The idea of a menstrual cup is to make your period hassle-free, yet the thought of using it might give you the jitters. At first thought, the cup may look daunting and tend to leave potential users with innumerable questions about whether it’s safe, if it hurts, if you’ll be a virgin even after its use, if there are any side effects, and how exactly to use it? And most importantly, what exactly is a menstrual cup?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup made of silicone or latex rubber and is designed to be inserted in the vagina during periods. What differentiates it from a pad or tampon is that instead of absorbing the period blood, the menstrual cup collects it, which you can throw after use. Depending on the rate of blood flow, position of cervix, and age of the user, the cup is available in three different sizes - small, medium, and large, and you can choose a size according to your needs.
Despite apprehensions, a menstrual cup is very flexible and after insertion, it opens up inside the vagina. Once inserted correctly, one does not feel as if something foreign is lodged inside your body. Experts say that it's quite safe to use and you can perform many activities without having the constant worry of your tampon falling out or your pad leaking. Among those who swear by its virtues say that there is no worry about leakage, it’s quite comfortable to use while traveling, and the best part is that it is environment-friendly.
How to use a menstrual cup?
Even though using a menstrual cup for the first time may appear an intimidating task, here are some quick and easy steps that may assist you in the insertion process.
- Rinse: Before you start using the menstrual cup, you want to make sure it’s clean. Wash it with water or put it in lukewarm water to make sure you get all the germs out. Let it dry for a couple of minutes.
- Fold: Once your cup is ready, fold it in half along its mouth and get ready to insert it.
- Insert: Find a comfortable position to insert the cup. This may vary from woman to woman. You can either sit on your toilet seat or remain in a squatted position. Now insert the folded cup in your vagina by parting the labia with your fingers. Once inside, gently rotate the cup while holding the stem and wait until it springs back to its original form to create an airtight seal.
Experts suggest that menstrual cups should not be kept in the vagina for more than 6-12 hours and emptying it once it reaches its capacity is the key to a leak-free period. This means, it also provides overnight protection.
How to take out a menstrual cup?
- Wash your hands: Before taking out your menstrual cup, wash your hands with soap and water so that you aren't touching your privates with dirty germ-laden hands and risking an infection.
- Release the cup: With your thumb and index finger, try holding to the stem of the cup. Gently rock the cup from side to side as you try to take it out. Once the suction is released between the cup and vaginal walls, you can easily pull it out.
- Dumping: Once out, empty the contents of the cup. Rinse it thoroughly with water and it's ready for reuse.
Once your monthly cycle is over, you need to clean the menstrual cup. Sterilization and storage of the cup for the next cycle is an equally important process. This can be done by boiling the cup in a pot of water for 3 minutes. Many doctors suggest storing the cups in a breathable cotton bag and advice against storing it in an airtight container.
While comprehensive information on menstrual cups is hard to find given that many women are still navigating how to accurately use them, here are some FAQs that may answer some of your questions.
- Can you pee while using a cup?
Well, the vaginal hole and the peeing hole is different for females unlike in males. So, yes! You can pee while wearing a menstrual cup.
- Is it safe to wear the cup while having intercourse?
While it completely safe to have sex while on your periods unless you are not grossed out by blood, it is recommended to remove the menstrual cup while having sex.
- Can you use a menstrual cup if you are a virgin?
Yes, you can. If you’re old enough to menstruate, you’re old enough to use a menstrual cup, it won't tear your hymen. The hymen myth persists even today, but research has found that the hymen is actually just made up of thin folds of tissue that typically wear away naturally as we go through adolescence. So, your virginity will still be quite intact.
- Are there any side effects of using a menstrual cup?
The risk of an infection is low when we use a cup. However, toxic shock syndrome or TSS can be a side effect of using the cup if you use it carelessly. TSS is caused by the accumulation of bacteria over a long period of time. The chances of this happening increases if the cup is pushed too deep into the vagina and scrapes it, or if you keep it inserted for more than the recommended length of time. Therefore, one must always be careful while using a menstrual cup.
- Can a menstrual cup get lost in the vagina?
This is the most common question doing the rounds on the internet. Let us assure you, it is anatomically impossible for your menstrual cup to get lost inside. This will not happen because it won’t fit up the opening of your cervix. So, stop worrying unnecessarily.
Using a menstrual cup may seem like an unnerving process at first, but with regular and careful use, these cups can become your passage to a guilt-free and smooth period.Carmesi’s Menstrual Cups are soft and comfortable, made for easy insertion and use. They have been tested for no cytotoxicity, no sensitization and no irritation, and come with an FDA approval. With no dyes, no perfumes, or toxic chemicals, these cups are made from 100% biocompatible medical grade silicone. They are designed for a fuss-free and sustainable period whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.