How does a menstrual cup work?
From BuzzFeed to Bustle, everyone seems to be talking about menstrual cups, and with good reason: they’re the next generation period protection that is changing the way women see their periods. A menstrual cup is a flexible, medical-grade silicone cup that’s inserted into your vagina during your period and collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it like tampons or pads. But how do they actually work?
How do I insert it?
The best menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone, which is soft and flexible so it can be folded and then inserted into the vagina. Cups are inserted much the same way that tampons are (with a few important differences), and just like tampons it can take a little while to figure out what works best for you.
Menstrual cups need to be folded so that it’s easier to insert. There are a lot of ways to fold a cup and you may need to try a couple different ones until you find the fold that’s right for you.
Many women find that sitting on the toilet with their legs apart is the easiest position to insert the cup, but others prefer to prop their leg up on the side of the toilet. Then you can use your fingers to push the cup into your vagina. For more tips on inserting your cup check out our quick start guide.
What happens once it’s inserted?
Once it’s inserted, this is approximately where your cup will sit in your vagina, but every woman’s body is different so cup placement can also be different. Some women wear their cups higher, some wear it lower – it all depends on what feels comfortable for you.
You’ll need to make sure that the cup unfolds and opens up just below your cervix, where it will collect your menstrual fluid. The cup is held in place by the muscular walls of the vagina and a gentle seal or vacuum forms between the cup and sides of the vagina, which prevents liquid from escaping.
This is sometimes described as “suction”, and alongside leak prevention it also helps keep the cup in position while you move around.
How do I take it out?
One of the best things about the cup is that you can leave it in for up to 8 hours. When it’s full or you want to empty it, all you have to do is squeeze the base of the cup to break the seal and then gently pull it out. (You can find more tips on removing your cup here.)
Empty the blood into the toilet, rinse it off and then fold and reinsert it for another 8 hours of protection. If you’re in a public restroom without access to a private sink, you can just wipe it out with a piece of tissue or even take a bottle of water in the stall to rinse over the toilet. (It’s a good idea to give your cup a more thorough clean between your periods to maintain your intimate health and to prolong the life of your cup.)
It can take a little bit of practice to get the hang of, but once you’ve got it down, using your cup is as simple as any other period protection. Plus, there are so many benefits to using a cup that make the little learning curve absolutely worth it. They’re easy to use, offer longer period protection and are a better choice for you and the environment. What’s not to love?
For even more info on how to use a menstrual cup, including tips on folding, insertion and cleaning, check out this page or the video below.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.