By the end of this article, you will have your answer. We’ve embedded our tutorial video on how to use your menstrual cup below.
If you prefer to read, further below you’ll find our guide written out with useful diagrams to follow along with.
And further below, we’ll answer any other doubts you may have while learning to use your menstrual cup.
Menstrual cups have gained popularity over the last 20 years for a very good reason. Every woman who has used one has felt the ultimate relief of finally being freed from the constant use of tampons and disposable pads. It’s cheaper, more convenient and much more environmentally friendly.
Imagine the feeling of empowerment you get when you buy a safe, eco-friendly, easy to use and super affordable product. It’s hard not to feel like a diva with these.
The menstrual cup has been around for years, with records of it first being used in the 1930s. However, the world was relatively slow to catch up with it, and the rest of the world has yet to welcome these silicone cups with open arms.
In this guide, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about the menstrual cup. All your questions about how to use it, whether it hurts or not, how to remove it, clean it and store it have been answered here.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Using your Menstrual Cup, Step-By-Step (With Video)
Using your Menstrual Cup, Step-By-Step (With Diagrams)
Step 1: Sterilize the cup
Before each use, the cup should be sterilized in boiling water for 3 to maximum of 5 minutes. When you do this, make sure that it does not touch the bottom of the pan. If you wish, you can sterilize your cup after use and leave it clean for your next period.
Step 2: Wash your hands
Wash your hands thoroughly before starting. Best to not get any bacteria on your menstrual cup. We recommend that you wet the cup with tap water as this will make it easier for you to slide it through the vagina.
Step 3: Fold
There are 3 main fold techniques, the 7 fold, the C fold and the punch down fold (check video). If you are a beginner, we recommend that you use the punch down fold because if you observe when it is folded, the diameter of its tip is quite similar to that of a tampon.
Step 4: Insert
For the first time, you insert the cup we recommend you to do it in the bathtub or in the shower tray because this way you can relax more and if you stain it will be easier to clean. The following times you can do it sitting on the toilet or with a foot resting on it.
Insert the cup previously wet and folded through the vagina in the same way you do with a tampon. Once it is in, let it go and it will open by itself.
If the cup is not inserted deep enough, you will see that the stem sticks out and this will be very uncomfortable for you, adjust or reinsert until comfortably in.
Step 5: Secure
It is said that you will hear a “pop” sound when the cup has opened, but that does not always happen. If you want to verify that your cup is well opened in your vagina, look for the stem and reach the base of the cup and slowly rotate it. If you detect that the base has a fold, pinch it and this will cause it to open completely as shown in the images.
Step 6: Wear
Once correctly inserted, start enjoying your life, rejoicing that your menstrual flow will be collected in a much healthier way for your body. Goodbye chemicals, goodbye itchiness and irritation. Goodbye to doctor visits, creams and vaginal suppositories.
With the menstrual cup you can work long hours, do sports, dance and even sleep with it. The only thing you can’t do is have penetrative sex.
Step 7: Remove
When the time comes to remove the cup, don’t forget to wash your hands.
Find the stem of your cup, do not pull on it as it will cause you discomfort. Use the stem as a guide to finding the base of the cup. When you have it, squeeze it firmly and remove the cup with gentle movements from side to side as shown in the video.
Pour the content into the toilet and reinsert if necessary.
Step 8: Wash with Cold Water
You should wash the cup with cold water. Remember cold water. This will prevent the iron in your blood from staining your cup. When you wash it, put it down in your hand and press the base of the cup to allow the water to clean the holes in it.
Step 9: Store
If you still have your period, insert it again. If your period has already ended, keep it in your cotton bag until next month. The bag can be machine-washed and we recommend drying it in the open air.
What is a menstrual cup?
As the name suggests, a menstrual cup is a small cup that is typically made of latex or silicone. It is inserted into the vaginal opening during periods. It collects menstrual blood, which can be thrown away at the end of the day. The cup can be reused for several years if properly cleaned and maintained.
A menstrual cup can be found in different sizes so that there is something for every woman. Generally, the “size” of a menstrual cup a woman uses depends on her age and whether she has given birth.
