What is the Menstrual Cup and How Should It Be Used?

Cups, also referred to as menstrual cups or menstrual cups, have been around for years, but have recently become popular.

The Menstrual Cup is a small, bell-shaped cup that a person can place in their vagina to collect menstrual blood.

They are made of medical grade silicone, rubber or plastic and are generally reusable. People empty the container, wash it with soap and water, and reinsert it.

Some brands are disposable, so one can throw them away after each use or menstrual cycle.

The person can wear a reusable cup for up to 6-12 hours before being removed and washed. A person with a heavier menstrual flow may need to empty their glass more often.

Positive Aspects of Menstrual Cups

There are many advantages to using a menstrual cup that includes:

  • Financial savings: Using a menstrual cup can take several years, depending on the container. This will ultimately save money compared to buying tampons or pads on a regular basis.
  • Comfort: Many people report that menstrual cups are more comfortable than pads or tampons. The cups do not cause vaginal dryness, which is a common complaint about tampons.
  • Less Cramp: There are reports of people who say they experience less menstrual pain when using a container.
  • Less Confusion: When properly placed, the container should not leak or spill; One can use the containers while exercising, swimming or taking a shower. Some brands also report that the cups are safe and comfortable to use during sex.
  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Tampons and pads are usually disposable and come with lots of packaging, but the containers are designed to last for years. This affects a significant number of menstrual products going into the landfill and is a big step forward for the environment.

Negative Aspects of Menstrual Cups

Putting on and removing menstrual cups can be a bit awkward and difficult the first time a person uses them. Some people feel rough or uncomfortable about their menstrual blood. In this case, using containers may not be a good option.

It can cause discomfort if the container does not fit properly or is using the wrong size.

It may also cause some leakage in people who have very heavy flow or have clots in their menstrual blood.

Some people worry about committing to toxic shock syndrome (TSS), an infection that occurs after tampons have been used for a long time.

However, TSS is extremely rare when using a cup or pad. Using the container as intended, emptying and washing it frequently can help reduce the risk of infection.

The container has two main parts: the cup and a thin body at the base to facilitate removal.

If you are using the container for the first time, it is important to carefully read the instructions on the package and wash or sterilize it properly before inserting it into your vagina.

It is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before inserting or removing the container.

To insert, fold the top of the cup and press it against the vagina, turn it backwards. Some people find insertions easier while crouching. Others prefer to stand, sometimes with one foot raised, on the edge of the tub, for example.

Folding the container correctly may seem complicated at first, but there are several methods to try. Some of the most popular folds are:

  • C-Fold or U-Fold: Press the sides of the cup against each other to see a long oval shape from the top. Fold the cup in half so it looks like the letters C or U.
  • Press Fold: Place your finger on the top edge of the bowl and press into the center (near the bottom) of the bowl, forming a triangle.
  • 7 Curl: Press the sides of the cup together, it will form a long oval from the top to the top. Fold one side down diagonally so it looks like the number 7.

Once the rim of the cup is in, keep pushing the cup into the vagina until the entire cup and stem are in.

The cup must be removed, preventing leakage of menstrual blood. To achieve this, hold the glass by the base (not the stem) and turn it one full circle or 360 degrees.

Some people run their finger along the rim of the glass to make sure it’s in the right place and coming out right.

When it’s in the right place, most people can’t feel it and forget it’s there.

How to Remove the Menstrual Cup?

To remove the container, the person may bend down slightly as if they are having a bowel movement. Some people find it helpful to use the vaginal muscles to push the cup further down.

Reach into the vagina using the index finger and thumb and grasp the handle of the cup by gently pulling it down. Squeeze the bottom of the container to break the vacuum and remove it from the vagina. Try to keep the container upright so that blood does not spill.

Some people have trouble feeling the bowl or the stem. Don’t worry – the cup won’t get lost in the vagina.

Especially if the person is feeling anxious or frustrated, it may help to take a break and try again in a few minutes.

Cleaning the Menstrual Cup

Keeping the container clean is essential. Every time a person removes it, they should immediately wash the glass with soap and water.

It’s also a good idea to boil the glass in water for 5-10 minutes between each menstrual cycle.

To prevent the bowl from touching the sides or bottom of the pan and burning it, a person can place the bowl in a metal whisk. This precaution is not required for some brands.

In a public bathroom it can be difficult to completely empty and clean the container.

In this case, the person may wash their hands before removing the container, then use a piece of toilet paper to wipe the container before removing it and putting it back in. Some people carry a small bottle of water to rinse their containers in the toilet.

Be sure to thoroughly clean the container at the next opportunity.

In summary;

The menstrual cup can be a great option for the menstrual period, especially if the person no longer wants to use pads or tampons.

Always read the instructions on the packaging and become familiar with the container before trying it for the first time. It may take a few attempts to understand how to use a container, so be patient.

There are dozens of brands and types of menstrual cups available for purchase in stores and online.

Medical News Today, Menstrual cups: Everything you need to know, 2019.

References:

How do I use tampons, pads, and menstrual cups? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/menstruation/how-do-i-use-tampons-pads-and-menstrual-cups

Mitchell, MA, et al. (2015). A confirmed case of toxic shock syndrome associate with the use of a menstrual cup. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4556184/

North, BB, & Oldham, MJ (2011). Preclinical, clinical, and over-the-counter postmarketing experience with a new vaginal cup: Menstrual collection. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jwh.2009.1929

Period products: Information about tampons, pads, and more. (2016). https://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/03/28/period-products/

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