In 2017 I wrote some articles about the menstrual cup, but as it’s becoming more popular, the market is expanding and a lot more people have heard of the menstrual cup by now, I decided to write a new post. I think it’s much handier to have everything in one post instead of in separate posts. So here we go, more period talk!
Question! Are you using a menstrual cup yet or do you have no idea what I am talking about? In both cases, I think this article will help you. I will explain what a menstrual cup is, what the benefits are, I’ll answer some faq and I’ve reviewed some brands for you (Lunette, Organicup and Nixit). Hopefully, this information will give you the confidence to give it a try or if you are already using one, then you might want to learn about the different brands that I’ve tested. Either way, I hope you will enjoy this article and you will share it with anyone who might benefit from it. Let’s make a difference when it comes to periods.
I’m using menstrual cups for over 2 years already and I love them. I do have to say that I never had any anxieties around them and I found it quite easy from the start. This is why I recommend you to get comfortable with your body and in this case, especially with your vagina. Know what is what and know what it feels like. Get to know your body! Menstrual cups make my period much more bearable. During the day I often forget that I’m on my period, as I don’t have to think about changing tampons or pads. Let’s say that I’m a real menstrual cup enthusiast!
WHAT IS A MENSTRUAL CUP EXACTLY?
Simple and short: A menstrual cup is a little cup, usually made out of silicone, that you bring into your vagina when menstruating. It doesn’t absorb any fluids, but rather holds it.
THE BENEFITS OF A MENSTRUAL CUP:
– A cup doesn’t absorb all the fluids, like tampons and pads, but the cup holds all the fluids in your vagina. This way you stay naturally lubricated and healthy from the inside.
– One of the main reasons I like menstrual cups so much, is that it’s so much better for the environment than tampons or pads. How many tampons do you use per cycle? It’s probably in between 15-20. That is a lot of unnecessary waste. This is apart from all the packaging (so much plastic!). All together it’s just a lot if you compare it with the fact that you only need 1 menstrual cup in your life (about 3-4 in a lifetime).
-Reading that, you will understand that this is also why it’s a lot more cost-effective. A menstrual cup costs, on average, £20-£30. If you look after your cup well, then the cup can last you for about 20 years. A quick calculation tells us that this is super cheap in comparison of £2000-£2500 you will spend on tampons/pads in those 20 years.
-There are 0 chemicals involved. A very different story from tampons and pads, as there are pesticide residue, parabens and phthalates linked to hormone disruption, antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, and various carcinogens including styrene and chloroform found in tampons and pads.
-Now this is debatable, but there are people who experiencing less cramps or no cramps at all anymore after switching to the cup.
-You can wear the cup to prevent surprises. It doesn’t mean you have to wear it all the time, but if there is a day/night where you can’t afford a bloody surprise, just insert it, just in case.
-No nasty smells. As the cup is inside your vagina, there is 0 smell.
-You can use a menstrual cup in all ages.
HOW TO USE A MENSTRUAL CUP:
-When using a cup for the first time, make sure you sterilise it first, by putting the cup into boiling water for 5 minutes. Do this every time your period is finished as well, so it’s ready for the next use.
-Wash your hands.
-Sit on the toilet or squat.
-Fold the cup (either in a C shape or when using a disc type, *by squeezing it with your thumb and forefinger).
-Insert it and let it unfold into your vagina (you can make sure it has properly unfolded by gently moving your finger around the cup). *When using a disc, make sure that you tuck it up behind your pubic bone and that you can feel our cervix underneath the cup.
-Empty the cup 2-4 times a day (depending on how heavy your period is that day).
-Take it out by gently pulling the stem. When it’s almost out, make sure you also hold the bottom of the cup (wriggle it a little if necessary). *When using a disc, untuck the rim from your pubic bone and gently pull it out, keeping it level (to avoid spillage).
-After using it, rinse the cup with cold water first and then with warm water. After this you can also use a cup cleanser or a natural soap.
TIP: when you’re new to menstrual cups, try practicing in the shower, it makes things easier.
-Can everyone use a menstrual cup? Yes! It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are male or female, if you are a virgin or have given birth.. if you have a vagina and you menstruate, the menstrual cup is for you.
-Can a menstrual cup get lost in your vagina? No! This can never ever happen. The only way out is the same way it went in. Your uterus can not swallow a cup as the opening on your cervix is way too small.
-Can I wear it at night? Definitely. Simply empty it before you go to sleep and when you wake up the next morning. On heavier days, you might want to use a pad for extra protection.
