A menstrual cup is a healthier, more environmentally friendly and cheaper alternative to tampons and pads. You wear a menstrual cup in your vagina during your period. A cup collects the menstrual blood instead of absorbing it. You can wear a cup for up to 12 hours . Then you simply empty it into the toilet.
How exactly does a menstrual cup work?
Most menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone. They are therefore safe to wear for extended periods (up to 12 hours) and feel comfortable.
Medical silicone is a soft silicone and flexible enough to bend and fold with the movements you make. You will therefore not feel a menstrual cup, provided you have inserted it properly .
A cup may seem a bit large if you are used to tampons, but by folding the cup properly it is almost the same size as a tampon for insertion. Once you've inserted the cup, it pops out and forms a vacuum. As a result, no more oxygen is added, unlike tampons.
This has a number of major advantages:
1. No bacteria form
2. No unpleasant odors are released
The cup stays in place because of the vacuum.
How do I know if my menstrual cup is full?
You usually feel when the cup is full and you can empty it in time. This feeling is difficult to describe and is different for everyone. For example, sometimes you feel what looks like air bubbles when your cup is full. How quickly the cup fills up differs per woman and of course also per day of your period.
If the cup does become too full, it may leak. The first months that you use the cup, it is therefore advisable to use it a little empty more often so that you know how your period is going. You can also use a panty liner the first few times you use a menstrual cup for extra security.
What is the best way to empty my menstrual cup?
You can wear a menstrual cup for up to 12 hours without emptying it. Women who have heavy periods may need to empty it 2-3 times a day .
Always wash your hands before removing your menstrual cup. Remove the cup by pressing the bottom with two fingers to break the vacuum. When the vacuum is broken, you can pull the cup down slowly and upright. You immediately empty this into the toilet. After emptying your cup, simply rinse it under the tap with water. It is better to use cold water first and then warm water. This reduces the chance of the cup discolouring.
Make sure you rinse the cup, holes, ridges and stem well. Rub the cup well with your hands or a soft brush to remove all residue.
Some women use an oil and perfume-free soap , but this is not really necessary. Water is sufficient. This is also better for the material of the cup and the pH value of your vagina.
If there is no tap within reach, you can wipe the cup clean with toilet paper and reinsert it. Make sure you rinse the cup well at the next change. If you know this in advance, you may want to bring water-based wet wipes or a bottle of water.
A step-by-step explanation of how to remove your cup can be found here.