In a feminine hygiene market dominated by tampons and pads, trying a menstrual cup may seem intimidating at first. Menstrual cups have been around as long as tampons but are less familiar to some women. Whether you're dealing with unpredictable periods, experience a heavy flow or want to enjoy an active lifestyle, using a menstrual cup may help you better manage your period. It's important to know your options when it comes to feminine protection.
How to Use a Menstrual Cup
There are two kinds of menstrual cups: the first is a soft, flexible cup that is worn internally, in the natural space under the cervix and behind the pubic bone where it conforms to your body. When inserted properly, it can't be felt. You can wear it for about 12 hours at a time, after which it is disposed and a new one is inserted. It is also the only feminine hygiene product that can be worn during sexual intercourse.
Other menstrual cups are bell-shaped and inserted internally to form a suction seal once inside the vagina. These are emptied, cleaned and re-inserted. The same one is used for each menstrual cycle.
Both types of menstrual cups are designed to collect your menstrual flow rather than absorb it. Just like the first time you used a tampon, it may take a few times inserting a menstrual cup to get it right.
Inserting and Removing Softcup
Using Softcup before you go to bed is a great time to try it for the first time. You may want to wear a pantyliner or pad to protect yourself against leakage on your first try until you are comfortable placing Softcup inside the vagina.
Step 1: The easiest position to insert Softcup is sitting on the toilet with your knees apart. Hold the Softcup so the bottom of the cup hangs down, and squeeze the opposite sides of the rim together.
Step 2: Keeping the rim squeezed together, insert the cup completely into your vagina. When you are sitting, you vaginal canal is horizontal, sloping slightly downward. Use your finger to push the cup downward and back as far as it will go, and it will slide into place under the cervix and behind the pubic bone. When inserted properly, you shouldn't feel it.
If you can feel something in the vaginal canal, the cup is probably not placed far enough inside you. Remember, do not push the cup upward, like a tampon, as it will stop in front of the cervix and can cause leakage. If this happens, just pull Softcup out the reinsert it, pushing downward and back. Click here to view an instructional video on insertion and removal of Softcup.
Step 3: The easiest position to remove a Softcup is sitting on the toilet with your knees apart. Insert your finger into the vagina and feel your pubic bone—the rim of the cup will be just behind it. Hook your finger under the rim. If you have trouble hooking your finger, just bear or push down. Slowly pull the cup out of your body, keeping it horizontal and level.
Do not pull down like you would with a tampon string, or twist the cup, as this could lead to spillage. Simply pull slowly and steadily, place the used product inside the wrapper or wrap it in tissue and throw it away, and insert a new cup.
Inserting and removing the bell-shaped menstrual cups
Step 1: Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Pinch the sides of the cup together and then fold it in half again.
Step 2: Holding the folded sides, insert the cup into your vagina. Push it straight back (not up), and when you let go of the cup it should open. Squeeze your vaginal muscles, and twist the cup slightly while pulling on it gently to form a tight seal.
Step 3: To remove the cup, pull gently on the stem and pinch the base of the cup to release the seal. Pull down to remove. Empty the contents of the cup into the toilet, wash it with warm, soapy water, and reinsert.