you every bit of intel on menstrual cups. After all, it may be one little cup, but it can make a huge difference to your period routine. Let’s get to it! What is a Menstrual Cup? Here's the lowdown! A menstrual cup is a reusable period product that’s typically bell or egg shaped, and made of medical-grade silicone or TPE. Like a tampon, it’s designed to sit snugly in the vagina, but here’s where it’s different: it works by collecting, instead of absorbing, your menstrual blood directly from the cervix. You may be wondering, how the heck does it stay up in there? When inserted correctly, it unfurls (just imagine a flower at full bloom!) and a suction seal is formed between the cup and your vaginal walls, where it stays in place for hours until you break the seal. It’s easy to see why a menstrual cup is capable of giving you an “out of sight, out of mind” experience; since it’s made of soft silicone, it has the ability to flexibly contour with your body heat so you won’t even notice it when worn! Why Choose a Menstrual Cup over Pads or Tampons? Periods can be very personal, and so can your choice of products. So it’s totally okay to have different preferences, budgets or approaches for how you want to manage your periods! But for those of you who are considering menstrual cups, here are key reasons why you may want to make the switch. 1. It’s friendly on your wallet and the planet With proper care, one little menstrual cup can have a lifespan of up to 10 years! So if you love being in a committed relationship, saving the planet, and more money in the bank – we can’t think of a better match for you! Being able to last years and not just hours, it’s a more sustainable option that cuts down on single-use waste. So if you think about it, your initial investment of around $40 is a one-and-done purchase that goes a very, very long way. And, you can finally say goodbye to that last minute “OMG I forgot to get pads!” panic. @get.blood Let us know in the comments below! Are you on team #pads, #tampons or #menstrualcup ♬ Stressed Out by Twenty Øne Pilots - 1 Minute Sounds 2. It’s safe to wear for up to 12 hours The Blood Cup is made of 100% medical-grade silicone that’s tested to be biocompatible and safe for use. Best of all, it’s free from chemicals, BPA and other nasties that you definitely don’t want in your body. As it doesn’t leave any residue or fibres in the vagina, your risks of bacterial infections or discomfort are greatly reduced. And unlike other period care that need to be changed more frequently, cups can stay in for longer – that means they’re even good for overnight wear! 3. It holds more We like to think of menstrual cups as small but mighty, and with good reason! Average capacities can range anywhere from 15ml to 40ml; for reference, our Blood Cup holds about 25ml, which is about 4 pads’ worth of blood. That means you probably don’t have to empty your cup as often as you’d have to change your pad or tampon – a great solution for those who are constantly on the go! @get.blood What period product are you using? #periodtok #periods #pads #tampons #menstrualcup ♬ original sound - RaveCentral 4. It’s so comfortable, you won’t even feel it A downside of pads or tampons is that you’re almost always aware of them. Pads can cause irritation when they rub against your skin, and you’ll most definitely encounter dampness at some point of the day. And while tampons do a great job at absorbing blood, they tend to dry out your vagina. On the other hand, a menstrual cup is designed to be so soft, small, and flexible that you won’t even feel it when worn – just empty, rinse and repeat with ease! @get.blood If you find dampness / dryness during a #period uncomfortable, check this out! #padsvstampons vs #menstrualcups #periodproblemsbelike ♬ Sunny Day - Ted Fresco 5. Less odours, less mess While it’s totally natural, the smell of menstrual blood when it’s exposed to air can be unpleasant. Or what about having to deal with a bloody, damp mess in the middle of your day? We’ll pass. Thankfully, cups form an airtight seal once they’re inserted, so you can go about your day without even getting a whiff or experiencing any discomfort. 6. Keeping active is no problem Periods can be your ultimate downtime, and that’s fine! But if you’re itching to get back on your feet as soon as possible or continue to get your daily yoga on, good news! You can pretty much do anything with a menstrual cup and it’ll still stay in place. That includes jogging, skipping, swimming or even a handstand! 7. No need to worry about leaks when sleeping If you’re a toss and turner in bed, you can finally rest easy – your menstrual cup offers you all night leak protection and worry-free sleep too! Choosing Your First Menstrual Cup Alright, you’re almost ready to take the plunge, but how do you know which menstrual cup is right for you? We’ve been there, and like a kid in a candy store, the options can feel endless. That’s where the Blood Cup comes in! With a diameter of 42mm, length of 58mm, and capacity of 25ml, the Blood Cup is an ideal size to kickstart your cup journey with. And while you might need time to get used to a cup, ours includes a few nifty features to make things a little easier – such as a reinforced cuff that helps to fully open the cup up, grip rings, and a rounded stem that guides you without compromising on comfort. To help you out even more, the Blood Cup also comes equipped with a multi-use premium pouch in its all in one kit. You may have heard that you’ll need to sanitise your menstrual cups between cycles, and that it’s traditionally done in a pot over a stove. But modern times call for innovative solutions, so we’re making this the most fuss-free experience yet with our pouch that lets you sanitise, rinse and store with ease. When it’s time to sanitise, simply place your cup into the pouch with water and place it into the microwave for 3 minutes. No more standing around and tending to an open flame, nor having the entire household know that you’re prepping your menstrual cup! You can even use the pouch as a cleanse & carry case when you’re out and about. In fact, here’s a pro-tip for you: if you need to empty your cup in a public toilet, just fill the pouch with water before entering the cubicle, and pop your cup in it for a quick rinse! