A menstrual cup is one of the few items in my life that has dramatically changed how I take care of myself and view my zero waste journey. Naturally, I am so excited to finally be sharing this ULTIMATE Menstrual Cup Guide!
WHAT is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina and collects your menstrual flow. Unlike tampons that absorb the liquid, cups hold the liquid until you remove it and empty it in the toilet. Menstrual cups are usually made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem.
WHY a menstrual cup?
I became curious about menstrual cups when I began my zero waste lifestyle journey. I was never a big fan of tampons, and pads can just be a nuisance sometimes.
Some specific whys:
- Practically eliminates your chances of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome.
- pH friendly
- Depending on your flow, you can wear it for up to TWELVE HOURS.
- Less chances of leakage and bloodied clothes.
- Sustainable & eco friendly!
- Easier travel on your period.
- You can easily save hundreds of dollars by buying less disposable products and eliminating the tampon tax.
I began using a menstrual cup in fall 2017. I will say, in the beginning it was a STRUGGLE.
THEN: First, I had no idea how to choose one. Once I took the leap and bought Intimina’s Lily Cup Compact, I needed to figure out how to insert it. I spent lots of time researching youtube videos for how to do so properly (see the best one below). After I figured that out, I still had occasional leakage problems. I highly recommend wearing pantiliners or using period panties the first few cycles of using your menstrual cup until you get the hang of it.
NOW: I love my period cup, and can’t recommend it enough. I have managed to gauge my flow for how long I should leave it in. I’ve also mastered using it in public bathrooms. Shockingly enough, now I am actually excited to get my period, because I feel confident using my Lily Cup, and I know it helps keep my body in balance and waste out of the landfill!
WHICH one do I buy?
There are SO MANY options on the market right now. The biggest thing to know is that there are typically three different sizes. The normal size is for women who haven’t gone through vaginal childbirth. The larger size is for women who have gone through vaginal childbirth or have a weaker pelvic floor. Some brands now offer a size smaller than normal for teens, too.
Personally, I like Intimina’s Lily Cup Compacts, because they are collapsible and fit into a carrying case the size of a U.S. half dollar coin for easy, discreet travel.
HOW do I use it?
This is the best video I’ve found on how to insert it. My biggest note: Unlike inserting a tampon, your fingers actually go into your vagina to guide it into position.
Also know that there are many different kinds of folds you can use. Some fold methods work better with certain cups, so check out the instructions you receive with your cup, and don’t be afraid to try different folds as part of your learning curve!
After your period, make sure you sanitize it according to the directions you receive in the package. Usually, it's as simple as boiling it in water on the stove for 10 minutes!
Overall, using a menstrual cup can seem very intimidating at first. It’s helpful to know your anatomy and take your time learning and exploring.
At the end of the day, I hope this post was helpful and you feel more empowered to be friendlier to your body and the earth when it comes to your period! If you have any questions or comments about menstrual cups, let me know below!