I’m here to break the taboo. I think it’s important for women and girls to be fully aware of the options available to them to manage their period. If you’re thinking of getting a Menstrual Cup or you’re just plain curious then read on.
Why Choose A Cup?
There are many reasons you might choose a cup. After my c section, I was thoroughly sick of disposable pads and then tampons by association. I thought if cloth was good enough for my babe, then it was good enough for me. So I started with cloth pads, then after a personal recommendation, moved on to a cup. Here are some other reasons:
- Inexpensive – instead of constantly investing in tampons and/or pads, I just spent $15 on a cup (you can get flasher models!)
- Convenient – depending on your flow, you may be like me and only have to empty your cup once a day. A cup can hold almost 3x more than a super tampon. So potentially no more dealing with it at work! You can sleep with it in and not worry about leaks
- Zero waste – No tampons/pads/packaging going to landfill
- Comfortable – when inserted correctly, I forget it’s there and even that I have my period = living my best period life. Unlike tampons, silicone cups aren’t absorbant so won’t dry you out
Other benefits that women have found is learning more about your cycle (ie actually how much blood); and others have reported lessening cramps. I have no idea how to explain the latter, but it’s got to be worth a shot.
Choosing A Cup
Most brands offer two different sizes.
This quiz is a bit of fun and gives you some aspects to consider, even if you don’t end up going with the recommended brands.
How Do I Use A Cup?
Before using your cup for the first time, sterilize it by putting it in boiling water for 5 -10 mins or follow instructions.
Folding: When it comes to actually using your cup, you’ll need to fold it before inserting it into your vagina. I sort of fold mine in half. But there are heaps of cool folds. The idea is to reduce the width of the cup so you can easily insert it.
How Far In? Practice makes perfect. Like a tampon you shouldn’t be too aware of it when it’s in properly. It should also ‘open’ from its folded state. You can twist the stem to encourage it to open.
First cycle: I was pretty self-conscious during the first cycle. Keen to check and empty it several times a day. Not happy with its position and I could feel it. It was worth persisting because you get better at inserting, removing and reinserting your cup to where you become great at it.
Removing your cup: so the stem is to help you find it (in case you didn’t know (!)). It’s not meant to be pulled on to get the cup out. Just bear down (ok I totally pull on the stem a bit), enough to be able your pointer and thumb to pinch the base and break the seal and carefully pull it out.
Then what? Tip the contents into the toilet. Rinse it in the sink if you want. Otherwise you can wipe it with some toilet paper and pop it back in.
I don’t need to use mine overnight so I pop mine on a facecloth in the bathroom until morning.
When I don’t need it between periods, I wash it in soapy water and put it in boiling water for 5 mins then back in the breathable bag once it’s dry.
I had a terrible accident at work one day. But I shouldn’t have touched it!! If you’re changing in public, always do so over the bowl and never over the awaiting seat of your pants!!
Support and Resources
There is an array of information on the net. I really enjoy the support and questions in NZ Cloth pads, Cups (and Companions) discussion group on FB.
This video is an awesome way to learn about different folds, how a cup is inserted and where it sits.
Product blogs like this one from Lumii New Zealand are a great way to learn about using cups. Their Instagram feed is super helpful too and they have a scheme where you can buy a cup and donate another cup to Auckland City Mission and Helping Hands West Auckland. I use one of their cups (a blue one!)
And my other cup is from Nappy Needz – don’t be fooled by the price. It’s $10 and it’s so good!! I bought my other one from Lumii as a backup! Read through the reviews and you’ll know you can’t go wrong. At this price, it’s entry-level and should last a couple of years. My next one I’ll invest a bit more in and could get 10 years out of it.
And finally, if you have any questions, feel free to message me confidentially. In the interests of breaking taboos, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.