Menstrual cup: How to use this tampon alternative properly

A menstrual cup is a reusable period care product. It’s a small, funnel-shaped cup that’s made of rubber or silicone for flexibility and inserted into the vagina to collect period fluid. These cups are known to hold more blood than other techniques, emerging as an eco-friendly alternative to the popular tampon.

Depending on your own period flow, you can wear a cup for up to about 12 hours. Here are quick and easy guidelines on how to use one:

Figure out the right size for yourself

Talk with you gynecologist to determine if you need the small or large version that most menstrual cup brands offer. This will depend on your age, length of cervix, cup’s firmness and flexibility, heaviness of flow, cup capacity, and the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, to name a few. Generally, smaller cups are recommended for those ages 30 and below who haven’t given birth vaginally. In contrast, larger sizes are for those over 30, have a heavier flow, and have delivered vaginally.

Put in your menstrual cup

Wash your hands and the cup using clean water and a mild soap. Apply water or a water-based lubricant to the rim of the cup. Tightly fold it in half, holding it in one hand with the rim facing up. Afterwards, insert the cup rim up, like you would a tampon but without an applicator. The cup should sit a couple of inches below your cervix. Rotate it once it’s in your vagina, and it will spring open to form an airtight seal that deters leaks.

Wear it for up to 12 hours

A menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours at a time, so once inserted it can be left inside the entire day and maybe even night. Depending on your flow, you may have to empty it more than twice a day. This is why it’s ideal to empty your cup more often in the beginning to be more familiar with it and your flow.

Take your menstrual cup out

Wash your hands thoroughly. Put your index finger and thumb into your vagina, and then pull the stem of the cup gently until you get to the base. Pinch the base to release the seal and then pull down to remove the cup. Once out, empty the cup into the sink or toilet.

Do proper cup aftercare

Wash and wipe your cup clean before reusing it. Reusable menstrual cups are durable and can last for months to years with the right care. Disposable cups should be thrown away after removal.

A menstrual cup is a safe, affordable, and sustainable alternative to tampons and pads, but they can be messy and it may take time and trial and error to find the right fit and learn to insert or remove it. It ultimately boils down to your choice and what works best for you, such as our subscription box that provides the tampons and pads you need.

Sara Bishop is an advocate for young girls and has a professional career that started at age 14. She worked a number of administration, research, and advisory positions before helping lead multiple companies, including a construction firm and a sales and marketing agency. She lives in Queensland with her husband Luke and their three children. She is the force behind Perfect Timing, a women’s wellness service that delivers customised parcels filled with feminine products to transform THAT time of the month into THE time of the month. Learn more on this page.

Posted November 14th at 4:35am