-Can I use the toilet without taking the cup out? Yes. Your vagina has nothing to do with where your urine comes from.
-How many times do I have to empty the cup? Depending on how heavy your period is, you have to empty it, on average, 2-4 times a day. When emptying it, simply rinse it and insert it again.
-How do I empty the cup on public toilets? When the public toilet lacks a sink, but you really need to empty your cup, just empty it and use a bit of toilet paper to take off most fluid and insert again. As soon as you get home, make sure you rinse it well, before inserting it again. You can also use specially designed menstrual cup wipes. Emptying your cup in a sink-less public toilet might be a bit messier, but it’s totally doable.
-Does it ever leak? It shouldn’t, but on heavier days I find that they sometimes leak a little bit when not emptying it in time. You can just use some extra protection on these days or empty the cup a bit more often. When it leaks a lot, there is something not quite right. Maybe you didn’t insert it properly or you have to try another brand, shape or size.
-Does one cup fit all? Are all vaginas the same? Nope. So, it can happen that not all menstrual cups are for you. This is why it’s nice that there are different brands, sizes and shapes. If you tried one brand and it didn’t work for you, you might have to try another brand, shape or size.
-In what sizes do menstrual cups come? The sizes really depend on the brand. Most brands offer 2 sizes though. One for people who have not given birth vaginally and one for people who did give birth vaginally. Some brands also offer a mini size, especially for teens. Sometimes you have to experiment a little bit with what size is best for you.
-Can I feel the cup inside me? You are not meant to feel the cup at all. If you do, you maybe have to (insert it again and) push it up a bit higher. What can also help is to cut off (a part of) the stem.
-Can I wear a menstrual cup with an IUD? Yes. It’s safe to use a cup in combination with an IUD.
-Can I have sex with a menstrual cup? Yes and no, depending on what cup you are using. With the traditional shape you need to remove the cup before penetration. When using a disc type (like Nixit), penetration is possible. You might want to use a bit of extra lube though.
-Does a menstrual cup protect me from getting pregnant? No! A menstrual cup should never be used as a contraceptive.
THE DIFFERENT BRANDS (review):
Since I started using menstrual cups, I’ve tried 3 brands. All 3 cups are very different from each other, which gives me good knowledge about some of the differences. The cups were all given to me by the companies themselves, for me to review.
This is the first cup I’ve ever tried. The cup feels firm, but with a soft touch. Their cups come in different colours (pick your favourite!) and they offer 2 sizes. I think it’s the perfect size for me (I have size/model 1) and it hardly ever leaks. I also think that this is becuase of it being quite firm. It’s flexible enough to move with your body, but firm enough to push against the walls of your vagina. This is the cup I’m using on most of my periods. Spoiler alert: the Lunette is my favourite cup!
I find the Organicup is quite a small/lean cup in comparison to other cups, even though it comes in 3 sizes (I have size A). The material is very flexible too. This makes them very easy to insert and they are also super easy to take out again. This is nice, especially when you just started using a cup for the first time. I think for this reason the OrganiCup is great for teens. They even have a special cup for teens (size mini). Something else I like about Organicup is that their packaging is simple and it’s 100% recyclable.
When I saw this cup I had to try it. The Nixit is very different from the more common cups as it’s more like a disc shape. It also works a little bit different as you need to tuck the rim behind your pubic bone after inserting it. I’ve tried it on 3 periods now and it’s ok, but I’m not blown away by it. On my heavier days it leaked a bit quicker and removing it can be quite messy. I find it a little harder to insert, as you have to slide it in and push it quite far to the back, making sure your cervix is underneath. But as it’s quite flexible, this is a little tricky. I will keep using it, but I rather use it on my lighter days. It did go better every time I used it though. So, even when you’re maybe an experienced menstrual cup user like me, I guess you have to get used to this one a bit.
With a disc shape cup you can have mess free period sex. I haven’t tried this myself (yet), but it is something which maybe makes you choose the Nixit over a more classic shaped cup. Or maybe it’s the gorgeous colour that makes you choose Nixit!
GIVE IT A TRY!
Please give menstrual cups a try. Don’t be scared, just practice. Don’t give up after 1 or even after a few tries. Maybe you need to practice a few cycles, maybe you need to try a different brand, size or shape.. but it will all be worth it.
Are you using a menstrual cup yet? How are they working for you? Or would you like to try it? Then go and get yourself one. I’d love to hear how you’re getting along! Or if you have any questions, please let me know down below (or you can send me a DM) or you can also contact me via Instagram (@freedomevermore). Thank you! X