Clearing up your queries about the menstrual cup
As a self-certified cup nerd (who knew that such a thing exists?) and someone who’s been loving theirs for well over a year, I’m back today with some more fun facts about the good old menstrual cup. I’ve got lots of As to your Qs, so without further ado, let’s go!
Q: Will it hurt more than a tampon?
A: I can’t speak for everyone and I definitely can’t promise that you’ll never experience any discomfort when using a cup. HOWEVER based on my personal experience, a cup is way more comfortable and pain-free than a tampon.
First of all, a cup won’t dry you out. That means there’s no ‘giving birth to a tampon’ feeling if you remove it soon after insertion/on a lighter day.
Secondly, it sits way lower in the vagina than a tampon, so you’re also not going to get that weird ‘ouch I’ve been punched in the cervix’ feeling if you insert it with too much gusto. (This used to be a common complaint of mine back in the bad old tampon days).
Q: Can it get stuck?
Your cup definitely won’t get stuck inside you forever, and whilst it can happen when you’re getting used to insertion and removal, it’s not a big problem which is going to happen every month.
Mine was tricky to take out the first time I tried to remove it, but it was fairly easy to solve. I squatted in the shower (squatting = shortened vagina / warm water = relaxing and also handy for spillages) and got it out pretty quickly. That is literally the only time it was ‘stuck’ and it was more to do with me being unsure of where to grip the cup than anything else.
Q: What do you do in a public bathroom?
First things first, I keep my cup in for 12 hours so it’s very rare I ever need to empty it when I’m in public. What I have done in the past is just emptied my cup directly into the toilet, wiped the cup with some loo roll and popped it back in. You can also make sure to have bottled water with you to give it a rinse but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary. Aside from that, enjoy the privacy of being in a locked cubicle and enjoy the sweet smell of airglade.
Q: I saw an article about pushing cups out and prolapse, what? How do I take it out then?
Okay, I had to look into this one because I’ve never heard of someone experiencing a prolapse after using a cup. But there is a small number of people who’ve experienced this, so I’ll break down how I remove my cup in a pelvic-friendly way:
I put my index finger and thumb into my vagina whilst still sat on the toilet seat (FYI way easier with short nails)
When I feel the little nub of stem (there’s barely any on mine) I gently, GENTLY pull it outwards whilst wiggling it left to right
Once it’s moved a tiny bit, I can grab the actual base of the cup and pinch it. This helps to break the seal and create a more ‘streamlined’ shape, I guess.
4. Then I continue to move it left to right whilst gently pulling it out from the base.
I think it’s important to remember - and easy to forget - that your vagina is not vertical, so when you’re taking the cup out, you need to aim forwards a bit, and not just directly towards the floor.
Q: I heard you can poo with it in?
YES! There is ALL SORTS you can do with a cup in, going for a poo being one of them. There’s no stress about it sliding out (unless it’s really not in far enough, but then I’m sure you’d be able to feel it, if that were the case) or about the cup getting dirty from unscrupulous wiping. Poo away, my queen.
Q: Can you sleep with a cup in?
Absolutely. You can keep it in for 12 hours (and a cup is more forgiving than a tampon in cases where you accidentally leave it for an hour too long, NOT that you should make a habit of that). When it’s inserted correctly, a cup offers you marvellous leak-protection. I used to always wear undies, a pad and a tampon PLUS pyjama bottoms to try and prevent leaking. Nowadays it’s just me and my bare bum on the sheets, even when I have my period. Thank you, cup.
Q: How do I know what size to get?
There isn’t any standard sizing with cups, so most brands will have some helpful info about their sizes on their website or maybe their social media. It’s best to follow this advice. On the Ditch the Rag shop, we have lots of info about the Ruby Cup sizing, as this is the cup we offer.
You’ll probably need to be familiar with how heavy or light your flow is (lighter = smaller cup, heaver = larger cup), how high or low your cervix is (lower = smaller cup, higher = larger cup). Other brands advise on sizing depending on if you’ve had a vaginal birth or not.
If you’re really unsure and stuck between sizes, remember that you can cut the stem on your cup for comfort if it’s too long.
Q: When do I need to clean my cup?
So there’s two types of clean, the regular rinse and the deep clean.
It’s best to rinse your cup with plain water every time you empty it out and re-insert it (so every 12 hours).
Then, when your period is finished or you’ve had enough of using it, you need to deep clean it - probably by boiling it for 10 minutes or so. I like to do this as soon as my period’s over so I know that whenever it rolls around the next time, I’m already prepared with a clean cup. So your deep clean relates to how often you menstruate/use your cup, and will probably be once a month.
Thanks for sending us your FAQs over on instagram and remember - our inbox is always open for any cup and period issues!
Author; Maria Bennett
Ditch The Rag Donation Manager