It has now been a few months since we quietly launched our menstrual cup, but how do you actually use it? What are the advantages? What are the drawbacks? How do you determine which cup suits you best? Here are all the ins and outs for a successful menstrual cup experience!
First of all, briefly the pros and cons. Because, although we are fans of the cup, it is not for everyone (just like tampons, and pads…). To each their own!
– You can basically wear the cup for 12 hours a day. So you do not have to change your cup as often as sanitary pads or tampons.
– The cup lasts about 10 years. It is therefore durable and you will save money after purchase. The Yoni cup is about 20 euros, so just do the math.
– There is no odour when using a cup as you sometimes have when using sanitary towels or tampons.
– You see your own blood so that you can see more quickly the health of your vulva. If the colour is anything other than a colour somewhere between red and brown, you may have an infection. Nice to know soon!
– The cup is invisible and you can swim with it without fear of your string slipping out.
– Most people have to get used to using the cup. It is therefore smart to plan the first time you try your cup on a day when you stay at home. This makes it easier to deal with unforeseen problems. And don’t give it up right away if it doesn’t work! It may take 2-3 periods to get the hang of it completely.
– You’ll see your own blood and some people find it scary or dirty. You can of course also see this when using sanitary pads or tampons, but with a cup it is a bit more.
– You need a washbasin to properly clean the cup if you take it out in between. This can be annoying in public restrooms or when traveling.
Which cup suits me?
There are many different cups on the market. In addition to colour, they differ in shape, softness, choice of materials and size. For example, our cups are made of silicone and are of medium hardness. The cup in size 1 has a capacity of 22 ml and a diameter of 42. Size 2 fits 29 ml of blood and is 48 mm wide.
You can follow a short quiz on the website www.cupkiezer.nl. Here you can find out what to look out for and which cup probably suits you best.
One of the important parts of determining the size is to check how high or low your cervix is during your period. You can check this in the shower with a clean finger. Your cervix feels a bit like your nose, but a bit more fleshy. If your cervix is positioned so that you can reach it with just one phalanx inserted, your cervix is low. Around your second phalanx is average. If your finger comes even deeper than that, your cervix will be slightly higher. It is best to check this every day of your period, so that you can determine the lowest point.
So you bought a cup. But how do you use it?
Cleaning – It is advisable to sterilise your cup before your period by boiling your cup for a few minutes – you can do this by putting your cup in a mug in the microwave for 5 minutes. During your period, you can empty your cup in the toilet, wipe it down with a piece of toilet paper and then rinse with cold water. Then you can just use it again. If you like, you can of course sterilise your cup after each use. Make sure to completely clean the air holes at the top of your cup, otherwise insertion and vacuuming will not work.
Insertion – You fold your cup and insert it into your vagina. There are several ways to fold your cup. You can simply press it flat or fold it in half. You can also fold an edge inwards, so that a kind of arrow is created. There are many more ways, so just try some out! This way you can find out what works for you.
It’s important that your cup draws a vacuum after insertion and unfolds completely. You can turn your cup a bit if you suspect that it has not unfolded properly. You will not feel a properly unfolded cup, it will stay in place and makes leakage almost impossible.
Removal – Note: the stem of most cups is not to put on but to help you orientate. The stem indicates the bottom of your cup. To take out your cup you have to remove the vacuum. You do this by slightly pressing the cup on the side with your finger to break the vacuum, after which you can slowly pull the cup out. If you can’t reach the cup with your fingers, squeeze a bit (like you need to defecate) to get the cup within reach. It’s best to practice this in the shower the first few times. Try to relax as much as possible, because trying to remove your cup in a tense state is much more difficult.
Troubleshooting and FAQs
I can feel the stem of my cup.
If the stem sticks out, you can simply cut it of. If you still feel it in place, it may be good to check how low your cervix is and whether you should go for a shallower cup.
I’m still leaking.
Check if your cup was accidentally placed next to your cervix – it can happen! Or that your cup is not fully expanded. It may also be that your cup has become full. Then you may have to go for a larger cup that has more content or change more often.
Can you use the cup if you have an IUD?
You can certainly use a cup while having an IUD, but you might come across stories of people whose IUDs have come out when using the cup. It’s hard to say if this is because of the cup, as this is something that can happen anyway if you just got your IUD. It is therefore advisable to wait a few months after the placement of a IUD before you start using your cup. You can also ask your GP whether the strings of the IUD can be cut shorter, so that they don’t get caught on your fingers or the edge of the cup when you remove the cup.
Can you have (penetrative) sex with a cup in?
Anything is possible… Whether this will be a success partly depends on how high your cervix is. If you plan on trying to have sex, you might want to go for a cup that is a bit softer. You have special “disks” which would make all this easier. You can try it, but remember to keep communicating with your partner about wether if it feels good!
Hopefully you now know enough to try if the cup would be for you! If you have any more questions you can have a look at the FAQ!