For The Ladies Only: Menstrual Cup 101

How To Green Your Period By Using A Mensrtual Cup In case you’re a man and you are still reading after seeing the title of this post, proceed at your own risk. I am very supportive of men having more information about female health, but if that makes you uncomfortable, I understand and you have been warned.

I have put off writing this post for a long time, because who really wants to read about someone else’s period? That being said, I get asked more questions in person about menstrual cups than I do almost any other product. I am very involved in the arena female health and natural childbirth so I suppose people just feel comfortable talking to me about their time of the month. So, if so many people are interested in cups who am I to withhold my knowledge on the subject?

I have been using a cup for almost a year now and I have to say, I love it! I was familiar with the concept of reusable pads, but I have always worn tampons, I hate pads, so I was very excited to find a reusable version of a tampon.  However, I was very nervous about trying it out.  I researched them online, read reviews, debated over and over and finally caved and bought one. I will admit that there is a learning curve. Everyone’s anatomy is a little bit different so there is no way to tell what your experience will be, but for me it took about two periods to really get it down. You have to learn how to twist it to get a good seal and then you just have to learn the best position for it in your body. It is not at all painful even if you don’t have it positioned 100% correctly, you just might feel some pressure against your bladder, I did for like one or two months, and now it is no longer a problem.

About the Cups:

  • There are a couple of different brands of cups to pick from. The only brands that I have personal experience with are the Diva Cup
    and the Lunette Cup. These are very similar, the only real difference is that the Diva Cup
    is clear and the Lunette comes in colors. (Note* I have since heard very good things about the Sckoon Cup especially from people who found the diva cup uncomfortable)
  • All cups come is two sizes. Size 1 is for women who have either not had children or are under 30 years old. Size two is for women who have either had children or are over 30 years old. If you have not had children but are close to 30 I would still recommend getting the size 2 because you want to be able to use it for a number of years.
  • The stem of the cup can be cut off: All of the cups are bell shaped with a stem at the bottom. The stem is for easy removal, but because the cup sits lower in your vagina than a tampon does the stem can often be irritating and stick out. Feel free to cut it off. Pretty much everyone does. You will not have any problems removing it without the stem.
  • Cleaning of the Cup is Simple: You do not need to buy a fancy cleaner or wash for your cup. When you are on your period and you empty your cup simply rinse it out with water. After your period. Wash it out with soap and then boil it in a pot of water for 5 minutes. Store it in the bag it came with and you are good to go.

The Lunette Cup Benefits of Using a Cup:

  • It Saves You Money: Honestly this is one of the biggest reasons I bought one. After switching over to a mindset of opting for reusable things over disposal things as a means to save money it seemed ridiculous to have to spend the next 30 odd years of my life buying boxes and boxes of tampons when there was a reusable version. Most cups cost between $35-$40 and they last for at least 5 years. That is a minimum of 60 periods without buying a single pad or tampon… you do the math!
  • Its Better for the Environment: Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons and applicators are sent to North American landfills every year and over the course of her lifetime every menstruating woman in North America will throw away approximately 16,800 pads or tampons in her lifetime. That is a lot of trash! Unnecessary trash! Tampons clog up septic systems, pads fill up landfills, all in all they are just terrible for the environment. (source)
  • Little to No Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): While the risk of toxic shock syndrome while using tampons is rare, it is still estimated that 1 to 17 in every 100,000 women will get TSS from tampons every year (Source). Since menstrual cups were invented in the 1930’s there have been no reports of it causing TSS (Source).
  • More Comfortable on Light Days: Because the cup is not absorbent like tampons it does not take away your bodies natural liquids or rely on your flow for comfort. This makes lighter days much more comfortable since you are no longer having to rip dry cotton out of your… you know.
  • Way Way Way More Convenient: The cup only has to be emptied once every 12-24 hours! Yes, for real! The manufacturer recommends emptying it once every 12 hours, but if you find that your flow is lighter and your cup is not even half full after 12 hours you can go longer. I empty mine once a day. No more days of getting caught in a public restroom with a leaking tampon and no replacement.
  • Zero to Few leaks: I have never had a leak with the cup in the entire year I have been using it. Now, if you have a heavy flow you may still have a leak or two, but it will be rare. If you properly insert your cup and create a seal you should not have a leak.

Basic Instructions:

  1. When you are ready to use your cup make sure it is clean. Then simply press your finger into the side of it, folding it in half making a C shape.
  2. Insert it about ¾ of the way into your vaginal opening. You want it in there enough that it stays but out enough that you can still get a good grip on the bottom of the cup.
  3. Grip the bottom of the cup with the tips of your fingers and turn it one full rotation. This is how you establish a seal.
  4. Push it in the rest of the way and adjust it so that it is comfortable.
  5. When you are ready to empty it, bear down slightly, grip it and pull gently.
  6. When it is out about ¼ of the way slip your finger up the side and press into the cup to break the seal, this make all the difference in the world in terms of comfort.
  7. Pull it out. Empty it into the toilet, rinse it out in the sink, and reinsert it.

You will get very quick at this, I promise. I am to the point now that it is just as quick as using a tampon, but practice makes perfect.

All in all, if you are not using a cup you should. It makes your periods almost inconsequential because you have to worry with it so infrequently, it will save you a ton of money, and it will save the planet from being swallowed up by used tampons… there’s a mental image for you.

For more info on either the Diva Cup or The Lunette Cup see the manufacturer’s websites!

  • Note that most of the links on this page are affiliate links, so the prices are the same but if you purchase an item through the link it will support my blog. Thank you so much for your support, it allows me to continue blogging!

 

10 thoughts on “For The Ladies Only: Menstrual Cup 101

  1. Pingback: Getting Rid of Paper Towels | Sweet Potatoes and Social Change

  2. Sandrine Love

    I do like the fact that these are environmentally sustainable but, have hesitated to use them because I want the blood to flow right out of me rather than sit within me for hours. I use organic pads.

    Reply
    1. Samantha Post author

      I can definitely see your point there! Have you thought about cloth pads? They are environmentally sustainable as well and so comfortable to wear!

      Reply
  3. Annie

    I just started using a cup about a month ago and I love it! I’d heard great things about them for a while and wish I would have tried one sooner. I sew my own cloth pads which still are my preference but it’s so nice to use the cup when I’m out gardening or camping!

    Reply
    1. Samantha Post author

      Having a cup is great for traveling! I love never having to worry about being caught without a tampon in a public bathroom. I have never had my cup leak or overfill. I would love to make my own cloth pads. I would prefer to wear the pads on light days, but I haven’t bought any cloth ones yet because the ones I have seen are fairly pricey.

      Reply
    1. Samantha Post author

      Yes! I definitely sleep in it. If you have a particularly heavy flow you may want to wear a backup pad while sleeping, but it is perfect for sleeping because it holds so much and lasts a long time.

      Reply
    1. Samantha Post author

      you might need a more flexible cup. The diva and the lunette are a harder silicone so they cause that problem for some people. The sckoon cup is more pliable so you may have better luck with that.

      Reply

What are your thoughts?