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blood |Period Care & Education (@get.blood) When it comes to dealing with your periods, we know that the last thing you need is added stress. So here’s something else that will definitely set your mind at ease – the Blood Cup comes with the world’s only 120 days risk-free trial! That means you get to try it for roughly 4 periods and if you don’t totally love it, you’re free to return it for a refund! We’ll keep it real with you. For most, a menstrual cup will involve a learning curve and it’s very common to need a few cycles to get used to it. But after that? It’s a life-changer! With our risk-free trial, you get to try the cup at your own time and pace – and have the added assurance that we’ll be there with you from start to finish. Helpful Things to Keep in Mind Before Using a Menstrual Cup 1. Get to know your body Menstrual cups are for anyone who has a period. There are no age limits, but you should be comfortable with your body and period. Find time to explore, and start by relaxing and then using your fingers to find the opening of your vagina. You may want to use a hand mirror to help you get a better look down there. If this is your first time inserting something in your vagina, it's normal to find that you have tighter vaginal muscles which may make insertion harder at first, but with practice, your body will adapt to accommodate a cup. Just take things slow and steady! 2. Measure your cervix If you don’t want to spend too much time fussing with different cups, you may want to be sure of your cervix height first. As its position can vary during your cycle, it’s best to do this near or during your period for an accurate gauge. Get comfortable, and insert a clean finger into your vagina until you hit a dead end that feels like the tip of your nose – that’s your cervix! Place your thumb at the spot where your finger meets the entrance of your vagina to “mark” the height of your cervix. Remove your finger and while holding your thumb in place, measure the length of your finger up till your thumb with a ruler. That’s the length of your cervix! With that, it’ll be easier to figure out if a menstrual cup will fit nicely with your cervix height. @get.blood Answer to @megan_rm1 #sayyestothedresschallenge but #menstrualcup version. #periodtok #menstrualcuptiktok ♬ double take - dhruv The Blood Cup is a good size to accommodate low and medium cervixes. But don’t worry if you have a high cervix! It actually means that you’re able to use most menstrual cups, but it may take you more effort to remove it because the cup has a slightly longer path to take on its way down. This can still be easily done by bearing down (aka mimicking a pooping motion with your pelvic muscles) – the cup will soon be within reach. 3. It won't get stuck If you’ve fretted over this, you’re not alone! But don’t worry, your cup cannot get lost inside you. When inserted correctly, it sits snugly in your vagina just below your cervix – which makes it anatomically impossible for your cup to pass through! Over the course of the day, your cup may move up a little, especially if you have a higher cervix. But all you’ll need to do is use your pelvic muscles to bear down more, which will bring the cup down closer to your vaginal entrance so that it’s within reach. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blood |Period Care & Education (@get.blood) 4. Leaks may happen, but can often be fixed We won’t say that leaks never happen, but once you’re familiar with your cup and flow, it very rarely happens. With a little nudge here and a little wriggle there, your cup should fall into place and form a proper seal. Always make sure that the cup has fully unfolded; you’ll be able to tell by running a finger along the rim, which should then feel smooth without any dents. You can also check by gently pulling on the stem – if you feel some resistance, you’re all set! Getting to know how heavy your flow is will also help you better understand when to empty your cup so you can prevent any leaks or accidents. Your Step-by-Step Guide to Cup Usage Before first-time use We’re sure you’re excited to try out your cup! Here are a couple of things you should do to get it all nice and prepped. You can start by getting acquainted with your cup, aka your bloody awesome period upgrade. Check that all 4 air holes at the top of your cup are clear. To sanitize your cup: Microwave it for 5 minutes by placing it in the cleansing pouch with water View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blood |Period Care & Education (@get.blood) Boil it in water for 5 minutes, making sure your cup doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, or Immerse it in water together with a sterilizing tablet for 3 minutes Getting Ready Wash your hands and menstrual cup with mild soap and water. Go ahead and leave your cup wet – water will help to lubricate it! @get.blood #cleantok #cleaningtiktok #menstrualcup ♬ Powfu. Death Bed - 1 Minute Sounds Fold your cup and get it as small as possible for smooth insertion. Take the time to play around with different folds, and figure out your favourite