How to use Menstrual Cups?

Even though women have had periods since the beginning of time, talking about periods or menstruation is still not considered a 'normal' thing. On average, a woman uses 11,000- 16,000 tampons and pads in her lifetime which contribute to about 200kg in landfill (Source: Global sustainability institute). It is important to get to know about more sustainable, eco-friendly menstrual hygiene products that are available in the market. The menstrual cup always has its place in the list of menstrual products and pops up whenever menstrual hygiene-related issues are being discussed. Further, we often tend to come across that they are a better alternative to pads and tampons. But how to use menstrual cups?

Let’s head straight into the details!

What is a menstrual cup?

Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex that are flexible and are reusable with a single cup lasting for around 10 years. Unlike pads and tampons that absorb the menstrual blood, the cup collects the blood and it has to be emptied between 4 to 12 hours, depending on whether the flow is light, medium, or heavy. The cup is inserted into the vagina a few inches below the cervix. But, how are menstrual cups advantageous over pads and tampons?

Pros of menstrual cups

Pocket-friendly – Each cup lasts for up to 10 years making them an affordable alternative in the longer run. For tackling period poverty - limited or restricted access to sanitary products, menstrual cups would be the best solution.

More comfortable – You can say goodbye to rashes caused by pads. Moreover, menstrual cups hold more blood than tampons and pads. Hence, they need not be emptied very frequently. They can stay for up to 12 hours. Above all, they can be worn even during showering and swimming making life easy!

Less messy – If inserted properly (which requires a bit of practice), menstrual cups DO NOT leak. More importantly, they are a saviour at night and you needn’t rush to the toilet in the middle of sleep!

Safe – Most menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone and there are no creepy chemical additives

Eco-friendly – Pads and tampons come with lots of packaging and they need to be disposed of after every single use. Cups make a difference to the environment as well.

How to use a menstrual cup?

The benefits of the menstrual cup come with a little bit of patience and effort. It is not as easy as using a pad (for the first few cycles). It is one disadvantage associated with the cups. But once you get the hang of it, nothing can stop you!

Before you use your menstrual cup for the first time (and after the end of every period), it’s important to disinfect it by boiling it for five minutes and letting it cool before inserting it.

How to insert the menstrual cup

Check if your nails are trimmed and clean your hands with warm soapy water. Sit in a squatting position and fold the cup to make it easier to insert inside. There are several ways to do this. The most commonly used folds are the C or U fold and the push-down fold.

C or U fold – Fold the rim of the cup in half, so that it creates a C or U shape.