This cup is bell-shaped, flexible and can be made of medical grade plastic, silicone, rubber or latex. It can be used for 8-12 hours at a time, washed and reused.
How do you insert a menstrual cup?
If you have ever used a tampon, you will be familiar with the procedure for inserting a menstrual cup. However, if you are using one for the first time, you may find it a little difficult at first. After using it a couple of times, the process becomes simple and effortless.
A wet menstrual cup is much easier to insert than a dry one. As such, it helps to lubricate the menstrual cup by wetting it with tap water. This will help it slide in more easily.
Here’s how to insert it:
1 Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap before touching the cup or vagina. Be hygienic during the process to avoid infection or contamination.
2 Wet the cup with tap water.
3 Fold the cup, preparing it for insertion into the vaginal opening. There are many ways to fold the cup and you can use it in the way that is most comfortable for you. The most popular methods of folding are the “C”, the “7” and the “V” method.
4 Once you use your preferred method of bending the cup, remember to keep it bent until it is completely inside your vagina. You may have to twist the cup slightly to get it to open. However, once it is inside the vagina, it should open naturally, forming a semi-tight seal to effectively capture menstrual blood.
This is one of the most important things to remember when inserting your menstrual cup, whether for the first time or the 100th time. If you don’t relax, you will feel yourself squeezing, which makes the cup harder to insert.
Take slow, deep breaths and get into a comfortable position. Relax!
Once the cup is inserted, it should form a semi-tight seal. Don’t worry about leaks or spills. It rarely happens.
Feel around the vaginal opening to see if you can feel a round or oval structure. If you can’t, then the cup is inserted correctly and you have nothing to worry about.
How to remove the menstrual cup
You can keep your menstrual cup in for 8 to 12 hours, depending on your flow. However, these super cups have the power to collect more menstrual blood than larger tampons.
That said, it is advisable to clean the menstrual cup more often when using it for the first few times to get to know your own body and how to use the cup better.
Here is how to remove the menstrual cup:
1 Again, start by washing your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water.
2 Find a comfortable position that works for you: you can lie down, squat, sit on the toilet or stand up. You need to relax to make this process easier for you.
3 Insert your index finger and thumb very gently into the vaginal opening, looking for the “stalk” of the menstrual cup.
4 Once you find the “stalk”, reach out until you can touch the base of the cup. Pinch the base slowly to release the vacuum. This will help you remove the cup easily. Avoid pulling on the stem of the cup to remove it, as this will cause discomfort and pain.
How to clean a menstrual cup
If you opt for a reusable menstrual cup, you will need to wash it thoroughly after each use.
Here’s how to clean a menstrual cup:
1 Empty the menstrual cup in the sink or toilet bowl. You can look inside the cup and check how much blood it has collected if you wish. Some menstrual cups have markings that indicate the volume of blood they contain.
2 Wash your menstrual cup in cold, soapy water. Be sure to clean around the rim, base and holes of the cup.
3 After this, dry the cup. Use a soft towel and then let it air dry naturally.
4 Boil the menstrual cup for 3-5 minutes after each cycle. This simple but effective method kills bacteria, germs and other contaminants, making the cup completely safe for reuse.
How to store a menstrual cup
The best way to store a menstrual cup is to use a small cotton bag. This is because the cup requires a breathable material. It is not recommended to keep the cup in an airtight container, as this could eventually damage the cup.
Most brands offer their customers a handy cotton pouch to store the menstrual cup in. However, if this is not offered, you can use any soft, dry and clean cotton bag of your choice.
Using a menstrual cup during travel
There are several compelling reasons why you should switch to a menstrual cup. This may work fine while you’re at home, but what about when you’re travelling – do you need to go back to using pads and tampons?
Well, not really. Using a menstrual cup is relatively easy when travelling. Read on to find out how.
Take it on the road
Use its handy cotton pouch to take your menstrual cup on the go. Whether you’re at work or on holiday, you can use your menstrual cup without fear.
Find a public toilet
Find a public toilet. Before you start, wash your hands thoroughly, as you want to avoid infection and contamination. In case you can’t find running water, it’s a good idea to bring a small bottle of water with you.