one. Here are a few ways! Punchdown fold Recommended for beginners! Push rim down into cup towards its base. 7 fold Flatten cup and fold right corner diagonally to the left to form a "7" with the rim. C fold Flatten the cup. Fold it in half vertically to form a C-shape. Insertion Get comfy! Squat, straddle or stand up – you’ll soon find a position that works best for you. Relax those muscles! Breathe in, breathe out. Find a fold that suits you – everyone has different preferences so try a couple to see which is easiest and most comfortable for you. We recommend that you start with the Punchdown Fold, C Fold or 7 Fold shown above, but here are a couple more for you to experiment with. Triangle fold Flatten cup and fold one corner diagonally downwards to the base, forming a triangle. Origami fold Start with a shallow punchdown, then wrap the right corner over the left for a rosebud shape. C fold Pinch the rim and push it down into the middle of the cup, wrapping the sides around it. Gently slide your folded cup rim-first into your vagina. Angle it towards your tailbone instead of straight up, until the entire cup is inside. That means the stem too! @get.blood Reply to @celinelazaron We’ve answered your #periodquestions ♬ Faded - Alan Walker Gently rotate the cup from the base to ensure that the cup pops open. This will form a seal to help prevent leaks. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blood |Period Care & Education (@get.blood) Check that it has successfully opened by running a finger around the cup base; it should feel smooth and round. Wear your cup for up to 12 hours Removal Wash your hands thoroughly. Stay relaxed – that’s the key for easier removal! Get into the Hover or Leg Up position. Imitate a pooping motion to activate your pelvic floor muscles, which will help to lower the cup closer to your vaginal opening and get it within reach. Get into the Hover or Leg Up position. Use your pelvic floor muscles to imitate a pooping motion to help lower the cup closer to your vaginal opening. Pinch the base of the cup to break the suction seal. If you’re having trouble locating the base, use the stem as a guide. Wiggle the cup and ease it out, keeping it upright to avoid spills. Empty the contents into the toilet or sink. Then, rinse your cup thoroughly and reinsert! @get.blood Answer to @xxjukithehumanxx Another burning #periodquestion answered! #menstrualcuptiktok #periodtok #periodtips #learningisfun ♬ Wii Shop Channel Trap - Osrsbeatz Cleaning & Storing A. Washing (after each removal) Rinse your cup in cold water to avoid discoloration. Wash with hot water and a cleanser formulated for menstrual cups, or with mild soap that’s fragrance-free, oil-free and pH-balanced. Your vagina deserves to be handled with care! Clear the air holes during washing by rubbing the cup between your hands and squeezing it so that water passes through the holes. You can also use a toothpick to unclog any residue. If you’re in a public toilet: Rinse your cup at a sink, or Rinse your cup in your cleansing pouch filled with water, or Wipe your cup with toilet paper and reinsert. B. Santizing (end of every cycle) A deep clean is highly recommended to keep your cup clean and ready for future use. Our preferred methods: Microwave in cleansing pouch Rinse your cup with water. Place your cup in the pouch. Fill the pouch with water up to 150ml mark. Microwave on high for 2-3 mins. Let the pouch cool off in the microwave. Remove pouch and drain water carefully. Boil in a pot of water Place your cup in a pot. Fill the pot with enough water so that the cup is fully submerged. Make sure your cup isn’t touching the bottom or sides of the pot. Boil for 5 minutes. Immerse in water with a sterilizing tablet Rinse your cup with water. Drop 1 sterilizing tablet and your cup into a cup of water (~150-250ml). Wait for 3 mins. C. Storing (after use) Dry your cup thoroughly. Store your cup in the pouch provided. Keep the pouch open so that it remains breathable. Always store in a breathable pouch or container – never in an airtight environment. Safe Usage Your cup can be used for up to 12 hours. Empty it 2-4 times a day, depending on your flow. Keep it personal, don’t share your menstrual cup. Always wash your hands before and after handling your cup. Sanitize your cup before and after every cycle. Replace your cup if you spot any signs of damage. Having trouble?Here are some tips, tricks & commonly asked questions. 1. Help, I can't remove my cup! That’s a common first-timer concern, so don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Take comfort in knowing that your cup cannot get lost inside you! Try squatting and imitate a pooping motion to push the cup lower within your reach. If that doesn’t work, take a break. Walk around and wait to try again, or take a hot bath to relax your muscles. 2. Why am I having trouble inserting my cup? Relax, relax, relax! When you’re feeling nervous, your vaginal muscles may tense up too. Try inserting it while you’re in the shower, a place where you’ll naturally be more relaxed. Additionally, the running water will act as a form of lubrication. Otherwise, you may like to opt for other water-based lubricants to help you out. The position that you’re in could play a part too. And since you’re in complete privacy, there’s really no judgment here. So get into any position that feels comfortable and right for you – it could be anything from a full squat, a lunge, or a leg up against the wall! 3. How would I know if my cup is full? Some people have experienced a bubbling sensation that helps to indicate that their cup is full. However, since it doesn’t happen for everyone and we don’t have X-ray vision, the best way to find out is to remove your cup after wearing it for about 3-4 hours. Doing this will allow you to see how much blood has been collected and based on that, you’ll have a good gauge on when you should expect to empty the cup. For example, if there’s very little in the cup, you’ll know that you could have left it in for much longer! 