Did you know that the average woman uses around 11,000 pads and tampons in her menstrual life? The result of that is roughly 20 billion disposable menstrual products on our landfills annually, most of which contain plastic that won’t biodegrade for hundreds of years. If the idea of your menstrual products outliving you makes you uncomfortable, I have good news: the organic menstrual cup is an environmentally friendly solution that is just as safe and effective as pads and tampons and it is less expensive in the long run as well.
What Is a Menstrual Cup and How It Should Be Used?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible bell-shaped cup that you fold and insert into your vaginal canal to collect menstrual blood. It can be changed less often than pads or tampons and can be reused during each cycle. Because you can wear and reuse this cup for up to 10 years, this helps reduce costs as well as personal waste. The majority of menstrual cups are made with medical-grade silicone and can cost anywhere between $20 and $70. With some minimal upkeep and maintenance (washing it through after each use and sanitizing after each cycle), you should be able to get years of use from a single cup.
To insert a cup you need to fold or squeeze it. Many women squat, put one leg up or sit on the toilet with their knees apart to make it easier to insert the cup. Follow the directions that come with the cup. Consider practising how to insert the cup when you’re not bleeding to find out the best way to do so. You’ll know you did it correctly and the cup is the right size for you if you don’t feel it in your vagina and when there is no leakage in the cup is only partially when you remove it.
Try a smaller size if you’re the age of 30, have a low cervix or have never had a baby
Get a bigger size cup if your flow is heavy, you’re taller or heavy, and have frequent leakage issues
Women who are used to tampons, tend to have an easier time transitioning to cups. Once inserted, the cup will create a seal with the vagina wall. To remove it, simply pinch the cup to break the seal.
Can you have intercourse while wearing a menstrual cup?
Having penetrative sex, or using sex toys with your partner, or fingering, is not possible while wearing a menstrual cup. You’ll need to remove it if you want to have sex.
Can you wear a menstrual cup overnight?
Yes, you can. In fact, wearing a menstrual cup while you sleep is a great alternative to wearing bulky maxi-pads or wearing a tampon for more than 8 hours (which isn’t recommended). You can wear your menstrual cup for up to 12 hours, so feel free to pop it in just before bed and rest easy.
Can menstrual cup damage cervix?
Menstrual cups are considered safe within the medical community. While there are some risks, they’re considered minimal and unlikely to occur when the cup is used as recommended. You’re more likely to experience minor irritation from wearing the wrong cup size than you’re to develop a severe complication, like TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome). Irritation can happen for a number of reasons, which are most part preventable. When an infection happens, it’s more likely to result from bacteria on your hands and transferred to the cup than from the actual cup. When it comes to TSS, there has only been one report to TSS associated with the use of a menstrual cup.
Can you swim with a menstrual cup?
Because menstrual cups are worn internally, they can be used while swimming in any kind of water. These cups are also a good choice when looking to pack light and make room in your beach tote. Because they are reusable, you only need to pack or wear one and can use it swim after swim. It is invisible, and if you insert it in the right position, it is mostly sensation-free.
Can you use a menstrual cup if you’re a virgin?
Absolutely. However, if you haven’t yet had sex, used tampons or masturbated with a sex toy or finger, it may take you a bit longer to get the hang of a menstrual cup. So, before using the cup, consider getting to know your body. Use your fingers to find the opening of your vagina. Using a mirror (either handheld or place one on the floor and stand over it) can also be helpful if you’ve never looked at your own vulva. With clean hands, try inserting a finger into your vagina to learn how long it is and if you can find your cervix, which is located at the end of your vagina and should feel firm and round. You’ll discover that the walls on your vagina are soft, moist and can easily move when pressed around to create space for the cup.