Wet the cup with tap water, fold it up and insert it.
Now, you are all set for the next 8 to 12 hours. If you experience a heavy flow, you may need to clean it before 12 hours.
Don’t forget that you can sleep with your menstrual cup.
If you’ve inserted the cup correctly, you won’t even feel it inside.
Removing the cup
When it’s time to remove your menstrual cup, the first thing you should do is find a clean, safe place to do it. If you are camping or hiking, you may not be able to find a bathroom. That is why it is always advisable to have a small bottle of water with you.
Again, start by washing your hands with mild soap and water. You can also use a hand sanitiser to disinfect your hands.
Using the methods mentioned above, gently pinch the base of the menstrual cup, breaking the seal or vacuum. Slowly remove it and wash the contents of the cup in a sink.
If you wish to reinsert the cup, you can do so.
Let’s say you are travelling and need to disinfect your menstrual cup (if you are staying in a hotel or at a friend’s house) – good news! It’s relatively simple.
Fill a small bowl or pot with water and place your menstrual cup inside. Microwave it for about 5 minutes, let it cool and voila! Dry the cup and store it safely in your handy cotton bag.
Advantages of using a menstrual cup
There are several advantages to using a menstrual cup, which is why it is growing in popularity. Here are some compelling reasons why you might want to think about switching to a menstrual cup.
Reusable menstrual cups are super affordable, no matter what brand you’re buying. It’s a one-time purchase that can cost anywhere from 20-40 euros. It could cost more or less, depending on the brand.
Cups made from medical silicone last up to 10 years, with a proper cleaning schedule and safe storage. This makes it much more affordable and cost effective compared to products such as pads and tampons.
With pads and tampons, you always have to worry about a proper disposal method. In addition, this generates an immense amount of waste. Menstrual cups can be cleaned and reused, eliminating waste.
Easy to carry
No matter where you travel, take your menstrual cup with you. All you need is your small cotton bag and the cup. No more boxes of tampons or pads, which can be quite uncomfortable to carry.
Move freely and relax
Once you get used to using a menstrual cup, you’ll never look back. These flexible little cups are easy to use and very comfortable – you won’t even feel it inside you! Once inserted correctly, the menstrual cup forms an airtight seal that ensures no leaks or spills.
Use with an IUD
Many women avoid using a menstrual cup, thinking they won’t wear it comfortably with an IUD. Fortunately, this myth is busted!
They are safer
One of the main concerns with using tampons and pads was TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). This was a fatal condition that could occur if individuals kept their tampons in for too long.
Fortunately, this risk is eliminated with menstrual cups. No more worries about TSS! Plus, these cups can hold more than three times as much blood as a super tampon.
Frequently asked questions
Does it hurt to use a menstrual cup?
No! If you’re using it for the first time, you may notice it’s there but that feeling will go away when you start moving around and doing your business.
What is the right fit?
The ideal size for you will depend on the diameter of the cup as it needs to fit snugly against the walls of your vagina. The size of your vagina will depend on your age and whether you have given birth naturally.
Will it leak or spill?
No! Your menstrual cup should not leak or cause leakage if you insert it correctly and it is the right size.
How long will the cup last?
Some menstrual cups are designed to last six months, especially those made of plastic or latex. Medical silicone will last 7 to 10 years.
How do you know if you have inserted the menstrual cup correctly?
Once the cup is inserted, you may hear a small “pop”. This indicates that the cup has formed a suction and will not come out. However, you may not hear the sound, and that’s completely fine. Check to see if the base of the suction cup is sticking out, and if so, gently push it back in until it clicks into place.
Well, now that you know all about the menstrual cup, do you believe in what you’re reading to make the switch? Fortunately, there are dozens of brands to choose from, and you can experiment until you find the right one.
Using a menstrual cup is completely safe and hygienic. Plus, it’s eco-friendly and good for the environment. Switching tampons and pads can help you save money, reduce waste and benefit your health.
Check out online videos and tutorials or talk to your doctor if you want to learn more about these great cups.💃