4. Can I pee or poop with my cup? Yes, you can! The cup may move or affect urine flow for some people, so remove and reinsert it if you face any discomfort. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Blood |Period Care & Education (@get.blood) 5. Is the stem meant to be worn internally? Yes, the entire cup and stem should be inside you when worn. If you can feel the stem, you may want to trim the tip off. Never trim it while it is inserted, and take care not to snip the base of the cup. The stem acts as a guide, not a pull tab – so avoid pulling hard on it when removing your cup. 6. How do I prevent leaks or spotting? When your cup is inserted correctly, you shouldn’t experience any leaks or spotting. Once worn, check that your cup has fully opened by running a finger around its base and rotating it slightly. The punchdown fold opens more easily compared to the C-fold or 7-fold. On heavy flow days, you may need to empty it more often. It may take 2-3 cycles for you to get to know your flow better. You may want to use a liner if you’re still new to your cup or on heavy flow days. 7. When will I need to replace my cup? While your cup can last up to 10 years with proper care, please replace it if you spot any abnormalities such as foul odours, tears, holes, or visible damage. 8. Can I use the menstrual cup if I’m a virgin? Will using a cup loosen my vagina permanently? Your vagina is a muscle that can stretch to accommodate anything that’s inserted in. If you’ve ever found that it seems “looser” on say, Day 5 of your period as compared to Day 1, that’s because you’ve trained the muscles to relax and not clamp up. Once your period is over and you stop using your cup, you’ll find that your vaginal walls will go back to their natural state of being compressed and tighter than it was during your period. 9. Will my blood flow back into my uterus while I’m asleep or doing activities like yoga or swimming? The muscles of your uterus have to actively push menstrual blood out for you to have your period – that’s also why some of us get cramps. Menstrual blood then flows into the cup through a very tiny hole in the cervix, which makes it impossible for blood to flow back into your uterus, even if you’re upside down! 10. I have a heavy flow. Is the menstrual cup still suitable for me? Yes! In fact, a menstrual cup holds way more blood than pads or tampons, so you won’t have to change it as often. Cautions The cup is not a contraceptive nor can it be used during sexual intercourse. The cup will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. If you use an IUD, consult your doctor first as the IUD may dislodge or need adjustments. Remove your cup and see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of pain or discomfort such as inflammation, burning, or irritation. Don’t wash your cup with harsh cleansers like alcohol, bleach, or vinegar, or anything that may irritate your vagina. Don’t use your cup if you have a yeast or bacterial infection. About Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): IMPORTANT: Menstrual cups have been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death. Read and keep the enclosed information. Avoid using your cup if you’re aware of any internal abrasions or wounds that you may have, as TSS can occur when toxins enter your bloodstream. Symptoms of TSS: sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash resembling sunburn, dizziness, muscle pain, or fainting. If you experience any of these symptoms, remove your menstrual cup and get medical help immediately. Conclusion With the myriad of period products available now, there’s truly something for everyone and every lifestyle. So what makes a menstrual cup the next upgrade in your period routine? As compared to your traditional pads or tampons, a menstrual cup probably sounds exciting, life-changing but a little nerve-wracking all at the same time. The amazing thing about using one is that you’ll get to understand your body and your period better than ever before. From knowing just how much you really bleed, to the ins and outs of your body – this little cup will enable you to learn so much about yourself! There are many other reasons why a menstrual cup may be the next thing on your shopping list. For the busy go-getters – a menstrual cup holds more menstrual fluid than pads or tampons, so you won’t have to deal with your period as often, adding so much more convenience and time to your day. If you’re someone looking into cutting down on disposables (and money!), a cup is a one-and-done purchase that could be your trusty companion for up to 10 years. Or maybe you’re just tired of dealing with stress and mess during your period? A menstrual cup would be a safe, leak-proof alternative that truly gives that “out of sight, out of mind” experience, all day long. Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure – once you’ve got the hang of it, the menstrual cup should be so comfortable, you won’t even feel it’s there. If you’d like to get started on a feel-nothing flow, try our Blood Cup that comes with a 120-days risk-free return. We’ve been on this cup journey ourselves and totally understand the learning curve that comes with it. With our 120-days trial, you get to try the cup at your own time and pace, and have the added assurance that we’ll be there with you from start to finish. Love it or get your money back – it’s that simple! Get yours here.