A menstrual cup is a reusable small, flexible cup that people who menstruate can use as a hygiene device when they’re on their period. It’s usually made out of silicone or latex and is hypoallergenic. It goes inside the vagina or front hole and sits in the lower half, pointing towards the tailbone. Instead of absorbing your blood, it catches and stores it. In Canada, the most popular brand of menstrual cups is the DivaCup.
What are the pros to using a menstrual cup?
People use different kinds of menstrual products for lots of different reasons! These are the reasons that some may opt for menstrual cups:
- Environmental benefits: Menstrual cups can be reused every month for up to 10 years. So, they don’t make as much garbage as tampons and pads! They also don’t use a lot of plastic, and the small portion of plastic is usually environmentally-friendly rubber or silicon.
- Convenience: Most cups don’t need to be emptied for around 12 hours. That’s because they hold a lot more blood than tampons or pads.
- Cost: A cup costs between 25$-40$ . Since people can use it for 10 years, it saves a lot of money in the long run!
- Health: Menstrual cups don’t contribute to vaginal dryness, like tampons can for some people. They also have a lower risk for causing minor infections like UTIs. And, there’s less risk for rashes or chafing than with pads. Cups also have a lower risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Are there downsides to using a menstrual cup?
Some people find menstrual cups uncomfortable to insert, wear, or remove. Certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis, could cause discomfort with a menstrual cup. It’s also not uncommon for them to be uncomfortable for non-medical reasons! Some people find that the stem can be irritating, while others may find the cup a bit bulky to wear.
Some may also not feel comfortable emptying and washing their menstrual cup in places like public washrooms. If that’s the case, they might find disposable menstrual products more convenient in some situations, like when traveling.
Whether or not someone finds menstrual cups comfortable depends on the person! There’s nothing wrong with liking or not liking to use a menstrual cup.
So should I get one?
At the end of the day, the important thing is that you pick the product that’s right for you. If any of the pros mentioned above sound good to you, you can always give it a try to find out if you like it! But if it doesn’t sound like something you’d be comfortable using, there are always other options.
How do I use a menstrual cup?
To insert a menstrual cup, you can follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and hold the cup firmly, pressing the side of the cup together and folding it into a “U” shape.
- In a sitting or squatting position, gently insert the cup rim-first into the vagina or front hole. Try to aim the cup towards your tailbone, which is at the base of your spine.
- Push gently until the cup is fully inserted. The stem of the cup should not stick out, and it shouldn’t be farther than 1/2 an inch inside your vagina. If the cup is too high up or too low, it can cause leaks, or make it harder to remove.
- When the cup is inserted, pinch the base of it firmly and rotate the cup 360 degrees. This creates a seal that will prevent blood from spilling out.
To remove a menstrual cup:
- Wash your hands thoroughly, then sit or squat in a comfortable position that allows you to reach your vagina.
- Reach into your vagina with a thumb and forefinger and pinch the stem of the cup. Gently pull the cup down until you can pinch the base of the cup between your thumb and finger.
- Pinching the base of the cup, gently angle the cup sideways. You can also try slowly wiggling it back and forth to break the seal and make removal more comfortable. Once you don’t feel much or any resistance, you can carefully pull the cup out.
- Empty the blood into the toilet and wash the cup as directed.
Check out the resources down below for more information!